Have you ever heard of the Greek sport of Pankration? It’s basically the ancient version of mma. There weren’t any rules other than beat up your opponent. In 564 BC Arrhichion of Phigalia was competing in the Olympic Pankration tournament. In fact he was in the final but in the final he wasn’t doing so well because his opponent had him in a stranglehold. Zach you’re experience in the martial arts are you not? What would you do if someone had you in a stranglehold? That’s right you would start kicking them. So that’s what achie did. Archie kicked and kicked his opponent and kicked him so hard that his opponent had to show the sign of defeat to the referees but as he made this sign he was in such pain and exerting so much effort that he also broke archie’s neck. So archie died but he was also proclaimed the winner posthumously.
In 1919 there was an event known as The Great Molasses Flood. The Boston’s North End neighborhood a large molasses storage tank burst which sent a wave of molasses rushing through the streets of Boston at a blazing 35 mph killing 21 people and injuring 150 more in the process. If you ask someone from the North End they’ll tell you that on hot summer days you can still smell the molasses.
Zach as one of your oldest friends I know exactly how you want to go in your old age. I have your signed and sealed will right here in front of me and I have some bad news. You’ve already been beaten to the punch. You were beaten by Charles II of Navarre (or Charles the Bad) who was suffering from illness in his old age in 1387. As a wealthy French lord he of course had the greatest of medical council and was ordered by his physician to be tightly sewn into a linen sheet soaked in distilled spirits. Probably to get schwasted through osmosis. Well I don’t know if his physician was aware but distilled alcohol is very flammable and in 1387 there was no electric lighting. So of course this very flammable sheet caught on fire and Charles died of his injuries. It’s ok though because many people considered this to be God’s judgment upon their king.
*bum bum* (Insert SVU theme here) We got ourselves a legal death here. No not an assisted suicide but a death in the courtroom. Clement Vallandigham was an Ohio lawyer and politician in 1871. Ol’ Clem took on a murder case probably from a single mother or a streetwise kid who was just a victim of circumstances. Clem was getting ready for the knockout punch, the old Mattlock moment. He was demonstrating to the courtroom who the victim might have actually shot himself while in drawing a gone and standing up at the same time. Unfortunately he got a little too carried away with his Perry Mason moment because he accidentally shot himself in the courtroom. The defendant was found innocent but Clemmy Clem Clem died of his wounds.
Let’s go back to ancient Greece for a quick one. Empedocies was a Greek philosopher whose work has been credited as one of the originators of the theory of the 4 elements. So he basically created The Last Airbender. Well Empedocies wasn’t a firebender because to prove he was a god he decided to leap in Mount Etna which was an active volcano.
Let’s fast forward to 1131 to the streets of Gay Paris. Can you smell the fresh bread or perhaps you can even taste the fine French wine. Oh look here comes Crown Prince Philip! What a sight to behold! Oh. Oh no. His horse just tripped over a black pig that was running out of a dung heap and he died.
We’re spending too much time in the distant past. Let’s do something a little more recent. Denver Lee St. Clair died of asphyxiation after receiving an atomic wedgie. He had been knocked out by his stepson during a fight and had his torn underwear pulled over his head and stretched around his neck. His stepson pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 years in jail.
Just last year (and this one is tragic) a seven year old girl died an elephant struck her with a stone thrown from its enclosure at a zoo in Morocco.
This is getting a little too real. We need to jump back in time and remove ourselves from the humanity of these stories. Let’s go back to 1993 hopefully that will be far enough. In 1993 48 year old Garry Hoy fell to his death after throwing himself against a window on the 24th floor of a building in an attempt to prove to a group of visitors that the glass was unbreakable. The glass did not break but instead popped out of the window frame and Hoy fell to his death.
Zach you’re a tennis fan are you not? Well so was Dick Wertheim. Ol’ Dickie was an tennis linesman and in 1983 he was struck by a wicked serve from Stefan Edberg that hit him in the groin. Dick dick dick dick dick had been sitting in a chain at the center line when the blow knocked him backwards. He fell out of the chair and onto the hard court surface, striking his head.
Maybe we should go back a bit further. In 1771 Adolf Frederick the king of Sweden died of digestion problems after he consumed a meal of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring, and chamagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favorite desert in a bowl of hot milk.
In 2011 Joes Luis Ochoa died after being stabbed in the leg at an illegal cockfight in California. He was stabbed by one of the birds that had a knife-like spur strapped to its leg.
Finally in 2017 a podcaster producer known only as silent Jeff died under mysterious circumstances. He was working on the podcast MysteriYES and was known for his silence. He was invited to end the show in the very famous and well known MysteriYES fashion. Silent Jeff was then struck by a falling coconut despite being indoors and in the state of Kansas which has no indigenous coconut producing trees.