10 Weirdest Deaths In History

Not everyone gets to go out on a high note, and these ten most assuredly did not.

Hans Staininger
Wikimedia Commons

Do you want to start your day off on a high note? Yes? Then think about this: you're going to die. We all are. Maybe tomorrow, maybe 40 years from now. We rarely know when, and we rarely know how, but we all know that we will. That is the single universal truth from which no one can escape.

So, now that you've pepped yourself up for the day, consider this: your death probably won't be as weird, off the wall, or - let's face it - silly as some other people. The odds of some whacky, unbelievable death are low. Let's say one in a billion, just for simplicity's sake. According to some estimates, the number of deaths in human history is currently somewhere around 100.8 billion. So if the odds of a weird death are on in a billion, we've still got a hundred or so that would make the history books.

Did somebody die after falling on a turnip? You bet. Did a guy die after holding in his pee for too long? Oh, most definitely. You ever hear about someone who was killed by a severed head? Well you're about to.

This list WON'T be including anything from the 20th or 21st centuries. They're still too fresh, and depending on how recent they are, the deceased may still have living relatives. This will strictly be antiquity to the turn of the 20th century.

10. Sir William Payne-Gallwey

Hans Staininger
Wikimedia Commons

Yes, those are turnips. Yes, they're relevant. Just read on.

If you know there's death at the end of a story, and that story starts with firearms, you'd be forgiven for thinking that firearms were the direct cause of the aforementioned death. Sometimes, though, the firearm is just a background character, playing second fiddle to the cruel, callous, seemingly indiscriminate machinations of the universe. Such was the case of Sir William Payne-Gallwey, 2nd Baronet. Payne-Gallwey was a Conservative Party MP who sat in the House of Commons from 1851 until 1880, when he stood down.

The very next year, Payne-Gallwey found himself in the parish of Bagby, where he was shooting recreationally. While trouncing through a turnip field, he somehow tripped and fell. He could've tripped over a turnip, or he could've tripped over being in his 70s. The records aren't exactly clear. Whatever the case may have been, he apparently landed on a turnip, an impact that resulted in significant internal injuries. He died not long after.

Now, would he have died of these injuries were he not a 70-something-year-old man in the 1800s? Probably not. Old people are brittle, after all. Still, death by turnip isn't the way anyone wants to go.

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Dustin is your friendly neighborhood history M.A., nerd culture enthusiast, and professional wise-ass. Some of his favorite pastimes include writing, philosophizing, and antagonizing stupid people.