The 12 Most Ridiculous Deaths In History, Because You Really Can't Make This Stuff Up

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What makes a death truly, famously ridiculous? Is it some quality of exaggeration or grotesquery, some aspect that's gone weirdly wrong? Is it a twist of dark bad luck? Is it just something poetically appropriate — or a combination of all three? People have been arguing about this since humans first started dying in stupid ways; I guarantee there was a Most Ridiculous Times Hunters Have Been Bored By Mammoths list among at least one prehistoric tribe.

For my money, stupidity isn't enough; to be truly ridiculous, a death has to be a combination of the tragic, the comic, and the unusual. The Darwin Awards celebrate humans shuffling off this mortal coil in downright daft ways, but this list celebrates the deaths of often perfectly intelligent people (geniuses and kings, in some examples) who just had to make things, well, weird.

The other criterion? They had to be proved to be real. Which means that the highly apocryphal death of Greek playwright Aeschylus by having a tortoise dropped on his head is, regrettably, off the list.

Image: [Duncan]/Flickr

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