How Not to Die
The Stupidest Deaths in Known History

Attila the Hun 

One of the most notorious villains in history, Attila's army had conquered
all of Asia by 450 AD--from Mongolia to the edge of the Russian Empire--by
destroying villages and pillaging the countryside. 

How he died: He got a nosebleed on his wedding night

In 453 AD, Attila married a young girl named Ildico. Despite his reputation
for ferocity on the battlefield, he tended to eat and drink lightly during
large banquets. On his wedding night, however, he really cut loose, gorging
himself on food and drink. Sometime during the night he suffered a nosebleed,
but was too drunk to notice. He drowned in his own blood and was found dead
the next morning. 

Tycho Brahe 

An important Danish astronomer of the 16th century. His ground breaking
research allowed Sir Isaac Newton to come up with the theory of gravity.

How he died: Didn't get to the bathroom in time

In the 16th century, it was considered an insult to leave a banquet table
before the meal was over. Brahe, known to drink excessively, had a bladder
condition----but failed to relieve himself before the banquet started. He
made matters worse by drinking too much at dinner, and was too polite to ask
to be excused. His bladder finally burst, killing him slowly and painfully
over the next 11 days. 

Horace Wells 

Pioneered the use of anesthesia in the 1840s

How he died: Used anesthetics to commit suicide

While experimenting with various gases during his anaesthesia research, Wells
became addicted to chloroform. In 1848 he was arrested for spraying two women
with sulfuric acid. In a letter he wrote from jail, he blamed chloroform for
his problems, claiming that he'd gotten high before the attack. Four days
later he was found dead in his cell. He'd anaesthetized himself with
chloroform and slashed open his thigh with a razor. 

Jerome Irving Rodale 

Founding father of the organic food movement, creator of "Organic Farming and
Gardening" magazine, and founder of Rodale Press, a major publishing

How he died: On the "Dick Cavett Show," while discussing the benefits of
organic foods.

Rodale, who bragged "I'm going to live to be 100 unless I'm run down by a
sugar-crazed taxi driver," was only 72 when he appeared on the "Dick Cavett
Show" in January 1971.  Part-way through the interview, he dropped dead in
his chair. Cause of death: a heart attack. The show was never aired. 


A Greek playwright back in 500 BC. Many historians consider him the father of
Greek tragedies.

How he died: An eagle dropped a tortoise on his head

According to legend, eagles picked up tortoises and attempted to crack them
open by dropping them on rocks. An eagle mistook Aeschylus' head for a rock
(he was bald) and dropped it on him instead. 

Jim Fixx 

Author of the best selling "Complete Book of Running," which started the
jogging craze of the 1970s.

How he died: A heart attack....while jogging

Fixx was visiting Greensboro, Vermont when he walked out of his house and
began jogging. He'd only gone a short distance when he had a massive
coronary. His autopsy revealed that one of his coronary arteries was 99%
clogged, another was 80% obstructed, and a third was 70% blocked....and that
Fixx had had three other attacks in the weeks prior to his death. 

Francis Bacon 

One of the most influential minds of the late 16th century. A statesman, a
philosopher, a writer, and a scientist, he was even rumored to have written
some of Shakespeare's plays.

How he died: Stuffing snow into a chicken

One afternoon in 1625, Bacon was watching a snowstorm and was struck by the
wondrous notion that maybe snow could be used to preserve meat in the same
way that salt was used. Determined to find out, he purchased a chicken from a
nearby village, killed it, and then, standing outside in the snow, attempted
to stuff the chicken full of snow to freeze it. The chicken never froze, but
Bacon did. 

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