Top 10 Most Tragic Deaths in History

‘’Life is pleasant, death is peaceful, it’s the transition that’s troublesome’’– Isaac Asimov

Since the dawn of time, death has been extensively documented. The thought of dying elicits fear and dread among the mighty and the lowly. Death, an inevitable extinction, shared by the rich and the poor is the ultimate price of mortality. Though there are thousands of laboratories across the world equipped with mind blowing technology and staffed with the most brilliant minds of the 21th century, they continue to lag behind in the quest to crack the elusive code of immortality as the grim reaper continues to ravage across the continents leaving graves in her wake.

Though a number are lucky to die in bed surrounded by family members or in bed after the best sex of your life, some have been documented dying minutes before their wedding or hours prior to winning life-changing jackpots.

In this list, we won’t feature the conspiracy and death of Princess Diana or the unsolved Black Dahlia case; instead, we’ll review ten odd deaths that stood out in history.

[The circumstances leading to these death are very slim and far between].

10. Robert And The Unforgiving Fish

Fisherman dies after swallowing live fish used to hook bait

Hundreds of people are killed annually by fish. Either through food poisoning, impalement or fish induced drowning not to mention shark attacks. It’s therefore no surprise that fish are among harmless but dangerous creatures given the right circumstance. That small golden brown fish you enjoy seeing in the aquarium can transform into a killer machine and take you down in minutes in an ironical paradox of the watcher being watched.

In 2016, Robert, a veteran fisherman alongside his colleagues hopped on a boat and set the sail for the lake as they had done countless times before. A fisherman by day and trader by night, he was renowned for his mastery of fishing spots and boatload of fish at the end of his fishing expeditions propelled him into a legendary figure and godfather for many. However, the hard earned repute tumbled down one day after he crossed path with a small stray fish that not only murdered him but also made his death a subject of speculation and ridicule.

After identifying a nice spot to fish, he and the colleagues proceeded to cast the nets and as usual, the catch streamed in. Fishermen know fish takes couple of minutes flip-flopping on the boat before dying off and keeping one’s mouth shut is mandatory but the problem was, Robert couldn’t keep his lips together. As the fish wiggled and leapt up and down the boat, he continued talking, jeering and daring his counterparts before the unexpected happened. A fish leapt from the boat and right into his mouth before swimming down his throat. His horrified friends looked on perplexed as he gasped for breath before being taken to the hospital where he succumbed moments later. The village elder was quoted saying ‘’…I’ve never come across such an incident… [Sic]…it’s unthinkable that a live fish can jump into someone’s mouth…

9. Emily Wilding Davidson

Emily Wilding Davidson Death
Emily Davison, left, and jockey Herbert Jones fall to the ground after her collision with the King’s horse, Anmer. Photograph:

In early 20th century, Davidson slowly rose to fame for her violent approaches championing women’s suffrage in Britain. It’s therefore unsurprising she spent time behind bars on several occasions and at one time, she threw herself ten stairs down to divert police attention from her fellow suffragettes, a fall that caused lifelong health complications, but she wasn’t done yet. While on detention, she orchestrated several hunger strikes that compelled the police to force feed them.

On June 4th 1913, she strolled into Epsom Derby, a horse racing event and stood by the rails. As the horses raced by, she ducked under the railings and walked right onto the track in front of King George’s V horse and raised her hands in an apparent effort to grab the restraints. She was no match for the charged, fast-moving pony. The speeding beast hit and threw her violently into the air and lost consciousness. Both the jockey and the behemoth crashed to the ground in a heap of fine mess in front of horrified spectators. Undeterred by such heroic act of stupidity, the horse quickly picked himself up and bolted to the finish line. The jockey escaped with minor injuries but Davidson wasn’t lucky, she succumbed four days later.

8. The Unforgiving Donkeys And Sandar

Killer Donkeys Maul Pensioner To Death

Donkeys are generally hardworking and peaceful animals. We all know how dedicated these ‘’beasts of burden’’ are and how stubborn they get when they down the tools. In fact, no whipping would make a tired donkey move. History is rife with tales of men who whipped their prized donkeys to death after they casually refused to work. However, some donkeys prefer to crack the air and engage their masters in counter productive argument on battle of the wits [imagine arguing with your donkey as you ride her down the road]. When not arguing to pass a point, donkey seldom take laws into their hands and kill to send message home as Sandars found out.

Sandar, a Hungarian pensioner decided to pay a longtime pal a short visit on his farm. However, he chose a really bad day when the donkeys were having a rather ‘’rough family session’’. As soon as he entered the farm, two donkeys immediately followed him in, braying, kicking in the air and advancing threateningly. Sensing danger, he sped off on his mobility scooter but he wasn’t fast enough to outpace the thundering beasts. They quickly caught up with him and knocked the scooter down.

They descended on him with kicks and bit him to pulp as he called for help that never came. By the time he was discovered, his body was a mass of flesh that it was initially thought he had been ravaged by a pack of wolves. However, autopsy results showed he’d been attacked and mauled by donkeys. Police spokesman later issued a statement ‘’we can’t allow animals to go around killing people…’’ They were euthanized thereafter.

7. Terry Vance Garner

Oregon farmer Terry Vance Garner

Unlike Sandar who was mauled by donkeys, Terry was not only killed but also eaten up by his own pigs in an ugly twist of fate. As a veteran Vietnam War soldier, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and turned to farming as an obstruction from the horrors of the grim battle that saw American forces butchered with ruthless efficiency by the Viet army. Following the defeat, Americans began gradual withdrawal from the Vietnam and Terry was among the lucky soldiers who escaped with their life and quickly resigned from the army.

However, as fate had it, death came knocking one Wednesday morning when he went to feed his hogs but didn’t return home that evening. His concerned wife walked around the farm but he was nowhere to be found. She later opted to check him out in the pig shed and made a horrifying discovery. Small pieces of human bones and his dentures were scattered on the floor found but all his flesh had been consumed. The police theorized he may have either suffered heart attack and fallen into the shed or lost his grip and became a snack.

6. Queen Sunandha’s Freak Boat Accident

Queen Sunandha’s Freak Boat Accident

Siam, now Thailand has one of the strictest laws regarding the monarchy in which the royals are highly protected and revered as gods. Speaking ill of the royalty has seen people dragged to courtrooms before being hurtled to the prisons for lengthy sentences. Clicking a monarch, pointing his way or even staring at him would get one killed by hail of arrows from the guards. Thanks to the modern laws and convections, you can lock eyes with a reigning monarch and live to tell.

Touching a monarch was a capital offense and when a deadly scenario presented itself, everyone bolted. On May 1880, Queen Sunandha and her young daughter boarded a boat headed for Bang Pa-In Royal Palace [Summer Palace] but never made it there. Along the way, the boat capsized and tossed them into the water in front of many terrified witnesses along the bank but none risked his life to save the two beleaguered royals. Not even the royal guards in the second boat gave it a shot. They all watched ‘’faithfully’’ over the drowning royals as they kicked and pleaded for help before dying. What do you think?

5. Tashkent Wolves Massacre

Wolves Kill Bridal Party

In 1911, a group of 120 men, women and children gathered in the quite village of Obstipoff for a wedding party. Soon after the engagement ceremony, they embarked on a 20 mile (32-kilometer) horse ride to a nearby town of Tashkent were the banquet would be held. However, as the happy-go-lucky party rode the sledges across the barren icy deserts in St. Petersburg, the unimaginable happened. They spotted a black cloud descending from a hill and realized by were hundreds of starving wolves. Immediately, the horses spooked and began racing into town with the wolves in pursuit.

Outrunning hundreds of wolves on jam-packed sledges isn’t a walk in the pack and sure enough, they caught up with the slowest horses and began tearing their victims to pieces as more and more wolves joined in the chase. The horrified men, figured out it were a better idea to slow the advancing pack of wolves by occasionally throwing off children and women but the wolves wouldn’t give up. Within an hour, 29 of the 30 sledges had been overrun and occupants reduced to bones. Only the bridal sledge seemed to have emerged unscathed from the death race until other wolves showed up and quickly overtook them.

Sensing danger, the bridal entourage deliberated the bride should be sacrificed and immediately knocked her off the sledge into the jaws of the cannibals. Seeing the bride devoured, the bridegroom leapt off the sledge to ‘’help’’ her better half but he too was overpowered by the wolves. With determined horses and a lighter sledge, the horses quickly regained composure and sped off. Though they were attacked on the last leg of the trip, they kept the wolves at bay until they reached safety.

Of the 120 people on the wedding, only two made it out alive.

4. They Came For The Horses

Wolf attacks lead to state of emergency in Russia's Siberia region

Just to showcase how serious wolves’ attacks are, I thought it fit to include this entry. Wolves often hunt in groups of six to seven and cover over 20-kilometers daily hunting for prey. However, they have been documented reaching up to thirty animals in a single pack to increase hunting success during low hunting seasons. In the cold and unforgiving icy wilderness of Russia, food is scares and that’s where things go bananas.

After botched hunting expeditions, their numbers swell to unbelievable proportions and invade isolated settlements by surprise killing and devouring anything and everything on their path. Any livestock, bird or even horses are consumed as others creep in on unsuspecting souls and pounce without warning leaving a very small window of escape if any. Chances are, you will be ripped to pieces within seconds before calling out for help or warning your younger siblings to take cover. However, if you’re ‘’lucky’’ to spot them and sprint for cover, i really have some bad news for you. They’ll have already surrounded you from all corners undetected and you’ll run straight into an ambush.

These attacks once got so serious to an extent a state of emergency was declared in a small Russian town of Verkhoyansk and for a good reason. The town was besieged with a pack of ‘’super wolves’’ totaling to 400. Immediately, they broke into barns and feasted on horses and other livestock they found. Fearing for the worst, the region representative declared ‘’three months battle against wolves’’. Gun enthusiasts quickly opened their armories and showed up on the streets ready to ‘’enforce’’ the curfew to the letter. When the last shot rang out, over 300 horses had been killed by the wolves and in turn, close to 700 wolves were shot dead.

3. The Fatal Cremation Receipt

10 Most Tragic Deaths In History

While most of us will be buried whole, huge percentage of India’s population risk cremation owing to acute land shortage for cemeteries. India boasts a huge population spanning over 1.3 billion souls over a 2.9 million Km2 land mass and this presents a real headache if every dead soul was to be buried. With so many dead bodies and crematoriums working round the clock, cremators have huge work load of receiving corpses, preparation of bodies for cremation, issuing receipts as well as grinding the ashes into powder and labeling the urns to top up with the constant inquiries of cremation service and convincing clients you are the top of the game all while checking out for deadline issued by grieving dissatisfied relatives, mistakes do happen especially with many Singh and Patel around, and, Frail Than Singh was one such victim.

Frail, 70 years old, collapsed and died after receiving his cremation receipt. The farmer, as it was reported, has been issued with an envelope from a nearby crematorium. The curious elderly hurriedly tore open the package and discovered a small receipt acknowledging his cremation. While most of us would have laughed our heads off, Singh was unable to comprehend he had been cremated a week ago; the old man suffered a massive heart and died minutes later. The body was then delivered to the same crematorium using the same receipt. Were it was a case of a wrong address or a prank, we don’t know.

2. The Killer Elephant Of Morocco

The Killer Elephant Of Morocco

In our previous list, we painstakingly pieced together the horrors animal endured with sycophant masters at the helm. On the same list, we aired the predicament of an elephant called Raju and how he wept when he realized his bondage was over. Today, we feature an erratic jumbo that got the world taking and conservationist worried.

When under attack or defending the young, elephants charge threateningly and stand their ground. Those foolish enough to pick up a fight or get close to moody elephant are often trampled to death and incase you change your mind and bolt for cover, they’ll still catch up to and show you who is the boss. Angry elephants have been documented flipping cars like wheelbarrows and goring through the metal chassis. Woe to any soul aboard.

Though tales of jumbos killing people in zoos is well documented, some incidences are truly baffling. In 2016, an unnamed seven years old girl walked into the Zoo along her parents anticipating a lovely day ahead. However, what was supposed to be a joyous picnic quickly turned tragic when an angry elephant picked up a stone and slammed it right on her face. The blow, threw her to the ground and despite being rushed to the hospital, she died a few hours later. The park officials later issued a statement on how ‘’strange and unusual’’ the accident was.

1. Judy Kay Zagorski (most tragic Death in history)

Blunt force trauma killed woman struck by ray

On March 2008, Judy thought it was a wise idea going on a boat ride in the expansive Atlantic Ocean near Marathon, Florida. As the boat cruised the blue, glassy calm sea and her father at the controls, a 75lb [34kg] spotted eagle suddenly leapt up from the sea apparently agitated by the boat’s engine but miscalculated the distance and collided with her.

The bird died on impact and Judy was thrown down the boat at a great force and stuck her head violently against the deck. Her shocked father immediately raced the boat back ashore and called in the Coast guard who took her to hospital. However, her soft neck was no match for the bird’s razor sharp barbs which sank deep into her soft tissues leaving a deadly gash on her neck. She died later that same day.

Author; Moses Onyango is a Medical student from Kenya. He recently visited London, Australia and China looking for his lost shoe. ‘’Hey, I misplaced my right shoe on a flight from Switzerland after dosing off. I’ll be touching down in Russia following a potential lead. I hope to find it there…”