Sometimes truth is stranger then fiction. These are some of the saddest but also most bizarre causes of death I ever heard of.
Clement Laird Vallandigham July 29, 1820 – June 17, 1871) was an Ohio politician and leader of the Copperhead faction of anti-war Democrats during the American Civil War. He served two terms in the United States House of Representatives.
Vallandigham died in 1871 in Lebanon, Ohio, at the age of 50, after accidentally shooting himself in the abdomen with a pistol. He was representing a defendant, Thomas McGehan,in a murder case for killing a man in a barroom brawl in Hamilton, Ohio. Vallandigham attempted to prove the victim, Tom Myers, had in fact accidentally shot himself while drawing his pistol from a pocket while rising from a kneeling position. As Vallandigham conferred with fellow defense attorneys in his hotel room at the Lebanon House, today’s Golden Lamb Inn, he showed them how he would demonstrate this to the jury. Selecting a pistol he believed to be unloaded, he put it in his pocket and enacted the events as they might have happened, snagging the loaded gun on his clothing and unintentionally causing it to discharge into his belly. Although he was fatally wounded, Vallandigham’s demonstration proved his point, and the defendant, Thomas McGehan, was acquitted and released from custody (only to be shot to death four years later in his saloon)
A 13 year old boy named William Snyder was recorded as dying from “being swung around by the heels by a circus clown” in 1854. It’s unclear exactly what the cause of death was.
Garry Hoy (January 1, 1955 – July 9, 1993) was a lawyer for the law firm of Holden Day Wilson in Toronto notorious for how he died.
In an attempt to prove to a group of prospective students that the glass in the Toronto-Dominion Centre was unbreakable, Hoy threw himself through a glass wall on the 24th storey and fell to his death after the window frame gave way.
He had apparently performed this stunt many times in the past, having previously bounced harmlessly off the glass. The event occurred in a small conference room adjacent to a boardroom where a reception was being held for new articling students. Hoy was a noted and respected corporate and securities law specialist in Toronto. He was a professional engineer, having completed his engineering degree before studying law.
Toronto Police Service Detective Mike Stowell reported that:
At this Friday night party, Mr. Hoy did it again and bounced off the glass the first time. However, he did it a second time and this time crashed right through the middle of the glass.
In another interview, the firm’s spokesman mentioned that the glass in fact did not break, but popped out of its frame, leading to Hoy’s fatal plunge.
Hoy’s death contributed to the closing of Holden Day Wilson in 1996, at the time the largest law firm closure in Canada.
Hans Steininger. mayor of Braunau am Inn, and his amazing beard. Sometime in the 1560’s Hans beard was a mere 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) long. He is famous for 2 things;
1. Having the longest recorded beard in early history
2. Being killed by his beard
So how did it happen?
Renowned for the world’s longest beard that measured four and a half feet long, the bristly Austrian wasn’t expecting to die from his formidable furry feat. But that he did. According to folklore Hans would keep his beard rolled up in a leather pouch, but failed to do so one day in 1567. During a fire, Steininger stumbled on his beard while trying to beat the heat and broke his neck from the fall.
Dick Wertheim was an American tennis linesman who suffered a fatal injury on September 10, 1983, during a match at the 1983 US Open.
Wertheim’s fatal injury occurred after Stefan Edberg sent an errant serve directly into his groin. The official had been sitting in a chair and officiating at the center line when the blow knocked him backward. He fell out of the chair and onto the hardcourt surface, striking his head.
Wertheim was unconscious when he was taken to Flushing Hospital and Medical Center. He died on September 15.
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