The Quick 10: 10 Bizarre Deaths

I stumbled upon this list of bizarre deaths and immediately thought, "Perfect mental_floss post." I think this subconsciously might be my reaction to Halloween displays going up in retail stores already "“ you might think it's too early, but I'd be happy if Halloween stuff was sold in stores year-round. Hopefully you guys are used to my morbid ways by now. Um. Happy Monday!

1. Aeschylus, a Greek playwright, supposedly met his making in 458 B.C. when an eagle mistook his bald head for a rock. He dropped a tortoise on the "rock" to try to kill it and break its shell open, but since the "rock" was actually Aeschylus' skull, it didn't really work out well. Except for the tortoise: legend has it that it walked away, unharmed.

tycho 2. It was long believed that astronomer Tycho Brahe died because he wouldn't get up to go to the loo. He was at a banquet in 1601 and had to pee something awful. But to get up and leave the banquet would have been unspeakably rude, so he, you know, held it. The theory is that it stretched his bladder beyond repair, he developed an infection and died 11 days later. However, these days, it looks like Tycho may have suffered from mercury poisoning. One school of thought thinks that his then-assistant, Johannes Kepler, intentionally poisoned him.

3. Speaking of faulty bladders, in 1862, baseball player Jim Creighton died when his bladder ruptured. Well, maybe. He was at bat and swung a little too hard, he gave himself some sort of internal injury and died a few days later. Many sources say it was his bladder; others say his appendix burst. He is largely regarded as baseball's first superstar.

4. If you visit the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, you'll hear the story of how Jasper Newton Daniel met his untimely demise.

It was blood poisoning, which isn't that unusual, until you hear how he got it: years earlier, he kicked a safe because he couldn't remember the combination. This resulted in a toe injury, which resulted in blood poisoning.

5. It's entirely possible that King Alexander of Greece is the only King to ever die from a monkey attack. Seriously. He was out walking his dog in the Royal Gardens when a monkeys descended upon them. He tried to defend his poor dog, but got bitten a couple of times in the process. Infection set in and the King died of sepsis later that month.

6. George Herbert died of "blood poisoning", but those in the know say he was the first victim of King Tut's curse. He was the once who financed the excavation, which he probably regretted when a seemingly harmless mosquito bite turned into a deadly infection in 1923.

isadora7. Famous dancer Isadora Duncan died because she loved accessories. Scarves, to be exact. As she was riding in a car, her scarf fluttered out and got wrapped up in the spokes of the tires. The scarf was wrapped around her so well that it wouldn't come loose and instead dragged her out of the car and strangled her.

8. Robert Williams was the first person to be killed by a robot (see, Flight of the Conchords know what they are talking about). Williams worked at Ford and was getting a part out of a storage bin when the arm of a robot performing the same function caught him in the head with enough force to kill him.

williams9. I'm sure Tennessee Williams would have written a much more poetic death for himself than what actually happened. He was at a hotel in New York when he put the cap to some eyedrops in his mouth, then leaned back to put the drops in his eye. This was something he did a lot, but this time, the cap slipped and he choked to death.

10. I suppose after the "unsinkable" Titanic sunk, we should have learned to never declare things definitively impossible. Garry Hoy would certainly know better, if he had survived his fall. In 1993, he hurled himself against a glass wall on the 24th story on his office building. He was at an after-hours party and was proving to the party patrons that the glass was "unbreakable." Except it wasn't.

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Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
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Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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