456 BC: According to legend, Aeschylus, a Greek playwright, was killed when an eagle dropped a live tortoise on him, mistaking his bald head for a stone. The tortoise survived.
207 BC: Chrysippus, a Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter after watching his drunk donkey attempt to eat figs.
892: Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney strapped the head of a defeated foe to his leg, the tooth of which grazed against him as he rode his horse, causing the infection which killed him.
1327: Edward II of England, after being deposed and imprisoned by his Queen consort Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, was rumored to have been murdered by having a red-hot iron inserted into his anus.
1478: George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, reportedly was allowed to choose the method of his execution. He chose to be drowned in a barrel of Malmsey wine.
1649: During the English Civil War of 1642-1651, Sir Arthur Aston, Royalist commander of the garrison during the Siege of Drogheda, was reportedly beaten to death with his own wooden leg, which the Parliamentarian soldiers thought concealed golden coins.
1794: John Kendrick, an American sea captain and explorer, was killed in the Hawaiian Islands when a British ship fired a salute to Kendrick’s vessel. The cannon had mistakenly been loaded with a grapeshot.
1911: Jack Daniel, founder of the Tennessee whiskey distillery, died of blood poisoning six years after injuring a toe when he kicked his safe in anger at being unable to remember the combination.
1916: Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic, was reportedly poisoned while dining with a political enemy, then shot in the head, then shot three more times in the back, and then bludgeoned for good measure. Amazingly still alive, he was then bound and thrown into a frozen river. Breaking free of his bonds, his eventual cause of death was drowning. The credibility of this story has since been called into question though, but Rasputin remains an international man of mystery, with the Russian Museum of Erotica also claiming to be in possession of his severed 13-inch penis, although that claim too is disputed.
1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of accidental strangulation and a broken neck when one of the long scarves she was famous for wearing caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.
1974: Christine Chubbuck, an American television news reporter, committed suicide during a live broadcast on 15 July. At 9.38am, 8 minutes into her talk show, on WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida, she drew out a revolver and shot herself in the head.
1979: Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, was the first known man to be killed by a robot.
1981: Boris Sagal, a film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was decapitated.
1983: Richard Wertheim, a linesman at the boys’ singles finals in the US open, was struck by a ball hit by a young Stefan Edberg. He toppled backwards off his chair fracturing his skull as he hit the ground.
2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes from Germany was stabbed repeatedly and then partly eaten by Armin Meiwes. Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.
2002: Brittanie Cecil, an American 13-year-old hockey fan, died two days after being struck in the head by a hockey puck at a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena.
2008: Marciana Silva, 67, died after her dead husband’s coffin slammed into the back of her neck during a traffic accident en route to his funeral in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
2005: South Korean Lee Seung Seop died after a 50 hour video game bender. Exhaustion, dehydration, and heart failure caused Lee to collapse, and he died shortly thereafter at age 28.
2007: Surinder Singh Bajwa, the Deputy Mayor of Delhi, India, died after falling from his building’s terrace while trying to fight off attacking Rhesus Macaque monkeys.
2009: Vladimir Likhonos, a Ukrainian student, died after accidentally dipping a piece of homemade chewing gum into explosives he was using on another project. He mistook the jar of explosive for citric acid, which was also on his desk. The gum exploded, blowing off his jaw and most of the lower part of his face.
2010: Mike Edwards, 62, a musician and a founding member of rock group Electric Light Orchestra, was killed when a 600 kg bale of hay rolled down a hill and landed on his passing van in Devon, England.
2010: Robert Boardman, 63, was gored to death by a mountain goat while he was eating lunch at Olympic National Park in the US state of Washington.
2011: John Van Hoy Jr, drowned when he was caught and held underwater by the suction nozzle of a Jacuzzi at the Bahamian resort where he was staying.