- King Adolf Frederick of Sweden died of digestion problems in February 1771. This sounds straightforward enough until we discover how this came about. The king had gorged on a huge meal of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and champagne. Oh, and 14 servings of his favourite dessert, semla – a traditional Swedish sweet roll, served in a bowl of hot milk. He is now remembered in his homeland as “the king who ate himself to death.”
- Draco was an early Greek politician who enjoyed success as a lawmaker and orator and became known for the harshness of his laws. While giving a speech to a large crowd they engaged in the custom of honouring speakers by throwing their clothes at them. As the reams of hats and cloaks piled on top of Draco he was smothered to death. Some view this as a demonstration of “death by popularity” while others believe it wass actually all part of a plot to rid the land of the harsh lawmaker.
- Everyone knows Australia contains some of the most dangerous animals in the world, but this death doesn’t involve one of thousands of lethal creatures of the country, but instead a camel. John Horrocks was a pioneer and explorer of the land in the 19th century, and was keen to introduce camels to Australia. However, one day the camel he was riding shifted its weight, and the pack he was carrying struck Horrock’s gun, causing it to go off. Horrocks was hit and died of his injuries, but before he shifted his mortal coil he managed to give orders for the camel to be executed.
- The safety of the self-balancing electric scooters known as “Segways” has often been under dispute. The company behind them is especially keen to promote the device as a safe, environmentally friendly alternative to other means of transport. However, in 2010 Jimi Heselden, the owner of the company, lost control of a new Segway he was testing and managed to drive the vehicle straight off a cliff into a river. He did not survive the fall.
- Arrichion was a famous pankratiast, or wrestler, in Ancient Greece, but he won his final championship in a very unusual way. During the final of the games his opponent managed to get Arrichion caught in a deadly ladder hold. As the champion was being choked he looked to his trainer, who discouraged him from submitting, so instead the wrestler shifted his body into an even more painful position. He managed to twist his opponent’s foot painfully and forced him to submit. However, just as his foe submitted Arrichion died from asphyxiation, but this didn’t stop his corpse being declared victor.
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