Thursday, April 12, 2012

Death and Taxes

With Tax Day looming in the U.S., I thought it would be fitting to write about something more certain than taxes:  Death.  

Today I bring you thirteen actual ways people have died.

Of course, this is the Internet, and I also write fiction, so don't believe everything you read here – at least not in this post.

Although I do write fiction, I certainly did not make up any of these stories.  True stories are often stranger than fiction.  And these thirteen were the most interesting to me.

If you don't agree, well, what else would you rather be doing – your taxes?

13 Tales of Death Stranger Than Fiction
  1. In 1919, twenty one people died during the Boston Molasses Disaster.  A storage unit released over two million gallons of molasses creating a massive wave as high as 15 ft. devastating more than three city blocks.
  2. Jimi Heselden, the owner of the Segway company, died after careening over a cliff while on his – yes, Segway.
  3. Jogger, Robert Gary Jones, was killed when a small airplane making an emergency landing struck him from behind.
  4. In 1953, Frank Hayes became the only deceased jockey to win a race after he died of a heart attack while on his horse.
  5. The war between humans and robots began in 1979 when Robert Williams became the first known human to be killed by a robot.  He worked at a Ford Motor Company assembly plant.
  6. In 1980, Monica Myers, the mayor of Betterton, Maryland, drowned and died in a tank of raw sewage.
  7. In 2009, Vladimir Likhonos died after dipping his chewing gum in explosives that he mistook for citric acid.  He suffered massive injuries to his face when the chewing gum exploded.
  8. In 1995, a persistent man in Canberra, Australia shot himself three times with a pump action shotgun before he finally died.  He first inflicted a non-fatal shot to the chest.  Reloaded and blew away his jaw and throat.  Not quite dead, he finished the job firing the final shot with his toes.
  9. This death was like a Rube Goldberg Suicide Machine.  Jacques LeFevrier of Normandy, France, attempted the most convoluted suicide I've ever heard of.  He intended to hang himself with a rope by jumping off of a cliff over the frigid ocean.  But first he drank some poison and set his clothes on fire.  Oh yeah, he also had a gun and planned to shoot himself the moment he jumped off the cliff.  Well, he missed himself with the bullet and it shot through the rope.  He splashed into the water below putting out the flames.  The impact, or the intense cold of the water, apparently induced vomiting, saving him from the poison.  Witnesses on the beach rescued him, but he later died of hypothermia at the hospital.
  10. We have another winner in death!  In 1927, J.G. Parry-Thomas, set a new land speed record of 171 mph despite being decapitated by his car's drive chain during the attempt.
  11. In 2001, a Memphis Darwin Award Winner rushed to the Post Office to file his taxes before midnight.  He attempted to beat a train and coincidentally collided, head on with another reckless driver also rushing to beat the train.  Fortunately, nobody on the train was killed.
  12. I will conclude the list with two writers who also died strange deaths.  (I don't have nearly enough room here for writers who committed suicide.)  The first is Sherwood Anderson.  If you have studied writing as I have, you probably have read his short story, Hands.  He died from a punctured colon after swallowing a toothpick at a party.
  13. Since the US Tax Code is so convoluted and mysterious, I thought it would be fitting to conclude with the death of Edgar Allan Poe.  Poe died on October 7, 1849.  Many theories have been postulated, yet the mystery of his death remains unsolved.
Please share this post if you found it interesting.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you, Faerie Girl on Flickr for the surreal photo.


  1. Some people manage to avoid taxes, nobody avoids death. Very entertaining post.

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

    1. Hello Moody!
      Thanks for commenting. Always lovely to have you here.

      Life is about accepting inevitabilities. Having a sense of humor helps too ;-)