Talk:List of unusual deaths/Archive 1

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For a September 2004 deletion debate over this page under an earlier name, see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/List of people who died with tortoises on their heads

Roman Emperor Valerian

About Roman Emperor Valerian, in the Antiquity section: the section says he died of having molten gold poured down his throat by the Persians. Is it possible this story is confused with that of Marcus Licinius Crassus [1], who had molten gold poured down HIS throat by the Parthians? I cannot find any web reference to Valerian that describes the manner of his death. - Sailboatd2


Lol .. if it's to be a "list of people" would you add at least 5 people? -- User:Docu

I know it can provoke laughter, but its much more history correct and informative than most lists in Wikipedia. As for other persons for the list, i am working on it... my office is on a 5th floor ;) MvHG 14:48, 15 May 2004 (UTC)

Hmmm, I work with epidemiologists all day during the week. Something I find it amazing how epidemiologists have branched out from infectious disease to chronic disease, and other types of ailments. I will ask the injury section on Monday if they have a category for deaths by cranial trauma from hard shelled animals borne by avians. After that I will narrow down to turtles and vultures. AlainV 00:28, 2004 May 16 (UTC)

Three things...shouldn't this be "list of people who died from having a tortoise dropped on their head" or something? Second, how many other people would that apply to? Third, Aeschylus didn't really die like that, that's just a legend. So...yeah. Adam Bishop 20:20, 16 May 2004 (UTC)

Amusing as this is, it might be possible to make a real list if we broadened it to be 'List of people killed by animals' or somesuch. What do you think? Mark Richards 18:57, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
As I haven't read much in the news about Muriel's attemps, maybe we should just add the one entry to Lists of people by cause of death. -- User:Docu
FYI - I speedy deleted this when it was first created, thinking it was a joke, but the creator indignantly re-created it and implied it would soon expand. That was four months ago and it still reads like a proposal for a bad SNL skit; as far as I'm concerned, this one should be killed. - DavidWBrooks 18:20, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
We could expand to 'list of people killed in turtle-related incidents'. See Motor Vehicle Accidents Involving Turtles for a sampling... Key45 10:20, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The 20th century part of the article should maybee be split up in decades if the article is supposed to grow any larger. Ofcourse, an alternative is to be more selective, but then a considerable amount of the incidents should be deleted. A third option is to split the article into two articles; one about very unusual deaths, and another about unusual deaths of famous persons, the other being less selective. —Preceding unsigned comment added by jjylf (talkcontribs) 10 November 2006


The part on Rasputin makes several claims contradictory to his wikipedia article. Mostly, the castration. However, the article goes on to say that most of the other things stated here about Rasputin have turned out to be false. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:13, 17 February 2007 (UTC).

John Bonham

I moved this from the page:

John Bonham, drummer for Led Zeppelin, in 1980, choked to death on his own vomit after drinking a large amount of alcoholic drinks.

Although it's very tragic, this doesn't strike me as "usual". Are we going to include drug overdoses here, also? -- Netoholic @ 23:27, 2004 Nov 9 (UTC)

Mama Cass

I removed a reference to Mama Cass choking on a sandwich, since (a) it's not unusual to choke to death on food, and (b) as the reference noted, it's almost certainly an inaccurate urban myth. - DavidWBrooks 02:52, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • She actually died of a heart attack, according to her death certificate. 21:26, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

William I of England

I originally posted this article at Wikipedia:Unusual_articles. If you check out Wikipedia talk:Unusual articles you will see some debate about whether the article should be part of UA or Unusual deaths. It was concluded that the article should be posted here.

I find it hard to understand why it is that William I's death is not considered unusual. He exploded during his funeral for crying out loud!

--One Salient Oversight 12:07, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

Becse it wasn't an unusual death it was an unusual funeral. If he had been killed attended somebody else's funeral when that personal exploded, THEN it would belong here. - DavidWBrooks 13:51, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
Isn't that being a little bit too pedantic? Surely "Death" can cover a bit more ground than the actual mode of his death? Here we have a famous historical figure exploding duing his funeral. Unusual? Yes. WHy not put him here? What precedent would this set? I know that the Ayatollah Khomeni's body was passed around an Iranian mob during his funeral (which is unusual) but what else? --One Salient Oversight 03:15, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
I look at it as the manner in which the person died (eg. a turtle fell on their head) or the circumstances in which they died (eg. publically on TV) is what qualifies the person for being on this list. What does his corpse "exploded" mean any how? I can't imagine it detonating and tossing body parts about. Corpses being squished to a pulp probably isn't that unusual. I seem to recall something similar happening to a pope, for example. - JEther 18:47, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

Edward II of England

The story about Edward's murder is spurious. The story arises in the chronicles some 30 years after Edward's death and is considered by many historians to be little more than salacious propaganda against a notoriously homosexual king. Arguments advanced against the story include several based on logic, one of which is that the supposed benefits of murder by that method (his face/body would show no signs of disfigurement while lying in state) could be achieved by many far simpler, surer and faster methods. The Wiki article Edward_II_of_England is pretty good on this.

Dweller 17:18, 17 May 2006 (GMT+1)

The use of the word rumored in not appropriate in this context since the article is about unusual deaths in history (what is recorded not what is scientifically verified) and might be applied to many of the other deaths noted. The notion that the murder occurred during ablutions i.e. when he was washing or shaving himself or even going to the toilet is a nonsense. Edward was in captivity and died in suspicious circumstances. The manner of death or the reported manner of death says a great deal about attitudes to homosexuality during that period. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gizzard01 (talkcontribs) 22:07, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Disclaimers about the common cold

It has been scientifically proven that exposure to low temperatures is not a cause of the common cold, nor any complications, like pneumonia.

Given that this is the case, the deaths of Francis Bacon and William Henry Harrison are totally unrelated to the circumstances leading up to it. In other words, Bacon did not die because he stuffed snow into a chicken and then caught pneumonia, and William Henry Harrison did not die because his speech was delivered in heavy snow, thus causing deadly pneumonia. The deaths of these two people by pneumonia is totally coincidental with any events they experienced beforehand.

However, I felt that it was necessary to keep both Bacon and Harrison on the page since their deaths are popularly associated with their particular circumstances.

So we have a choice. Either the disclaimer stays or we remove Bacon and Harrison from the list. Which do you prefer?

--One Salient Oversight 12:07, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

Put that way, I'd vote to remove them - thinking about it, their deaths aren't unusual at all - lots of people die of colds/flu after exposure (regardless of causality). It's more that these are famous causes of death, not unusual. - DavidWBrooks 13:51, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
I would vote to remove the disclaimers. They're awkward and out-of-place. While the question of whether being in the cold directly causes pnemonia or not may be debated, the bottom line is that people can, and have, died of exposure. Whether pnemonia was the final nail in the coffin or not is immaterial. I would also challenge the sentence "It has been scientifically proven that exposure to low temperatures is not a cause of the common cold, nor any complications, like pneumonia." -- That sounds like the kind of "fact" that gets spread around without any actual scientific evidence to back it up. I'd like to see a link to some evidence that it is true. The idea that both Harrison and Bacon just happened to die soon after prolonged exposure to cold weather is, frankly, too coincidental to be believed. Ravenswood 16:19, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
How about this: [2] - National Insttitudse of Allergy and Infectious Diseease (part of National Institutes of Health) "There is no evidence that you can get a cold from exposure to cold weather or from getting chilled or overheated" The most famous study involved the island of Spitzbergen over the winter, which was wicked cold but had few colds until a ship landed, bringing in disease-carrying outsiders.
Regardless of cause, though, I don't think these deaths belong in an unusual death article - insufficiently unusual. - DavidWBrooks 18:16, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
How does one define "degree of unusuality"? I mean, whether it leads to a man's death or not, stuffing snow into a chicken is certainly an unusual thing to be doing!
I guess it comes down to whether or not to include ordinary deaths brought on by unusual circumstances. You would obviously vote No, I really don't feel that strongly about it, so unless someone else is going to jump in and give you a fight about it, I say edit as you see fit. Ravenswood 18:23, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
My personal feeling is that the articles should remain even though the cause of their death is not linked to their activities. The fact is that their deaths are popularly associated with these activities (stuffing snow into a chicken; making a very long speech in cold weather). How about something like Note: See below which then redicts the person to a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that outlines the concerns being talked about here. --One Salient Oversight 03:20, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm confused by your ultimatum of "this or that, nothing else". Wouldn't it be better to discuss the matter and come to a compromise we all agree on? While I do agree that the common cold is not directly caused by exposure to cold it can also be noted that exposure to cold can be and frequently is a contributing factor in weakening the immune system. That aside, your note has no relevance because pneumonia is not the common cold nor are they even caused by the same source. Pneumonia is mostly caused by bacteriological sources while the common cold is caused by viral sources. See the respective pages on pneumonia and the common cold for more information. Considering that, shouldn't your note, if it stays, say that pneumonia is not caused by cold? I dont understand your insistance on the note being on this article when the purpose of the article is to inform about unusual deaths, not the mechanism by which someone can die. I think that a perfectly good compromise would be to put information on factors which contribute to the common cold or pneumonia as well as myths concerning the two on their respective pages and then simply link to those pages. It would provide a better organization of information as people are more than likely not interested in exactly what causes the common cold when they come to this page. JEther 10:07, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
Neither pneumonia or the common cold are caused as a direct result of exposure to cold weather. If you can find a reputable source that confirms that cold weather can cause a weakening of the immune system then I may be convinced. If that is not the case then, logically, the deaths of Bacon and Harrison were not caused by their chicken stuffing or long speeches, but by their picking up a bacterial infection by other means. This means that their deaths and their pre-death activities are entirely coincidental. Because popular belief has it that pneumonia or the common cold are picked up by exposure to cold weather, their deaths have been popularly explained in these terms. Now that we have scientific evidence to back it up, we can exonerate these two of their "stupidity". Nevertheless, they should remain in this article because of popular belief - but my feeling is that there needs to be some disclaimer lest we promote false knowledge. I'm happy for my original solution - having a disclaimer straight after the death description - to fall by the wayside if some other form of disclaimer can be inserted. What I do NOT want is for the article to remain as it was before, for it would be misleading to readers. --One Salient Oversight 22:59, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
PS. I've just checked Immune system and Immunodeficiency and none of these articles speak about cold weather causing the immune system to weaken.--One Salient Oversight 23:02, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
I think you have a good point about pneumonia and common cold not being caused directly by exposure to cold weather or other such things. My only objection is that I don't believe this is the right article for such information. I think it would be a poor decision to mix loosely related information into the article. Wikipedia is purpose built to provide the wonderful ability to explore other topics related to the one at hand just by clicking on a word in the article. We should put this organizational ability to good use. It would be an excellent idea to instead have a section in the Common Cold or Pneumonia articles about myths relating to those conditions. Regarding whether or not the person's death comes from or is effected by a myth, I would have to lean in favor of being somewhat permissive of myths in this article due to the fact that it was originally started based on a death which is both unusual and mythical. Although I know many things can depress the human immune system ranging from mood, to diet, to lack of sleep, I can't find any explicit refrences to weather depressing the human immune system. [3] and [unreliable fringe source?] discuss envionmental stress on the immune system. I don't have access to medical journals so I'm lacking in particularly authoritative sources, sorry. JEther 00:30, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
There is now some evidence that cold can contribute to chances of getting a cold [4]. To what extent it was contributory in these cases can only be conjecture.

More accurate is duller

One unfortunate effect of improving article is that in general, the more accurate the information gets, the less exciting it is. Just consider the recent edit to the Tycho Brahe listing, which switched "bursting bladder" to the more accurate "bladder infection". Sigh ... - DavidWBrooks 16:49, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Not so unusual deaths

I just removed an addition about somebody who was hit by a car while examining another car wreck, because (infortunately) that's a pretty common way of dying - accident scenes are one of the most dangerous places on a road for further accidents, as any police/fire officer will tell you. - DavidWBrooks 7 July 2005 13:00 (UTC)

Not-so-unusual deaths II

I removed a death by lightning, but the LibraryLion reinstated it, arguing that it's rare enough to be included because the American patiort "may be the only famous person killed this way." Which leads to a debate - is this a list of unusual deaths in the sense of people who died in unique or VERY rare ways (e.g., a turtle being dropped on their head, to use the example that started it all) or is it also a list of famous people who died in uncommon, but not necessarily VERY rare, ways (e.g., the pope who ate a poisonous mushroom, which happens thousands of times a year)? I contend it's the former, but over time a number of the latter have crept in. Any thoughts? - DavidWBrooks 22:35, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

Maybee one could make a new article about seamingly unusual, but statistically common causes of deaths? —Preceding unsigned comment added by jjylf (talkcontribs) 10 November 2006

An opinion on what to include in the article

In my opinion, responding to DavidWBrooks thoughts, since this list is short enough anyway, I think both can be included. Perhaps a statement should be added to the top of the article to clearly define this article. We know death by pneumonia is quite common, but in the way it happened to U.S. President W.H. Harrison, and the fact he was a famous person in history, merits a mention- in my opinion. Technically, by definition of 'unusual death', i.e. cause of death being very uncommon or rare, W.H. Harrison should not be mentioned. Being struck and killed by lightning is very rare cause of death, so this would qualify by definition of unusual death. My opinions summarized:

1. We include deaths from famous people where very unusual circumstances contributed to death (although the death itself may be quite common, e.g. W.H. Harrison.)

2. We include deaths of noteworthy people where the death itself was very unusual, even though the circumstances that contributed to death perhaps were not. I would however omit any deaths due to rare medical conditions. --LibraryLion 00:30, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

I suppose I've always thought of this page as being List of unusual causes of death - but that's not its title, and probably would run into its own problems. So, now I think of it, I imagine most people would agree with the above argument.
But you raise a good concern about the famous-person-death list - why is dying of pneumonia (not very unusual) after a presidential inauguration speech (very unusual) good enough to list, but dying of some extremely rare medical condition (e.g., the elephant man) isn't? - DavidWBrooks 00:37, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
I reworded the intro to reflect the two types of entries. - DavidWBrooks 00:44, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

I imagine people who died of rather rare diseases could be added. Sometimes though with medical problems, you get more of a grey area. For instance some people with very rare diseases actually pass away by more common means, e.g. heart attack, respitory failure, not specifically from the disease itself, although it may have played a factor. In these cases, one would have enough medical information to say definitively that 'this such and such rare disease directly caused a heart attack,' or some other cause of death. It is a little more tricky. Another problem could be defining what is a 'rare' disease.

I would be inclined to have a seperate article for famous people who passed away or were afflicted with rare diseases, than include it in this article, just to avoid the confusion it might cause. I can think of a few names for a new page about people afflicted with or killed by rare diseases. Lou Gehrig, Woodie Guthrie, Dinu Lipatti, the Elephant Man you mentioned, Stewart Alsop, etc., although again, what qualifies as a rare disease would have to clearly be defined for this particular article. I believe though the medical community has some set criteria for this. --LibraryLion 08:40, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Gaius Gracchus

The article on Gaius Gracchus contradicts Plutarch's version presented in this list. Maybe this entry should be held back..—Preceding unsigned comment added by Porcher (talkcontribs)


Some people I will dig up info about and may add it:

1970s hungarian gov't minister who fell (pushed?) into a blast furnace (news reports of it made the Dart Vader idea is claimed)
A medieval king in Hungary who died when his tall wooden throne collapsed due to sabotage
A 200 victory fighter ace of the WWII Luftwaffe invincibles, who was killed when his Me-109 hit a tree during low-level turnfight.
Didn't the russian tsarina Kathrina the Great die while trying to insert a horse's penis? (She was a sex addict)
Gyorgy Dozsa, the leader of 1514 great hungarian peasant-uprising, was roasted alive on a white hot iron chair and his captued comrades were forced to eat his meat
Trotsky was assasinated with an icepick
Famous austrian empress Sisy was assasinated with a nailfile
The Apollo 1 crew who were burned to ashes in mere seconds due to pure oxygene in the cabin
A medieval french king was killed during a stun knight lancing match, when his helmet's soft golden grille let a shard through his eye (Nostradamus foresaw this event)
King Louis II of Hungary drowned in a stream under the weight of his own sheet armour after losing the battle of Mohacs in 1526
A palestinian chief bombmaker was assasinated by Mossad-bugged mobile phone which blew off his head while calling
A top spanish conquistador, the hungriest for looting treasures, was executed by natives who poured molten gold down his throat
Are there any known people who were killed by direct hit from a small meteorite? I've seen photo of a large Cadillac with a 3" space-stone hole through its hood
Egypt's Cleopatra killed herself with a cobra snake bite
Judas the Traitor exploded when he hanges himself as his mouth was sacred by kissing Jesus, so the soul could not exit there
Japanese shogun Tokugawa's chief opponent was neck-deep buried and gradually decapitates with bamboo saw in several days' time.
Most successfull king of Hungary Matthias Corvinus died in 1490 at the zenith of his rule after eating poisoned figs.
Governor of Transylvania, George the Friar was assasinated in 1541, but his body was not discovered in his room until 1543, people thinking he simply retracted to a few years' hermit-hood.
Almos, the top chieftain who led all hungarian tribes to settle in the Carpathian basin, was excuted in 895AD in a horse sacrifice ritual at the border, not allowed to enter the haven.
There was a famous 1960s astronomer with diabetes who died of a sudden coma attack when noone was nearby to help sting him with the insuline pocketpen
An 1840s USA gov't minister was killed when a bottle-cannon designed by one John Ericcson's rivals exploded. Ericcson was blamed instead and he had to flee to Europe.
The people who were killed by post-0911 anthrax envelopes should be mentioned, I think because it was so outrageous an event.
Famous SF author Asimov died of AIDS which he got with blood transfusion during a mid-1980s surgery
Famous english panty humour comedian Benny Hill died of overeting in a restaurant and many are proud of his fitting fate
Classic movie star Clark Gable died of long term heart failure mere hours before his daughter was born, the public accused his film partner Marilyn Monroe for the exhaustion, contributing to her mental decline and eventual suicide...
The hungarian author of world-wide famous suicide song "Szomoru Vasarnap" (Sad Sunday) also took his own life eventually... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Darwin Awards

I thought that the Darwin Awards featured enough unusual deaths that a link would be in order. If anybody thinks it's wrong, stupid or anything else, go ahead and delete it, but I see a slight link, and I might not be the only one. Sillstaw 02:46, 18 October 2005 (UTC)


"1543: Pedro de Valdivia a dreaded conquistador was captured by Native Americans and executed by pouring molten gold down his throat to satisfy his thirst for treasures." Can that be proved? His article doesn't even mention it. HybridFusion 08:33, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Judas Iscariot's death inaccurate

The inclusion of the death of Judas uses the bible as it's source. However, the interpretation is inaccurate.

The idea that Judas hung himself comes from Matthew 27:3-5, which says

3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” 5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

His erm, "exploding" refers to a seperate reference to the events in Acts 1:18-19:

18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. 19 And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)

It is generally accepted that "Akel Dama" refers to the Valley of Hinnom, which has rather tall, rocky edges, and it would logically make sense that had Judas hung himself at the top of the precipice, once his rope deteriorated he would have fallen and splatted, etc.

Even if this was not the cause, the term "exploded while hanging himself" is misleading, because it says that Judas split because of a fall.

Whether or not you think that the Bible is an accurate historical account, if it's going to be used as a source in this encyclopedia it needs to be cited accurately. I'm going to remove his death. Someone can rewrite it if they still thing that it falls into the category of unusual deaths, which perhaps it does.

I read through the list, and I don't find most of the deaths to be unusual. For instance, since when is dying from being shot unusual - as was the case for several US Presidents, including the li

What is rare or unusual about people dying from heart attack (James Rodale), gunshot wounds (William McKinley), poisoning (several examples), gangrene in an age before antibiotics (also several examples) and so on.

Also, some of the assertions of unusual, such as the ritual sacrifice of the Mixtec king, Eight Deer Jaguar Claw, needs to be viewed in the light of human sacrifice rituals of Mezo-American civilizations in general, which changes the death from unusual to a culturally specific norm.

If the point of this list is anecdotes about unusual circumstances surrounding the deaths, that is how it should be titled.

This debate has continued throughout the existence of this page, as you can see if you read above (it was originally titled List of people who died with tortoises on their heads!) The intro now says "... unique or extremely rare causes of death recorded throughout history, as well as less rare but still unusual causes of death of prominent persons." It's unusual for a prominent political leader to be assasinated, so that's why McKinley is here. But you're right - there's no hard and fast rule at all for what can or can't be on this list, and too often they include tales of somebody who died and then something unusual happened, or deaths that aren't unusual in other cultures, or just wild rumors.
A minor note - please sign your comments with four tilde's, which creates a signature and time stamp like mine. This works even if you don't have an account (it leaves an anonymous IP number). Also, please indent them if you're responding to earlier comments, or else it gets very confusing about who is saying what, when. - DavidWBrooks 15:08, 21 November 2005 (UTC)


It's risqué. Will you include the Holocaust next? It was not a very common occurence itself.Dahn 09:18, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

I have removed the 9/11 and anthrax deaths, since they seem very much out of place here. All the other entries dealt with a single or very few, named person, rather than mass death of unnamed (here) victims. - DavidWBrooks 13:37, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

John Fare - decapitated by a robot?

There's an entry in this list for the 1971 death of John Fare, a Canadian artist apparently decapitated by a robot... call me cynical, but if there was any truth to this I'd really expect a man decapitated by a robot to have his own Wikipedia entry.

A Google returns very few results on John Fare, and all are brief references-as-fact in generally poorly written "essays". Of particular note is one page (which no longer seems to exist - all I can find is the snippet from the Google result page and it's Google cache link is invalid):

"[another essay] gives the account (most of which is based on rumour) of an artist named john fare who, between 1964 ..."

So, is there any proof this even happened?

John Fare had been added again, but I cannot find any indication that this actually happened. A google gives a few articles that seem to me to indicate a work of fiction ( particularly stuff like "...I was reminded for a moment of a xylophone recital I and a girl named Nellie had gone to about ten years earlier on the planet Neptune.") I believe this may be some clumsy attempt at a hoax or at least at discrediting wikipedia (again). If some credible evidence is given it would certainly be unusual enough to merit a place on the list, but for now I am removing it.

MasterDirk 12:03, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Jennifer Levin

Added recently to 1986 was Jennifer Levin, killed by the "Preppy killer". Now I have never heard of this, and it sounds horrific (like all murders), but is it really consistent with the theme of this list? Isn't this just a (and I don't mean this to sound as harsh as it undoubtedly sounds) "normal" rape-killing?

MasterDirk 23:54, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

You're right - I've removed it. - DavidWBrooks 01:06, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

I removed this entry as it seems he died from insulin overdose, not a lion mauling, which itself was only borderline unusual. -- Netoholic @ 21:29, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Possible Copycat at 2spare

From the list:

2001: 1 June, Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal, enraged from a dispute over his marriage arrangements (and possibly intoxicated), reportedly went on a rampage at dinner and massacred nearly the entire Royal Family, including his father the king. But in accordance with custom and tradition, Dipendra, then in a coma due to wounds sustained either from palace guards or a botched suicide attempt, became king for three days before dying on 4 June. He was succeeded by his uncle, whose son mysteriously survived the massacre unscathed.


On June 1, Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal, enraged from a dispute over his marriage arrangements (and possibly intoxicated), reportedly went on a rampage at dinner and massacred nearly the entire Royal Family, including his father the king. But in accordance with custom and tradition, Dipendra, then in a coma due to wounds sustained either from palace guards or a botched suicide attempt, became king for three days before dying on June 4. He was succeeded by his uncle, whose son mysteriously survived the massacre unscathed. (2001)

From the list:

2005: Kenneth Pinyan, an Enumclaw, Seattle WA. man, died of acute peritonitis after submitting to anal intercourse with a stallion. The man had done this before, though apparently this time his partner was a little too keen, and delayed several hours to visit hospital wishing to avoid official cognisance. The case may lead to the criminalization of bestiality in Washington. [4]


Kenneth Pinyan an Enumclaw, Seattle WA. man, died of acute peritonitis after submitting to anal intercourse with a stallion. The man had done this before, though apparently this time his partner was a little too keen, and delayed several hours to visit hospital wishing to avoid official cognisance. The case may lead to the criminalization of bestiality in Washington. (2005)

Just two examples, looks to me like the entire article at 2spare consists of elements from this list.

Deletion candidates

See article deletion debate

  • 1901: William McKinley, 25th president of the United States, was assassinated while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. The assassin, Leon Czolgosz, had his right hand wrapped in a handkerchief to conceal the gun.
Death by shooting not unusual. Lots of Presidents of the US seem to get shot.
  • 1916 : The English satirist, novelist and wit Saki was killed in France, during World War I by a sniper's bullet, having reportedly cried "Put that damned cigarette out!" to a fellow officer in his trench (lest the glowing embers reveal their whereabouts), thus alerting the enemy to his presence.
Second shouting to give away a position in WW1 - not that uncommon to be killed by shooting in WW1
  • 1938: Austrian author Ödön von Horvath was killed by a falling branch during a thunderstorm in Paris.
This happens after every big storm
  • 1968: Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, author, was accidentally electrocuted to death while taking a bath.
Not that uncommon, I would have thought
I removed him.--T. Anthony 01:36, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
  • 1983: Tennessee Williams died after he (possibly) choked on a bottle cap.
Well did he or didn't he?
It seems like yes, but that alcohol/drugs played a role in why he didn't gag it up. Still I'm keeping because this is quite unusual even for a drunk.--T. Anthony 01:36, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
  • 1984: Jon-Erik Hexum, an American television actor, died after he shot himself in the head with a prop gun during a break in filming. Whether he deliberately committed suicide or was simply unaware of the potentially deadly effects of the blank round was not determined.
Lots of people shoot themselves in the US where everone has several guns each, I've heard
Most Americans do not own prop-guns with blanks and very few die from them.--T. Anthony 01:36, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
actually many people in the US do NOT own guns. this is a gross generalization.
That is a stupidly ignorant comment. The current statistic is that 40% of american households have guns - high, to be sure, but that's certainly not everyone, which is just a blatantly ignorant perception. Gun owners include hunters, collectors, those who serve or have served with the military or police, and simply people who may keep something for home security. I don't personally know of anyone who owns a gun, except for an uncle who's a retired police officer.Elijya 20:44, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
  • 1997: Gunpei Yokoi, creator of the Game Boy, Metroid, Kid Icarus, and WonderSwan, and another man were struck by a car while they were examining the damage caused by another accident involving two cars on the side of the road. The second man suffered two broken ribs, but Yokoi was killed.
Standing in the road is dangerous. The UK highway code warns against this after an accident or breakdown.

21st century

  • 2003: David Bloom, NBC news reporter, died of a pulmonary embolism, possibly caused by blood clots in his legs from long hours cramped in a troop carrier while reporting on the invasion of Iraq.
Doesn't seem that rare a death
  • 2005: Zurab Zhvania, Prime Minister of Georgia, died with a colleague of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty space heater.
I can't believe this is rare. We have a CO meter near our boiler
  • 2006: Michael Maas, aged 61, a window fitter from Swindon, UK, caught septicemia from a cat scratch, and died from blood poisoning. Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, the Wiltshire coroner said it would be unduly harsh to lay the blame on the cat.
Funny but who was MM?

Stephen B Streater 20:58, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

I deleted the following because death by pressing with stones was not unusual at the time:

Why was this article below deleted? It's one of the most unusual deaths I've heard of! Look at the page about Jacob Kovco and you will see.

  • 2006: Private Jacob Kovco, aged 25, of the Australian Defence Force died of gunshot wound to the head. A current inquest has so far stated that Kovco may have accidentely shot himself while making a joke about rather being dead than hearing the song 'Dreams' by The Cranberries, that was playing at the time. It is also reported that one month before his death, Kovco had written in his journal about a having a detailed dream in which he shot himself in the head. The inquest is still underway.
Because, as I said on the talk page of his article, this is all supposition ... he MAY HAVE done this. Until it's established as true by the inquest, it's just a rumor, and we can't print rumors as true. (And, frankly, I don't think it's all that unusual even if it is true - people accidentally shoot themselves while joking around all the time - but that's a judgement call.) - DavidWBrooks 14:21, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I've heard of people shooting themselves or friends by accident, but never from a joke of this nature. Whether that is unusual or not, the amount of unusual things surrounding his death alone should be enough to get him in the list. The fact his injuries were identical to a dream he had meant to have written about in high detail, also a body bungle where someone else's body was shipped back to his family in Australia. You should read some of the news references on his page, it's quite bizarre... I think the whole thing is a blotched cover up. It will be interesting to see what the outcome is.

Hunt through old Darwin awards and their ilk, and you'll find accidental shootings during joking around. As for that dream - note your wording that he was said to have written it down; I'll bet that if we get a look at this journal entry the connection will be much, much vaguer than "identical". Such things always are. And as for the body bag - that's a goofup after the death, not an unusual death. It may be an interesting situation, but it's not relevant to this article. - DavidWBrooks 17:51, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Anon - I have no idea if anybody cares, but the only Google reference to Vondracek Beeir is this page - I suspect spoof. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:41, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Timothy Treadwell

"Eaten by bears" isn't an unusual death - there are 5 recorded fatalities in Yellowstone National Park alone since 1916. It doesn't fall under "famous person with a relatively common death" because he's only famous because he was eaten by bears. "Not eaten by bears despite 13 years of continued contact" is the only unusual part, but it seems like even after 13 years of successful contact with bears, "camping with bears" is still an intrinsically dangerous activity of which death is a natural consequence. - Cdk 19:47, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't see how five cases over a period of 90 years makes something "usual". - 20:43, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

That's 5 cases in Yellowstone. See List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America_by_decade for the other 100 or so people who have been killed by bears in North America in the past century. If "eaten by bears in Yellowstone" is intrinsically interesting, we should list those 5 people, and de-list Treadwell, who was eaten in Katmai Nat'l Park in Alaska. - Cdk 00:29, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Steve Irwin

Apparently today someone named Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray. Should that be included in the article? -- ReyBrujo 05:55, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

He made a living tempting death with dangerous creatures. I don't see it as unusual that Death has obliged him. -- Netoholic @ 06:22, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. - DavidWBrooks 11:50, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm going to have to disagree. The opening paragraph for the article says that the article covers deaths that have "unique causes or unique circumstances". I hardly think dying with a stingray barb through the chest is a common way to die. We include the death of Karel Soucek, a daredevil who died during one of his stunts. If we go by the current logic being applied, many entries that enrich the article will have to be removed such as Timothy Treadwell, Tom Pryce, and J.G. Parry-Thomas, all of whom's deaths are not entirely unusual in their chosen careers. By recognizing that their is an inherent danger in one's profession does not make one's death any less unusual. Consider how many people actually die by stingray or bear attack, much less notable people. Regards, Deyyaz [ Talk | Contribs ] 15:43, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Treadwell studied bears extensively, and was killed by them. Had Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) been killed by a croc, the overwhelming irony (not strictly his profession) would have meritted his inclusion in this list, just like Treadwell. Without that irony, it's just a death caused by a dangerous profession - and not unusual enough for this list. -- Netoholic @ 18:15, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I disagree because the stingray was not the subject of his attention. Even though he commonly places himself in dangerous situations with animals, in this case he was simply getting some footage of the reef and the stingray attacked from a hidden position on the ocean floor. Could have happened to anybody. SockMonkeh 22:57, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I, too, disagree. It's not so much the actual cause of death that makes it unusual, it's the irony of who he was, what he tried to do overall, and specifically that he was trying to demystify the animal with this particular episode. Akradecki 16:12, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I am totally willing to entertain discussion about removing other deaths, related to particularly dangerous careers, from this list. In any case, I would prefer if we didn't make this decision just because Irwin's death is current news. Let's table the discussion for a few months, and see if by then his death, from a historical perspective, seems like it belongs on this page. -- Netoholic @ 17:39, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Hi. I thought the circumstances were rather unusual. Ironic as well, due to the nature of his profession, but it's not a regular way to die. But I like Netoholic's suggestion to wait a while and look at his death in a few months to decide whether it is still as hilarious. Oscar Winner Michael Caine 20:40, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
It absolutely merits inclusion. Dying of a stingray barb to the chest is an unusual and rare way to die, even if it happens to an adult who chooses to make wild animals his playmates. This category isn't about how a person lived, it's about how a person died.
As for whether it's less unusual because Irwin was in a dangerous profession, I say again let's look at the death itself. He died by stingray. Is it usually dangerous for humans to interact with stingrays? According to news articles, no. Irwin does other things in his life that are probably far more dangerous. The way he died is unusual even within the strict context of his wacky life.--Perceive 20:52, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Include. --AStanhope 20:58, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Actually, people are killed by wild animal frequently - hundreds are killed in Africa each year, mostly by hippos. But we don't hear about them. Western Person Killed By Wild Animal is much less common, we hear about many of those; Famous Western Person Killed By Wild Animal is even less common and we hear about all of those. Whether they meet the criteria of this page, which have been debated since before the page was created, is far from clear. - DavidWBrooks 21:04, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

By the way, it's been added already. - DavidWBrooks 22:11, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Stingrays are not hippos. Hundreds of deaths per year? Not even close. According to,20867,20355064-30417,00.html , there has been less than 20 confirmed stingray deaths, ever. The only other confirmed Australian death by stingray happened in 1988. This is a very unusual death even without Irwin's notoriety.--Perceive 01:18, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
No, "person who works with dangerous animals is killed by one of them" is not that unusual a death. (That objection applies to others in this list, though.) "Australian killed by stingray" is rare, but with 200+ countries and, oh, 50-100 deadly species, that makes 10,000+ possible combinations to add to this list! Being famous is one of the things that gets you on this page, rightly or wrongly. - DavidWBrooks 02:07, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Do not include - for all the obvious reasons. Dahn 02:11, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Include per my above statement. Death by stingray is a very uncommon way to die. Deyyaz [ Talk | Contribs ] 02:15, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Vladamir Smirnov

As far as I know, one cannot die of "brain damage."

What would you call it, then? —Tamfang 02:30, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

When you have a broken piece of steel penetrate your generally results in a damaged brain.

The foil didn't actually go through his went through the eye orbit...the bony structure AROUND the eye. He was kept on life support for 9 days, and after the last touch of the last event (effectively ending the 1982 Fencing World Championships -- the event in which this tragic death occurred), life support was discontinued because no one wanted the defending World ad Olympic foil champion to die during the event.

It is due to Smirnov's death, however, that the sport of fencing is MUCH safer today. The mask he was wearing was -- when new -- less than half the strength of an entry-level mask today...and by the time it failed on him, it had likely gotten weaker.

Candidate for Removal

This isn't even remotely unusual, but I'm new here so I don't want to axe is just like that:

2006: New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, who was also a pilot in training, erratically flew his single-engine jet into the side of a large apartment building in New York City, killing Lidle and his flight instructor. The ensuing explosion burned a considerable amount of the building, injuring several occupants although none were killed. Lidle had communicated to a radio tower that he was having fuel problems earlier in the flight. For nearby Manhattan witnesses, the moment bore a shocking and poignant resemblance to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. SockMonkeh 22:55, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

You're right, I've removed it. Propound 04:38, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. Unless the FAA comes up with a unique equipment malfunction of some sorts, this should not be added again. Intangible 04:57, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


So obviously, I have seen this article (rightly) was previously nominated for deletion, but was kept.

I do however think that it needs drastic revisions. I counted at least 45 uncited anecdotes about so called "unusual deaths". These should be removed should they not? Or verified. Otherwise its just an urban legend page.

I may do so at some point, but as of now I have not.

MergeCar 02:39, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

I tend to agree...this article seriously needs cites, and I'll work on that when I can, but in the meantime, I plan on reverting any uncited additions. If you have something to contribute, but no source info, I'd suggest putting it here on the talk page first, so others can evaluate it. Akradecki 18:08, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Darshan Cowles

Being morbidly curious, I tried to check this story out, but didn't come up with much. The article here had been deleted, and even through lots of research on the web, this was all I could come up with, from a cashed page ("Skateboarding" here on Wikipedia) that since had been changed.

"In 2005 the world of skateboarding was shaken on its axis, when Darshan Cowles, at the time only a very promising young skater from the UK, stunned the skating community by attempting to complete a 720 melon. Tragically, such a young skater trying to perform such a groundbreaking trick resulted in a horrific crash, which left onlookers open-mouthed. Despite being rushed to hospital, Darshan was sadly pronounced dead hours after the dreadful incident. Although only 17 when he died, Darshan's attempted 720 melon was considered so courageous that he was recently voted the second most influential skater of all time in a survey of more than 5,000 skaters, with Tony Hawk narrowly beating him to the top spot. Despite Darshan's iconic status in the world of skating, his death is as clear a sign as any of the dangers of audacious tricks in skateboarding."

You would think if this had really happened, there would be more evidence on the web. Actually, any evidence at all, besides the video that is supposedly on YouTube. I would even think that there would be even just remnants of normal discussion about the abilities of this skateboarder left on the web. I could not even find evidence that he was a popular skater. Is this all a hoax and completely flying over my head, or did this really happen? Really scratching my head over this, and would like to get more info. Fmalcangi 07:49, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Citation needed purgatory

I'm going to be moving all entries that I have tried and failed to find verifiable sources to here. If anyone can find what I wasn't able to, please feel free to add these back in, with the appropriate citations (if web, please use template:cite web. Akradecki 18:17, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, that sure is interesting: I was able to read about it in the very first reference (second paragraph from the bottom). The other two references do not belong here. Dahn 18:32, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I should have (and just did) phrased that better: I could find no verifiability...the first reference does mention the legend, but goes so far as to say that the tale is unreliable (need a really big chunk of salt). Akradecki 18:37, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
But is that not covered by the "according to legend" part of the entry? Dahn 18:38, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I can see a place for a legend in the article for the guy himself, but if it didn't really happen, I don't see it appropriate to include here. This is not a list of legends. Akradecki 19:46, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Citneeded craze

This citation needed thing is insane. First of all, I think it should be applied to lists for only the most marginal of cases - if lists are listing articles, it is common-sense that articles should include references, not lists! For example, Constantine Hangerli currently has a "citneeded" tag, even though no less than three sources indicate the way in which he died where references belong. Anyone can figure that out by actually clicking the link: if that is not to be expected from a user, why link words at all?! Even for articles that do not cite their sources, tags should be placed inside the articles, and not on various lists! I can picture need for tags with incidents that are only referred to on this list, but why the hell would it be the case with researched articles? Please, be reasonable. Dahn 18:18, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Where does it say Lists are exempt from WP:V? Akradecki 18:22, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Way to massacre my point. I was saying that, if references are present in articles, it is pretentious to duplicate them here just for the sake of those who cannot click links (do me the favour of clicking the link for Constantine Hangerli). Consequently, where references aren't present, one would perhaps be helping wikipedia more by actually tagging the articles, and not random lists. Dahn 18:25, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I would really appreciate an answer on this topic. For example, I'd rather add sources for Vlad Înecatul in the article, not on this list. Dahn 18:45, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
At first I agreed with you, but now I'm not sure: The trouble is that this article attracts its share of hit-and-run anon additions that might be true or might not (urban legend-ish, as Akradecki says). Also, this is an intriguing list that casual readers will scroll through: expecting them to click on every site to see if the statement is bull or not is too much to expect. Although it would be visually ugly and a pain to do, I'm not sure asking for one reference per item is unreasonable. And there's no reason, of course, that a reference can't be added here *and* to the actual article. - DavidWBrooks 19:29, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, if there is anything we can do about the hit and runs, it is to check the facts in the entries - either by looking for sources where no article is present or by checking for conformity between article and list; we could not do more than that, so the issue of hit and runs is actually irrelevant to the topic. Especially since editors can, have, and will check all new entries (considering that part of that check includes looking through the mother article, which Akradecki could have done before tagging). My concern is about the sourced and sourcable. The stylistic problem is major: for instance, Constantine Hangerli's death is mentioned by every source dealing with his reign (I only had three available). This level of information would make the entry common sense for all those familiar with the topic (unlike the death of a Korean game enthusiast). If I am to source the list as well (after I have sourced the article), will I have to mention all sources I can find? If I am to pick just one, which one will I pick? The reasoning behind citationneeded tags should be to track down obscure facts, not to repeat info.
If we're doing this because the casual reader will find the info bizarre and unfamilar, should we not also expect that reader to be unfamiliar with what the Romans were doing in Persia, where Wallachia is situated, who Isabela Duncan was, what the meaning of the word "stoic" is? There is evidence of such problems even with the editors: for example, a citation needed was placed after Hangerli, but none after Sigurd I of Orkney (even though the former has a well-referenced articles, if I dare say it, while the second is a red link); should we ecourage the systemic bias?
As I have said, checking facts should be the stuff of editors first and foremost. If I have included an article that said x died in y manner based on the references in the article, why would I have to reference the short version of info available just one click away? For inclusions of articles on wikipedia (and not of random unusual incidents) this list is equivalent to List of people who died on their birthdays - would we have to reference that list as well?
Suppose I am wrong. Even so, I cannot for the love of me understand why the citations were not simply copied from the articles in so many cases: aside from that of Hangerli, we have countless ones that, despite not having a complete reference system, clearly indicate that they are based on text of the Britannica (and the way in which relevant fragments are written sure does indicate that they were not modified). Just how much more repetitive and dreary must these tasks become before we use our common sense?
And why would this system work for Hangerli and Valerian and Attila, but not for Giuseppe Sinopoli, Brandon Vedas, Sigurd I of Orkney, and Vitaly Nikolayenko? Dahn 19:54, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Anyone? Dahn 11:35, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Looks like it's just you and me now - I certainly think references could be copied from the articles. Absolutely - no need to reinvent the wheel. Cut and paste away. The main purpose, I think, is to help weed out piffle. - DavidWBrooks 17:07, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Elisha Mitchell

I removing him since a cursuroy web search either makes no mention of the waterfalls name or says that it was named in his honor.Timber Rattlesnake

Death of Titus

I deleted the part on the death of Titus. It is impossible to die because a mosquito flies up the nose and pick the brain, and this is clearly simply a myth.DaBears34 05:54, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Johnny Watkins

Is this a hoax? What raised my skepticism was "kidnapped by a group of murderous feminists". There is also no source to such a story. --Philo 07:53, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

That seems a safe bet; that's why it has been reverted. Those wacky college kids - aren't we glad they share their wit? - DavidWBrooks 11:19, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Not so unusual deaths III

  • 2003: Jane McDonald, a seminary student from Scotland, slipped and fell into an open dishwasher and was impaled by a kitchen knife.
  • 2005: 33-year-old pastor Kyle Lake of University Baptist Church[1] in Waco, Texas, was electrocuted when he reached for a microphone while standing in the baptismal pool of the church.
  • 2006: A Canadian woman choked on marshmallows at London, Ontario's Western Fair while taking part in a "Chubby Bunny" contest, and later died in hospital.
  • 2006: A Dutch woman was burnt alive at a Dutch hospital in Almelo when fire broke out while she was fixed to a hospital bed in the operating room and given a local sedative.

These above seem tragic, as all accidental deaths, but I don't think they are very unusual. At least not so unusual to be in a say top-200 list of all times or top 3-of the-year most unusual deaths. I will delete them if there are no objections. Besides I just added the apostle who was flayed alive and then crucified. -- 12:46, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I have removed them. I afterwards have seen that they have already been removed but restored by User:Mathrick. But this user has not objected here against the removal. The reason for having a discussion page is to avoid an edit war. Someone restoring every change and refusing to discuss creates an edit war. -- BIL 23:11, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

death by heartattack

There are something like 7 death by heartattack while being watched live in theatre, filmed for TV, or live on the radio. I would think that would mean at most the first time it occured may be rare, but the next 6 times seem less so. So, Which ones stay and which ones go? They are in 1943, 1971, 1984, 1991, 1996, 2001. Dstanfor 15:01, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

IMHO, the extremely public nature of these deaths means they are still notable enough for this article - although, obviously, this is very much a judgement call. (This entire article is a judgement call!) Six deaths in a bazillion public appearances is pretty unusual. - DavidWBrooks 20:19, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

unusual death categories

After going through the article a few times, a couple types of deaths keep showing up.

Death in front of an audience mistaken for part of the act or sleeping.
death by electrecution of musical equippment or microphones.
ironic deaths where someone dies from doing something that normally doesn't kill you.
ironic deaths where someone doesn't die from their dangerous life, but from something else
deaths of a sexual nature.

Dstanfor 07:27, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Nailing down a standard

Since the new wave of "I like it" opinions is probably going to keep this article from getting deleted, I think there should be something resembling a consensus on a standard to somehow get this list in line with WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:NPOV. The instructions given on the article introduction (which should actually be on the talk page) can be used to narrow the article down to 2-3 items or expanded to 200-300 depending on the inclinations of an editor. Please note that someone can't simply use "judgment calls" as basis for inclusion or exclusion: this would be a clear violation of the above-mentioned policies and guidelines. Using the "rare diseases" standard may or may not work, but it will definitely narrow the current list population down to the 2-3 end. The only possible way I'm thinking this can even come close to not being a blatant violation is finding reliable sources that report on the deaths for the sake of their unusualness. Simões (talk/contribs) 00:15, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Rare disease is 1/2000, but I think we'd need to go stricter than that. In the US lightning of any kind kills 73 people per year[8]. As around 2.4 million Americans die a year this means lightning accounts for less than 1 in 30,000 US deaths, but as I recall lightning itself was deemed too common a cause of death for this list. Therefore I'd guess we need things that are either completely unique or are maybe 1 in a million. I can try to look through WHO mortality statistics and I also agree with it being as well sourced as possible.--T. Anthony 02:32, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Deemed by who? On what basis? A list of people stuck by lightening might be the basis of another list eventually. Trollderella 03:41, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
By whoever took out the American Revolution personage who died by a regular form of lightning.--T. Anthony 07:03, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
the problem with the list is that if you go straight up probability of being killed X way is less than 1/10000 than it goes on the list, than you've made the criteria easy, but the list kinda boring. The death by lightning that was/is on the list that was from one of the early experiments in electricity was interesting. Death by lightning is still an interesting way to die, even if it doesn't meet this probability of encountering it criteria.
So beyond the death must already be in wikipedia criteria that I made up in the article introduction, how else can we define an unusual death? And what circumstances around the death can make it unusual? Drowning doesn't seem that unusual, but if you did it in an unusual place for drowning (like space, or under an iceberg) than it seems listworthy. Dstanfor 15:47, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't think it would become boring. It might allow for a few "boring" forms of death, like a rare disease, but many to most names on this list would stay as they truly are statistically improbable or rare. I think a standard would make it less proned to delete votes. Also even the "boring additions" could be interesting in that it would show certain forms of death are actually rare even if they're not uncommon in stories. The problem mentioned is that any standard would be "arbitrary", but I don't entirely agree. True it's not a clearly defined concept, but it does exist and I think a valid standard can be made.--T. Anthony 07:03, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
'Boring'? What a disturbing criteria for exclusion. Why does it have to be 'interesting' to you or others to be included? We're in the business of writing an encyclopedia, not a page-turner. A list of people who died of things that are less common than 1/10000 seems reasonable. Trollderella 16:24, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Does Preoteasa's death qualify him for the list? As stated, I have problems with the editorial guidelines for this list, and I'd rather not edit into it until a more rational stand on the issue of referencing is taken; therefore, I would simply like to help editors who are happy with the current format to make the list more comprehensive, without actually intervening in editing it. It is also arguably more helpful to agree on entries rather than shoving them in the list. Dahn 03:00, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

I would also like to know why this entry was removed (especially since it appears to have been silently removed):

1799: Constantine Hangerli, Prince of Wallachia, was arrested by a kapucu and a Moor, and immediately executed by being strangled, shot, stabbed, and decapitated in quick succession.

Isn't there something unusual about a ruling monarch being passed through four methods of execution in the space of some minutes? You can find two references for it in the article on him. Dahn 03:11, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Being executed or killed by multiple methods was not particularly unusual for monarchs judging by what I've read of history. Especially as the methods themselves (shot, stabbed, decapitated) were relatively common. Still I'll put him back.--T. Anthony 03:29, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Compiling a list would help to answer this question. Of course, we could delete all information about it, that would also put the question to rest. After all, I'm sure it's not notable. Trollderella 18:34, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Why is it "not notable"? Dahn 18:37, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry. I was being sarcastic. I think the concept of 'notability' is bogus and abused. Trollderella 19:21, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry myself: I should have read your other replies on this very talk page. We tend to agree. Dahn 19:26, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
;) Trollderella 20:30, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Tagged for lack of references

I went ahead and put the {{references}} tag at the top of the article since no solution has come since the last AFD nomination nor appears to be forthcoming. In one month, I'll go ahead and start stripping the list of every unsourced entry. Note that I'm not contesting that any of these events actually occurred (concerning this, there are references for many of the entries), only that they are to be considered unusual. Simões (talk/contribs) 00:25, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

I support this. I'm about to do the same thing on the article Banned films (which is in vastly worse shape than this one in terms of sourcing; sadly, the {{unreferenced}} tag was removed, and despite my post to the Talk page, there has been no progress since last May). In the meantime I'll try to run down reliable sources for some of the missing ones here. --MCB 06:52, 17 January 2007 (UTC)


I don't have an exact date, but I do know that the epic poet Homer died of a fit of rage over not being able to solve a child's riddle about lice. Can anyone incorporate this into the article? MadHistorian 02:18, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Not-so-unusual deaths, Part IV

None of these seem particularly odd to me.

Death by drowning is unusual?
  • 1978: Claude François, a French pop singer, was accidentally electrocuted when he tried to fix a broken light bulb while standing in a filled bathtub.
Death by electrocution. Stupid, but is it that unusual?
  • 1989: Peter Plumley-Walker, a cricket umpire was found floating downstream of the Huka Falls with his wrists and ankles bound. He had been thrown over the falls by his teenage dominatrix Renee Chignall and her partner Neville Walker. Plumley-Walker had lost consciousness during a bondage session and Chignall had mistakenly thought she had killed him. Walker and Chignall put Plumley-Walker in the boot of a car and drove 150km to the Huka Halls. It is alleged that Plumley-Walker was still alive when he was thrown over the Huka Falls and in fact died by drowning.
Murder by drowning.
  • 1994: Ayrton Senna, a former three time Formula One world champion, died at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix after crashing at the Tamburello corner while leading, hitting the wall head-on at 218 km/h. Senna's injuries were caused by the front right tire with attached suspension piece, which became loose on impact, hit Senna on the head and pierced his visor, and caused a fatal cranial trauma.
death by car accident. Does the fact that it occurred during a race make it unusual enough for this list?
  • 1998: American film director Alan J. Pakula died in a car accident on the Long Island Expressway in New York when a driver in front of him struck a metal pipe, which subsequently flew through Pakula's windshield and struck him in the head, causing him to swerve off the road and into a fence, killing him instantly.
Again, death by auto accident.

-- Joyous! | Talk 16:07, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree with pretty much all of the above, although not Harold Holt (since his disappearance is a famous event in and of itself). If Ayrton Senna's death is on here, I think the death of pretty much any racing driver who died during a race is justified here. There was nothing particularly unusual about Senna's death -- when you're cruising around at 150 MPH and you hit things, you tend not to survive all that well. It's far more unusual for spectators to be killed by bits of cars flying around (and if that was the point of the mention of the suspension/wheel/tire bit, I can think of at least two instances where multiple spectators were killed by race car debris in a much more gruesome and unusual manner than Senna's death, and which are more deserving of a place here than Senna's death is). I've removed all of the above, except Harold Holt.
I also see nothing particularly unusual about being the target of a suicide bomber (Ahmed Shah Massoud, 2001) or an assassination by Shabak (Yahya Ayyas, 1996). I've removed those two as well.--chris.lawson 03:58, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Totally disputed

Since Chris Buckey has seen it fit to remove the unreferenced tag before the issue was even touched, I'm going ahead and disputing the entire thing. Unless each and every entry can be verified as unusual, the entire list fails WP:V, WP:NPOV, and (especially) WP:OR. Simões (talk/contribs) 23:00, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Verified as unusual? Since there's no objective measure of "unusual," I assume you mean "verified as having occurred as stated", which is certainly reasonable. Whether each item then belongs on this page is then a judgment call. (see the talk from the last VfD nomination; this issue was much discussed) - DavidWBrooks 17:31, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
No, I mean verified as unusual. Many of those who voted keep in the AfD insisted that this was possible. Since then, they've said nothing. And, until a verifiable standard is agreed upon, the entire list is original research. Simões (talk/contribs) 17:52, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, I must disagree. "Unusual" is just like "notable" - one of the lynchpins of wikipedia articles - in that there's no objective standard. We must agree among ourselves what fits and what doesn't; that is, be editors. You may think this entire article shouldn't exist, but as long as it does there ain't no crank-through system that'll decide what incident belongs and what doesn't. We have to do it by consensus - e.g., just this sort of discussion. - DavidWBrooks 19:10, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
There are policies and guidelines establishing notability standards. This is not the case for unusualness. Each item in this list is implicitly stating that "this death is unusual." That requires a source. Without one, anyone is licensed to contest and remove an entry per WP:V and WP:CITE. Simões (talk/contribs) 19:27, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm curious - can you give me an example of what you would consider a source for unusualness of a death? - DavidWBrooks 19:42, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
An unusual death simpliciter could verified by an as-of-yet unrepeated, official cause of death report (e.g., by a coroner). This would significantly change the focus of the article, but it would be a verifiable standard. Simões (talk/contribs) 19:48, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

(The indenting was getting carried away, so I've done a carriage return) That seems to imply that "unusual" means "unique" - any cause of death that has happened to more than one person doesn't count. That seems a bit steep. And how do you confirm uniqueness? No coroner is going to write "the only such case in history" on the death certificate, so how would you expect confirmation that nobody else died by, say, having a tortoise dropped on their head? - DavidWBrooks 20:06, 4 February 2007 (UTC).

We would assume that a cause of death is unique unless presented with another report documenting the same thing happening to another person. Simões (talk/contribs) 20:16, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Bluntly, that's a ridiculous standard because it is for all intents and purposes impossible to satisfy. Besides, the article is about "unusual deaths" not "unique ones". Something does not have to be unique to be unusual. Chris Buckey 20:34, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Uniqueness is unusualness simpliciter. And I'm offering this as a verifiable standard. Do you have a better idea? Simões (talk/contribs) 20:37, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, not reducing everything so drastically that it becomes almost absurdly non-descriptive. A baseball player killed by an errant pitch during a major league game is not merely a "blow to the head" any more than a supernova is "something going boom". Chris Buckey 20:53, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
You missed the AFD discussion. Being able to specify profession and circumstances is a license to include anything. How many people have been electrocuted to death? Tons. How many electrical engineers? Way less. What about electrical engineers electrocuted to death on Engineer's Day? It might be only a few (or one!). With little work, any death can be considered unusual. There needs to be an outside source to establish unusualness. Simões (talk/contribs) 21:06, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
But we (consensus of the editors) *are* the outside source - that's the whole point of wikipedia! Just as we determine which television shows get blow-by-blow articles and which don't; Neilsen ratings aren't required ("this show didn't make it to the top 5 for its time period, so it doesn't deserve an article") I get the feeling you find this whole article unsupportable, which I'll admit is a point of view that is shared by others - but it has never made it past the AFD stage. - DavidWBrooks 21:34, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Consensus of editors is primarily used to determine whether an article or part of an article meets some policy or guideline. Here is the opening sentence from WP:OR:

Original research (OR) is a term used in Wikipedia to refer to material that has not been published by a reliable source. It includes unpublished facts, arguments, concepts, statements, or theories, or any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that appears to advance a position — or which, in the words of Wikipedia's co-founder Jimmy Wales, would amount to a "novel narrative or historical interpretation."

Indicating by subjective preference that each of the listed items here ought to count as "unusual" is precisely original research. It is an unpublished synthesis of published material. Compare this with List of rare diseases. The "rare" part on that list does have a verifiable, outside standard: the NIH's. List of unusual deaths needs to meet WP:OR just like List of rare diseases does. If this can't be done, it needs to be deleted or turned into a redirect. Simões (talk/contribs) 21:58, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

(back to the left again!) A reasonable argument. On the other hand, see Rare species, which talks about various possible criteria, but applies none in particular, and is up to the editors' judgment. - DavidWBrooks 22:55, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Then the list part of that article needs to be fixed to bring it in line with WP:OR. And it is fixable by citing some existing, published standard(s). Can the same be said for this list? Simões (talk/contribs) 00:01, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Oh, my - you've got a lot of wiki-policing to do, because "famous" and "notable" are just as un-objective as "unusual." So your reading of WP:OR means you've got to clean up List of famous suicides and List of famous pairs and List of Germans (which is a redirect from List of famous Germans) and List of famous dogs and dozens more ... plus the fact that most articles about U.S. states include a List of notable residents subsection that you've got to fix, and most university articles have List of famous alumni that are equally non-sourced-with-objective-famousness ... not to mention - well, you get the idea.
In sum, since these hundreds of articles have grown and been shaped by years of wikipedia consensus, I think your interpretation of WP:OR is overly literal. And while it's true that this Unusual Deaths article is near the edge of what the community has grown to accept (I don't think that, say, List of weird concidences would make the cut), it has survived two AfD debates (three, if you go back to the "tortoises on their heads" debate) so the community seems to think that it serves a purpose, which after all is the whole point. - DavidWBrooks 15:14, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Once again, notability has guidelines dictating what counts and what doesn't. Such is not the case for unusualness. So that covers all of your examples. This list is not exempt from WP:OR and WP:V. Simões (talk/contribs) 16:00, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

It should be possible to come up with some criteria for "unusuality". Uniqueness (or extreme rarity as I'd suspect it would be impossible to completely establish uniqueness) was mentioned and that would certianly be one criteria that could be verifiable as news reports often give quotes from experts along the lines of "I have never heard of such a case before." There are also cases of the Universe demonstrating classic irony like the case of Richard Versalle. The Fortean Times runs a monthly Strange Deaths column and has published at least 2 books on the area Strange Deaths (by Steve Moore, ISBN 1870870506) and More Strange Deaths (by Paul Sieveking, ISBN 1902212029) although I doubt anyone has established specific criteria (although it woukd be well worth checking their introductions for clues - the Book of Lists also includes various examples). So I don't think it is truly impossible. The thing is that a lot of entries are as long as a piece of string and the important thing is that there is a well agreed upon consensus and regular and heavy pruning of the page. I am looking through the list and don't find some of them that strange. Although I possibly have a jaded palate as I follow such things closely but you could stand to loose half to three quarters of the current entries. There are causes for concern but I think it can be tightened up (the verifiability is good but also needs fixing up). (Emperor 22:28, 5 February 2007 (UTC))

3rd Opinion on this matter

I can't think of an effective resolution for this matter, because while this is a subject readers might care about and may enjoy reading and may want for informational purposes, WP:V and WP:NPOV are totally unaccounted for in the title. Very few deaths could be considered verifiably unusual, which could be reasonably done if verifiable sources note that the deaths are unusual. As the article stands, it's an opinion peice and is totally disputable. Again, I have no recomendation on the course of action to take, but it should be verifiable. i kan reed 16:20, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

(edit conflicted 3O, or is that a 4O?) While I won't take a stance on what the objective standard should be, there absolutely must be some objective standard. "It's unusual because the editor who chose to add it to this list finds it so" is the very definition of original research and inserting our own viewpoint on things-effectively, "editorializing by inclusion". Also, it must be determined (again, in a clear and objective way) whether more than one factor can contribute to "unusual" and if so how. Getting trampled to death by a water buffalo in New York City may be considered pretty unusual, but the same thing happening in Southeast Asia probably would not be. I would look to notability as a criterion which could be subjective but is not-it is actually established with a very objective standard. Either a source is affiliated with or created by the subject of an article (primary source) or it is not (secondary source). Either a source is reliable (editorially controlled or subject to scholarly peer review) or it is not (anonymous or not subject to control or peer review). Either the subject is the focus of the source cited or it is not. Those are not subjective guidelines, and the same type of thing can get established here! Seraphimblade 16:25, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, I think we know where we all stand: I agree it should be vertifiable that the stated incidents happened as described, and that they be notable enough to be included in other wikipedia articles (as the intro says) but think that is sufficient. Others don't. In fact, it sounds to me like several people feel the word "unusual" is so inherently subjective that the article must by definition be unverifiable and should be AFD'd. I would disagree, as have the previous AfD debates (although it's been close). - DavidWBrooks 16:46, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
If we can't come up with a solution to this, we're going to have to put it up for another AFD nomination or turn it into a redirect (which doesn't require an AFD discussion). i kan reed and Seraphimblade came here because I made a WP:3O request. I can do a WP:RFC next, but the same outcome is going to happen. There's no way around the verification-of-unusualness requirement, as WP:V and other policies demand it. Do you have any ideas? Simões (talk/contribs) 17:01, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Redirect to what, I wonder? But please don't do that; I think the AfD debates have shown there are a lot of varied opinions on this article. Start another AfD if you must; maybe enough people will agree with you that you can spirit away the article en mass. (There's some guideline somewhere about how many AfDs you should have in a given time, and this would be the third in a year for this article. But I won't complain.). - DavidWBrooks 17:18, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

If you'll look at the AFD discussions, you'll see that all the keep votes are either backed by "I like it" statements or insistences that unusualness can be verified. None of the latter group has followed up on their claim since the discussion ended. All the delete votes are for the same reason: unusualness can't be verified. Those are the "varied opinions." Simões (talk/contribs) 17:26, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Be that as it may, the vote still was keep twice. That shouldn't be cavalierly tossed aside, even if you think the arguments on one side were weak. - DavidWBrooks 18:39, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Especially when the crux of the dispute lies within the interpretation (broad or strict) of WP:OR and WP:NPOV and how they apply to this. As far as the topic has been concerned, entire books on unusual deaths have been published over the years. So this squabble is over not whether or not the list complies with WP:OR but over an interpretation as to whether the boundaries are in fact POV. This is wikilawyering to the nth degree. 21:21, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Article rename

Hi. Where will I find the consensus discussion for the renaming of this article? --Dweller 12:45, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

You won't find it. I moved the article back. Simões (talk/contribs) 14:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Problems with a possible standard

It's been suggested a couple times that we could just find outside sources where people say "this death is unusual." I'm not confident that this would work. Take, for example, [this] article in the New York Times. It's right there in the bloody title, so we'd be obliged to include this. But the article quickly reveals that this isn't "unusual" in the sense that the article creators and proponents intend. It's a guy who died by the electric chair, and his face restraint caught on fire. That's happened lots and is part of the reason why most states have abandoned the chair in favor of lethal injection.

Other cases of "unusual deaths" verified by external sources are even further from what is intended for this article. The authors in these cases are using "unusual death" to mean "suspicious death"; e.g., apparent accidents or suicides that have some evidence suggesting they were really murders.

So unless people are okay with radically changing the direction of this article, this standard isn't going to work. Simões (talk/contribs) 15:59, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't see that being a problem - a lot of deaths are described as "unusual" what we are looking at are rare, ironic or bizarre and "unusual" is just a catch-all term (as "List of rare, ironic or bizarre deaths" would get unwieldy and someone would always pop in and say "well what about X?" The Fortean Times books and column of the same name are called "Strange Deaths" but just because someone in an article decribes the death as strange wouldn't automatically include such a news report. The important thing is not to be too literal with the title but make sure the opening paragraph includes information about what is considered "unusual."
I do have a further concern: "To be included on this list, an unusual death has to receive mention in the Wikipedia article of a person, or the death itself has to be the focus of a Wikipedia article." the problem is that while this fits the criteria for notability no matter how unusual a notable person's death is there are always non-notable people who have suffered considerably more unusual deaths along those lines making the death a lot less unusual. Tricky. The entry is a minefield and, like some others, might be better off on another site (I recently said the same about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen timeline although feel that, like this entry, it can still be worked on to conform to the standards required to keep it). One thing - if all the deaths are noted in the person's entries why can't they just be linked together using a category? Something like that would possibly be better than trying to maintain a comprehensive list whilst policing it hard to make sure it doesn't suffer from mission creep. (Emperor 16:42, 7 February 2007 (UTC))
If what you say is true, then there's an even bigger problem. "Unusual" (in the sense of rareness), unlike "ironic" and "bizarre," refers to an descriptive (and arguably objective) concept; the concept just suffers from immense vagueness (like "flat" or "tall"). "Ironic," "bizarre," "peculiar," "interesting," "strange," etc., on the other hand, are used in value judgments and therefore unverifiable. We can't have a "list of great movies" on Wikipedia, either—even if there's a book of "great movies" we can cite. So we're going to have to stick to unusualness-as-rareness.
That means we're dealing with the problem of vagueness, not value judgments: this is a list of deaths with rare causes, however uninteresting. The problem of vagueness, for the purpose of Wikipedia, is solved by citing an outside standard from a reliable source (see, e.g. List of rare diseases). As far I know, none such exist: neither the NIH nor anyone else has a standard for "instances of rare causes of death listed in coronors' reports." Therefore, I think the only solution, short of deleting, is turning the article into a redirect. List of rare diseases seems like a good candidate to me. Simões (talk/contribs) 20:15, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
While there isn't list of great movies there is a list of Films considered the worst ever and even a category: Category:Worst lists. Now all of these entries have had troublesome histories (including numerous AfDs) but the editors have managed to thrash out a way of making them work. They key is not just to prove not just that it happened but that other reliable sources have considered them to be unusual. I can provide sources for this kind of thing so, as I've said, it is not impossible to have this entry here but a clear methodology for how it is to be achieved would be required. (Emperor 23:48, 7 February 2007 (UTC))
Just because one atrocity of an article has a legion of fans keeping it alive doesn't mean we should let this one live, too. It's not a very good precedent to follow. If you think you can come up with a standard that doesn't violate WP:V, WP:NPOV, and WP:OR (and will also keep happy all those who voted to keep the article because it's "entertaining"), be my guest. Simões (talk/contribs) 00:28, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Well as much as you don't like this and, (apparently) those other entries, they survive AfDs and your solution of turning into a redirect just won't fly without a consensus (and if you could get one of those you'd be able to delete it). So I'm suggesting we can at least tighten this up the way the others have been tightened up - giving references to sources that consider them unusual deaths (as it stands the references only prove the facts not how unusual they are). So we can keep going round in circles, it can go up for deletion again (and probably fail) or we can sort out a way to improve the entry. (Emperor 00:44, 8 February 2007 (UTC))
No thanks. Fixing an article like this has about the same probability as it getting deleted. Good luck. Simões (talk/contribs) 00:46, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
So you are because.... ? (Emperor 01:27, 8 February 2007 (UTC))

Some composer...

I recall hearing on the radio, just before some of his music was played, about a composer who had lost his sense of smell somehow. Apparently he died after applying white shoe polish to his face, mistaking it for shaving cream. The fumes rendered him unconscious and he died on the bathroom floor. I can't find anything on Google though, am I imagining this? Miken32 22:46, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

If you can't find it on Google, I suspect you might be... However, it may be worthwhile following up and trying to find the radio article. Trollderella 17:26, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Rockefeller and Marshack

It states in this article that Nelson Rockefeller died "while having sex with Megan Marshack on the desk in his office." I checked the Nelson Rockefeller page after reading this, and while it states that there is speculation regarding his exact cause of death and that he may have had an affair with the 26 year old aide in the time leading up to it, it says nothing about the cause of death mentioned in this article (even as a possibility). It only states that there are reports that he may have been with Marshack at the time of his death. I think the "sex on the desk" account may then be simply a rumor or legend, and not verified as fact. --Delong71487 20:00, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Excellent point. It's gone. - DavidWBrooks 21:07, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Dave Beasant=

Supposed death by mayonnaise incident (1993)??? Then why is he in the wiki list 'Living People'??? Check his page!

Bythe time this comment was written, the joke entry had already been removed. -DavidWBrooks 18:08, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

clumping similar deaths

I'm not sure this is a good idea or not, so I gave it a try: I've "clumped" together a number of similar 20th-century deaths - people who died of natural causes (not accidents) during public performances. If this works, we can do other clumps; if not, we can revert it. - DavidWBrooks 22:58, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

"Unusual"? Unusual as declared by whom?

I don't see how this list could be anything but subjective.... I mean, I guess you could say if the cause of death is one that does not occur often....

But then this list would require all deaths by rare diseases.

And disclude any toothpick-related deaths, as they are statistically significant.

And include terrorism-related deaths, as acts of terrorism are relatively rare.

And disclude large-scale catastrophes, as only the death tolls and events themselves are unusual, and not the actual individual deaths.

In addition, if you were to also consider circumstances or details of the death, you could only include details that don't occur often, not simply details that may seem outlandish.

In addition, to be anywhere close to complete, this list will have to be unfathomably large, as the number of reported "unusual" deaths is sure to be in the ten thousands, at least.

And if we are to use "unusual" as "statistically extraordinary", we'll have to come up with a solid standard to go by (which, of course, will have been already been decided on and published by somebody else, because for us to declare something unusual would be original research and analysis) Blueaster 03:53, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree all your points are valid ones, and probably addressing all of them is an impossibility, but all of that might be considered overly critical. An article like this, I think the only way it could meet the standards you've just set forth (which, theoretically, are all standards wikipedia is supposed to set forth) would be to completely neuter the article the way the List of Internet phenomena was recently.

The MAIN problem is the one you raised about subjectivity. I don't believe there's any single standard that could truly be used to qualify what is an "unusual death", certainly not across the board for all types of death, and certainly not one which would be sourcable. I think, even above Original Research, it can be understood that the circumstances surrounding the demise of someone like, say, Michael Malloy, it can be understood that the vast majority of people would have no problem qualifying it as "unusual". But, reasonable expectation for popular agreement is not a consistent standard. So I simply do not know how to solve this particular problem. If I were being completely objective, I would say all of your points raised are totally valid, and satisfactorily answering all of them is an impossibility, which would mean the article should be considered for deletion. But, subjectively, I like the article and feel it does serve a purpose, and if there is a way of answering any of your points, I'd like to try.Elijya 05:13, 26 March 2007 (UTC)


Please, I need a good laugh once in a while. Keep this up. It ROCKS!

P.S.: It HAS survived 2 attempts of deletion, hasn't it? 02:02, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Is there a Trivia Wiki? If not there should be for articles like this, since I do enjoy this kind of stuff. BrainRotMenacer 22:57, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I removed the {{Notability}} tag as both pointless and incorrect. While a number of issues with this article (principally the degree to which judging a death as "unusual" constitutes original research) have been brought up in the three AfD discussions, no credible case for lack of notability has been made: the criteria for inclusion make it clear that only unusual deaths of notable persons (judged by their having Wikipedia articles) or unusual deaths that themselves are the subject of Wikipedia articles, are to be included. Items that do not meet either of these criteria are routinely and quickly removed. --MCB 04:05, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The entries themselves are notable, but the topic, "Deaths of Wikipedia-notable people that can be considered unusual" is not one that has ever been written about are noted by itself. This subject may have its own page or so of bullet points in a book of mostly unverified trivia, but that's it, it's just trivia. Blueaster 17:09, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

In fact, entire books have been published about it.B.Wind 22:29, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

What is the source for the claim that Benny Hill died after a specific bout of overeating? His Wiki page says he was obese and suffered from heart problems but makes no mention of the claim made in this article.--ukexpat 13:02, 9 May 2007 (UTC)


"290 BC Louisicus XXIV, was killed during the sexual act of Gaphavion, were one touches onesself to a picture of food."

I know I'm not the only one to see something wrong with this... The Last Melon 03:06, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

What about time frame?

Would the death of Inejiro Asanuma? Assassination by sword is not unusual, perhaps, but for a modern (1960) politician to be assassinated on (nearly) national television is pretty unusual. It certainly caused an uproar in the country for months. Generationthirteen 23:45, 9 July 2007 (UTC) Gen

Frederick I

Its supposed he was killed on crusade by being thrown of his horse into cold water... I find this unusual baring in mind the context. He was on a crusade and it was a pretty... odd way for an Emperor to die...

Just thought I would suggest it --Swk2000 03:51, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol's entry does not seem unusual. I'd like to delete it unless anyone voices a compelling objection. -- 11:45, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Hanging yourself isn't very unusual, but on a weight machine? Has anyone even ever thought of that before?

Age inconsistency?

2007: 89 year old Dane Wachowski died after being swarmed by frisbees. He was unconcious for an exceeded amount of time before his Grandpa Sponga identified it was him laying in the park unconcious.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but does that say an 89 year old man who died, was identified by his grandfather? It seems a little mixed up and I expect it's meant the other way around. I.E. Dane being the grandfather and being identified by Sponga, his grandson? Anyone know? 20:09, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

I added the death of Soviet cosmonaut trainee Valentin Bondarenko for various reasons. Firstly, the manner of his death was unusual in that he died in a space disaster. Also, his death was succinctly covered up by the Soviet government. Besides, if the Apollo 1 disaster is notable and unusual, this certainly is.

Just thought if would make a valuable addition, I won't object to removal. 00:41, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Remove Pope Innocent X?

"1655: Pope Innocent X died and was hidden in a corner for three days..." That is unusual but it isn't his death. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Narcotics faerie (talkcontribs) 03:51, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Dead Reverend's Rubber Fetish Investigators determined that Rev. Gary Aldridge's death was not caused by foul play and that the 51-year-old pastor of Montgomery's Thorington Road Baptist Church was alone in his home at the time he died (while apparently in the midst of some autoerotic undertaking). While the Montgomery Advertiser, which first obtained the autopsy records, reported on Aldridge's two wet suits... 21:13, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Who is Alex Rondel?

Removed "2007: Alex Rondel died after being brutally raped in the anus" because it looks like something that a schoolchild who doesn't like Alex Rondel (Whoever that is) would put in. If anyone can come up with citations or what makes this notable, feel free to put it back. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:58, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Who wants to add this guy? -Dr. BAH! 18:50, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Cleanup of Latter portion of article

I think overall this is a very good list, until we get up to around the 20th century. It seems that in the 20th and 21st century you have a far greater abundance of deaths, while at the same time many of the items listed are wholly unremarkable. Furthermore, in many ways some of the deaths listed aren't really unusual at all, just uncommon, or rather, improbable. What exactly is the standard we're using here to define an "unusual death"? Calgary 04:18, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Era subheadings

"Dark Ages" is not commonly used in a scholarly fashion anymore, and in any case these divisions are 1) pretty euro-centric and 2) arbitrary. Would it not be better to divide the article into centuries instead of these epochs that don't hold any relevance to some of the deaths mentioned? Nach0king (talk) 09:58, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Not So Unusual Deaths V

I would like to hear an argument in favor of keeping Bakenranef, the Pharaoh who got burned alive. How is this an unusual way to die? (considering the number of witch-burnings, ceremonial pyres etc.) -- Wikigeek @ gmail —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:13, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Request for example of taser gun death victim

Maybe some cop will think twice before pull the taser trigger. They are learnt that's "non-lethal" :( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:27, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


From the opening section:

To be included on this list, an unusual death has to receive mention in the Wikipedia article of a person, or the death itself has to be the focus of a Wikipedia article.

Doesn't this section violate WP:ASR? CRGreathouse (t | c) 23:59, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

ASR, like virtually all wikipedia policies, is not a hard-and-fast rule; it's a guideline that can be broken when consensus agrees. The line you quote was added a couple years ago in an attempt to put some limits on this article, so that every Darwin-award-type rumor death wouldn't be added. It has worked pretty well.
That is not to say, of course, that something else couldn't be devised which would accomplish the same thing without referring to wikipedia. I'm not sure what, however.
But we need to keep some straightforward description, right at the start, to control this article. If we just remove that line without replacing it by an equally strict limit, the trivia will descend. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 02:24, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Pope John XXI

His unusual death (while working in a laboratory that collapsed) is not mentioned in his Wikipedia article (sleeping in a shoddy wing of the papal palace). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:19, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Allan Pinkerton

His page says he died of a heart attack; here it says he died of gangrene. I don't know which one to believe. Also, isn't it time for an archive? I don't know how to do it.-Babylon pride (talk) 21:50, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Obese relative may have crushed toddler

Should it be added? Here's the link: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

ADD. I think that this would certainly count as "unusual". --JeffJ (talk) 11:33, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
Do not add. This is, unfortunately, not unique, and you don't have to be morbidly obese to do so accidentally. :( --Kizor 14:47, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Maybe not unique, but certainly unusual. I've never heard of a child being crushed to death in this manner. --JeffJ (talk) 05:30, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Academic. It now appears that police are investigating this as a murder and not an accident. Apparently the obese relative assaulted the toddler with 2 blows to the head causing dead. Definitely NOT unusual. --JeffJ (talk) 05:43, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Megan Meier

Re: Deleted entry for 2006: Megan Meier, a 13 year-old girl with ADHD and other disorders from Missouri committed suicide... I think this entry is more notable than the usual cases of bullying in that it was an adult woman, pretending to be a teenage boy, who did the bullying. This incident also received a fair amount of notoriety in international media. I think this entry should remain. --JeffJ (talk) 00:40, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

I disagree, but obviously it's a judgment call open to consensus (as is the next one). Does anybody else care to chime in? - DavidWBrooks (talk) 11:40, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you that bullying is not unusual, however the method in this case is. This was apparently a very elaborate set-up by another girl's mother, posing as a teenage boy, for the purpose of emotionally damaging Megan. That in itself is very unusual, if not completely unique. IMHO. --JeffJ (talk) 18:03, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
This entry also strikes an emotional chord above conventional bullying in that there was such malicious cunning and aforethought. --JeffJ (talk) 18:16, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Re: 2007: Carol Anne Gotbaum, 45, while in police custody... I don't think that this entry should have been deleted because it was not suicide, but an unusual mishap leading to an accidental death.--JeffJ (talk) 00:50, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

The details are in dispute - she may have done it on purpose while depressed. But more importantly, dying by a stangulation accident/suicide/whatever while in police custody happens (alas) not that rarely. Deaths have to be really unusual (or happen to a really notable person) to make this list, or the article will bewcome thousands of pages long.- DavidWBrooks (talk) 11:40, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
The death is somewhat unusual. Perhaps if there were more information about the exact mechanism of death. Maybe if we can establish stronger noteriety, otherwise I might be inclined to agree with the deletion. --JeffJ (talk) 16:23, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Okay, now we might have more information in the synopsis than is appropriate. What I was hoping for was expanded information in the main article with a clearer sysnopsis demonstrating notability. However, I don't want to be seen as being overly heavy-handed so I'm going to leave be for the time being. I'm also going to see if I can find more details on the exact mechanism of death (i.e. How does one strangle themself with handcuffs?).--JeffJ (talk) 03:57, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Obviously this whole page is subjective (that's why there have been attempts to delete it entirely), so no tried-and-true measure can exist on an "unusual death" - but I still think she doesn't belong because accidental deaths in police custody aren't unusual. Just because it's in the media at the moment is not enough (IMHO). I won't remove it, though - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:14, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm hoping that someone else will help out here. I have to admit that I'm sitting on the fence with this one. It IS unusual, but not extraordinarily so. Maybe not so much unusual as it is out of the ordinary... --JeffJ (talk) 18:10, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

1999 Death of "Kemistry" in car accident.

Re: 1999: Drum and Bass producer and DJ Kemistry died in a car accident where a loose cat's eye... Dying in a car accident is hardly unusual even from flying debris. If we included every instance of this type of accident, this article would soon be choked with similar deaths. In 1997, in Ontario, Canada there were over 200 incidents of road debris-related accidents, including at least 2 fatalities. This prompted the creation of the Comprehensive Road Safety Act, which has dramatically reduced the number of similar accidents in recent years. So I will reiterate that flying debris deaths are not a common occurrence compared to other motor vehicle accidents, but are still common enough to prompt specific legislation in at least one jurisdiction.--JeffJ (talk) 13:45, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

The opening paragraph states: "The list also includes less rare, but still unusual, deaths of prominent people." I personally think that a notable individual who dies in a car accident after someone throws a cat's eyeball into the vehicle is rather unusual. Certainly something I haven't heard of before. But, will leave it out. ExRat (talk) 13:52, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
For clarity, a cat's eye in this context is one of those little reflectors embedded in the the road surface to make lanes on the highway more visible at night. It's very common for them to come loose and be kicked up by vehicles. --JeffJ (talk) 14:52, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Good clarification - that definitely (IMHO) makes it not notable enough to list. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 17:30, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Antiquity entries

There are several entries that are of dubious notability and don't seem particularly unusual. Several are brutal but it is often the post mortem handling of the remains that is "notable". --JeffJ (talk) 01:22, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Example 1: ...Roman general Pompey, ...was stabbed, killed, and decapitated...
Example 2: ...Cicero, ...was hunted down and killed...
Example 3: ...Roman emperor Galba was killed...
Example 4: ...Pope Innocent X died...
I think these type of entries detract from the validity of the article and should be reserved for each person's main article. --JeffJ (talk) 12:47, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Anyone want to weigh in here? I'd really like to hear people's opinions on these entries. --JeffJ (talk) 04:39, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Refing Entries

I added a bunch of refs and did some formating and wikifing. I also removed all the entries that didn't have wikipedia articles, per list header. I will work on more formating and refs later.--Adamfinmo (talk) 08:24, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Fabulous job! This article has needed something like that for ages.
One point - I re-added Vic Morrow, because it is so famous and is mentioned in his wikipedia article. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 14:43, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Whoops - Morrow was moved, not removed. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 16:52, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Arrrgh! I just made the same error and had to revert myself. It is a little confusing since there are listings in the main chrono section that should me moved to the "artists who died of unnatural causes during public performances or practice", like Jon-Erik Hexum and Brandon Lee. Unless "performance" means actual performance in front of a live audience, rather than filming or stunt work. Does "practice" include filming or stunt work? Sort of unclear. --MCB (talk) 18:12, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I was mostly editing for refs and format. I will work on moving some of the entries into proper sections tonight--Adamfinmo (talk) 22:50, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I believe I created that "actors who died of natural / unnatural causes during performance" subcategory myself a year or two ago, in an attempt to organize this page. If it seems to be creating more confusion that it solves, we can ditch it. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 00:20, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I will try to put that together--Adamfinmo (talk) 01:49, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
What if we did a separate section, but also include a chronological entry with a "see also" or "see..." pointer to the separate performer section? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jc128842 (talkcontribs) 04:44, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Richard Sumner

I have removed this entry several times now. I doesn't belong per the stated purpose of the list. Does the editor who keeps reinserting it have and information as to why it should be added?--Adamfinmo (talk) 01:42, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

  • A Wikipedia page on Richard Sumner has been added to qualify this entry for inclusion here. The editor who keeps removing the entry has been asked to cease and desist his activities regarding this particular contribution. Ecoleetage (talk) 01:56, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Thanks for your imput. I was trying to improve the article by removing non-notable entries. I formated your entry to fit the page.--Adamfinmo (talk) 01:59, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Anyone want to explain why this entry was removed? I ask for information purposes only. --JeffJ (talk) 04:51, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Presumably for lack of an article referencing the death. As it says at the top of the list, "To be included on this list, an unusual death has to receive mention in the Wikipedia article of a person, or the death itself has to be the focus of a Wikipedia article." Considering that Zagorski herself would not really be an appropriate subject for an article per WP:BLP1E, and the death itself was not sufficiently notable as an event to have its own article, it is unlikely to be included here. --MCB (talk) 06:22, 13 April 2008 (UTC)