Over time, natural selection takes its toll and omits the dumbest people from the gene pool. It’s not great news for the people whose head whistles in a crosswind, but for us, it’s fantastic, as we can keep entertained by the amusing tales of people with a room temperature IQ who perished due to a lack of intelligence from stupid deaths. Let’s get to it with more Darwin award winners!
16. DEATH BY BEARD
Hans Steininger served several terms as mayor of the small Austrian village of Branau-am-Inn. He had a four-and-a-half-foot long beard, which he kept neatly rolled up and stuffed in a pocket.
When a fire broke out in his village in September 1567, Steininger found himself at the center of panicking townspeople. His beard loosened from its pouch and unraveled as he tried to suppress the commotion. Steininger was too rushed to re-roll his beard, so he pushed it out of the way. His decision proved to be fatal when he tripped over his beard at the top of a flight of stairs and tumbled down the steps, breaking his neck along the way.
15. CRUSHED BY A CACTUS
One day in 1982, two young and presumably bored roommates named David Grundman and James Suchochi decided to wander the desert near Lake Pleasant, Arizona with shotguns. During their walk, Grundman open fired on a 10-foot saguaro cactus.
It quickly toppled. Grundman then shot two rounds into a 27-foot-tall cactus, causing a large and heavy arm of the plant to fall off. Grundman was crushed to death by the spiny, four-foot-long saguaro arm. Saguaros are only found in the Sonoran Desert and are protected by Arizona law. In the case of David Grundman’s unlawful behavior, he received a death sentence, courtesy of the cactus he shot.
14. FATAL TEST RUN
As the aviation age took off, a tailor named Franz Reichelt decided to pursue a dream that was far beyond the scope of his profession. In 1911, the aspiring inventor entered a contest to create a safety parachute. He created a “parachute-suit,” which was a standard flight suit improvised with rods, rubber lining, and a silk canopy.
Reichelt broke his leg during early tests and blamed the chute’s failure on the short height he jumped from. After a year of lobbying for permission to test the parachute-suit from the Eiffel Tower, Reichelt was given the green light. Police and onlookers expected him to use test dummies. However, when they realized he intended to test the product himself, they tried talking Reichelt out of jumping. He was so confident in his parachute-suit, however, he took the 187-foot plunge.
As you’d expect, he died on impact with the ground.
13. SHOPPING CART CATASTROPHE
One day in 2008, 18-year-old Cameron Bieberle took a joyride in a shopping cart that was attached to the bumper of a car. When the car hit a speed bump, the Florida teen was catapulted 27 feet and landed on his head when he hit the pavement. It resulted in yet another stupid death. Bieberle’s parents became adamant campaigners against “car surfing.”
It is a trend among teens that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Apparently, a growing number of today’s adolescents and young adults need to be shown evidence of a tragedy to avoid dangerous driving behaviors that could kill them.
12. MOTORCYCLE HELMET PROTEST DEATH
In the summer of 2011, 55-year-old Philip A. Contos attended a protest against New York State’s motorcycle helmet requirement. Around 550 motorcycle enthusiasts rode together without their helmets in a show of solidarity against the safety law.
During the demonstration, Contos’s 1983 Harley Davidson fishtailed when he hit the brakes, and he was thrown over the handlebars. He hit his head on the pavement and was pronounce dead at the hospital. The medical expert who pronounced Contos dead believed he would have undoubtedly survived the accident if he had been wearing a helmet. ABATE, the organization that sponsored the ride, maintained their view that motorcyclists should have a choice of whether or not to wear a helmet, even after the stupid death.
11. MULTITASKING MISADVENTURE
Twenty-year-old Kelita Hicks was driving her 1986 T-top Monte Carlo along a dark Kentucky highway at three o’clock AM one morning during August 2010. She had a passenger named Thomas May with her, and they decided to switch seats, and apparently saw no need to pull over. As Hicks attempted to climb over the T-top and into the passenger seat, her foot hit the steering wheel, causing the car to veer to the left.
May grabbed the steering wheel and turned it sharply to the right. The swerving caused Hicks to be thrown from the roof of the car. She hit her head on the guardrail as she landed on the pavement.
Hicks was flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center and died during surgery.
In 1995, a group of Polish men decided to measure their masculinity – and, evidently, their intelligence, or lack thereof – by playing drinking games. One of the “competitors” amputated the end of his foot using a chainsaw.
In an effort to one-up him, 30-year-old farmer Krystof Azninski swung the chainsaw toward his neck and cut his own head off. We all know that drinking games usually never lead anywhere good, but when it comes to winning the award for stupidest death, this one’s a no brainer.
9. PARTY BOAT
In 2018 a 21-year-old man decided he needed more attention on the booze cruise he was on in Boston harbor. So, he decided to perform vertical push-ups on the railing of the ferry. The crew ordered him to stop, which he did briefly until they turned their backs. Soon enough he faltered and toppled overboard. Several life rings were thrown to within several feet of the man, and a crew member got into the water within five feet to assist but he was unable to stay afloat and eventually drowned.
A Toronto attorney named Garry Hoy was incredibly proud of the strength of the windows in his skyscraper. So proud, in fact, that he was known to show off the durability of his 24th-floor office windows by throwing himself against them.
One day in 1993, he decided to impress some incoming students by body-checking himself against the glass. The first time, the window held, as it always had before. Hoy took another run at the glass and it popped out of the frame.
The lawyer plunged to the pavement below and died from his injuries. After this stupid death, Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm, told a local newspaper that Garry was “one of the best and brightest”. If that’s true, I suggest you hire another firm.
In 1996, Mark Gleeson made a last-ditch effort to quiet his snoring so his girlfriend, Tracey Lambert could sleep.
Doctors had told Gleeson that his snoring, which was caused by sinus problems from a car accident, was incurable. But the Scottish couple were determined to get it under control. After taking a few sleeping pills and drinking some wine, Gleeson stuffed tampons into his nostrils. He fell asleep on Lambert’s sofa, and the next morning, she discovered his lifeless body.
Gleeson died from asphyxiation caused by both the tampons and the sleeping pills, which furthered his breathing difficulties.
6. ACCIDENTALLY PROVING AN ACCIDENT
In an Ohio courtroom in July 1871, lawyer Clement Vallandigham argued that his client, Thomas McGehan, was innocent of murder.
McGehan was accused of killing a man named Tom Myers during a bar fight. Vallandigham maintained that Myers accidentally killed himself with his own pistol. To prove it, he used an unloaded gun to demonstrate to the jury how Myers could have done this. That evening, the lawyer set a loaded pistol next to the unloaded one on a table at his hotel. In the process of demonstrating to fellow lawyers how Myers may have shot himself, Vallandigham picked up the loaded gun from the table and shot himself in the abdomen.
It mortally wounded him, but his demonstration apparently worked, and McGehanwas acquitted.
5. FATAL “NUTRITION”
British scientist and nutrition fanatic Basil Brown consumed a gallon of carrot juice daily and 70 million units of Vitamin A over the course of ten days.
The combination of toxins produced the same effect on his liver as alcohol, and he died from cirrhosis. When he died, his skin was bright yellow. While some people may not know how dangerous a Vitamin A toxicity can be, it’s common knowledge that overconsuming anything can lead to disastrous results.
4. OBVIOUS BUT OPTIONAL BOUNDARIES
In March of 2018, a New Jersey man named Anthony G. headed to his father’s house to shovel snow from his driveway. Along the way, Anthony encountered a series of cones warning drivers of a downed wire ahead.
He didn’t want to “waste” time on a detour, so he proceeded around the cones. Anthony, who was employed as a New York City electrician and should have been well aware of the hazards of downed wires, paid the ultimate price for his foolishness. When police arrived at the scene, his vehicle was engulfed in flames and he was dead.
3. DAREDEVIL DUMMY
Wang Yongning was a famous Chinese daredevil known for his death-defying stunts atop skyscrapers.
Some of his famed acts included doing push-ups on the side of a skyscraper, walking along rooftops, and hanging from high-rise buildings. Eventually, Yongning’s risky behavior caught up to him, and he fell from a 62-storey skyscraper. His body was found the next day along with the camera that filmed him lose grip. The moral of Yongning’s tragedy is that there are much safer ways to gain stardom, success, and an adrenaline rush.
2. CRUSHED BY CAR
When you’re fixing a heavy object, don’t sit under it if it’s propped up precariously. One slight wrong move, and it’s game over.
Sarunas Masionis learned this lesson the hard way. In mid-2018, he attempted to repair his car while propping it up on a tire and a jack with a wooden block underneath it.
The car crushed Masionis. His partner noticed he was blue and a neighbor unsuccessfully tried lifting the car. Efforts to save the man’s life were in vain, and he died from asphyxia caused by the fatal chest compression.
1. WHEELCHAIR ELEVATOR TANTRUM
A wheelchair-bound 40-year-old South Korean man known only as Mr. Lee threw an explosive tantrum when he approached an elevator at a shopping center as the doors closed and couldn’t get in.
Instead of waiting for the next one, he repeatedly rammed into the closed elevator doors, and in an apparent underestimation of his own strength, thrust them open.
Mr. Lee fell into the elevator shaft and plummeted 19 feet to his death. Instead of cautioning the general public against the potential consequences of violent anger, shopping center officials promised to strengthen their elevator doors.
So, which of these stupid deaths do you think deserves the number one Darwin Award? Let me know in the comments down below! Thanks for reading.
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