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Lamport-Sheppard Entertainment Ltd


« Back to Curious and Unusual Deaths Main Page

Every episode presents three of the strangest deaths history has ever recorded – and the science that explains them!

A. "New York Sucks": Three New York City workers were assigned the task of clearing debris from a 50 cm drainpipe in a reservoir. One of the workers stood in the shallow water and steadied their boat, while another used a pole to unblock the drain. But clearing the blockage created a vortex that sucked the city worker 200 feet down the pipe, to his death.

B. "Steamed in New York": Thinking she was perfectly safe, a young woman took a mid-afternoon nap in her third-story apartment. Outside her window, workers struggled to fix a leak in the hundreds of kilometres of steam pipes buried beneath New York City. But a worker's oversight created a steam explosion that threw mud and boulders 18 stories into the air and through the young woman's bedroom window.

C. "The Electric Dog Walker": A graduate student walked her dogs down a New York Street. Slush and snow covered the lid of a utility box buried in the street, which faulty wiring had electrified. Her dogs stepped on it and as the graduate student rushed to help, she also received a constant shot of over 100 volts, which killed her.

A. "As the Crow Flies": On the set of The Crow, martial arts master Brandon Lee was filming his first starring role. But a real gun, loaded with blanks, also stored a deadly obstruction in its barrel. When 'action' was called, the gun was fired and the camera captured the real death of Brandon Lee.

B. "Ra, Ra, Rasputin": Rasputin, a self-proclaimed mystic with strong ties to the Russian royal family, proved surprisingly hard to kill. His enemies first fed him potassium cyanide, to little effect. He was then shot, but was later found crawling through a courtyard, where he was shot again and then bludgeoned to death.

C. "The Leaping Dancer": Isadora Duncan, known as the queen of modern dance, was riding in a sports car. She wore a long silk scarf, which was her trademark. Unfortunately, her choice of fashion would prove fatal when the scarf got caught in the open spokes of the car's wheels and strangled her.

A. "Batter Up, Batter Down": Ray Chapman played shortstop for the Cleveland Naps. In a 1920 game, he faced pitcher Carl Mays, whose unique submarine delivery combined with a scuff-ball, created a pitch whose path was impossible to predict. Chapman didn't even duck as the ball struck him on the head, the impact causing his death.

B. "Tide Up, Pinned Down": An angler spent the day fishing without a single bite. He decided to catch a quick nap underneath his truck before fishing into the night. But his truck was parked on the beach and the full moon caused higher than average tides. His truck sank in the sand, trapping him underneath it, preventing him from escaping the rising water.

C. "Game, Set, Death!": Tennis superstar Vitas Gerulaitis had spent the day giving tips to corporate donors. He'd decided to take a nap in the pool house where he was staying. But when an improperly vented pool heater filled his bedroom with 5 times more carbon monoxide then the lethal limit, the tennis star's nap turned into the sleep of the dead.

A. "Overheated": A retired teacher was such a do-it-yourself kind of guy that he made his own sauna. It worked well, heating the inside to over 80 C, but when the door handle broke off, both he and his wife where trapped. The elevated temperatures also elevated his heart rate, causing him to experience terminal cardiac arrest.

B. "Electric Justice": In the early 1900s, Charles Justice was jailed for attempted murder in the Ohio Penitentiary. As he served his sentence he also served as custodian for the death chamber, where he made an innovation to their electric chair, replacing the leather straps with metal clasps. Eleven years later, Justice was convicted of murder and died in that very same chair.

C. "Microwaved!": An amateur repairman tried to fix his own microwave. Although he took the precaution of unplugging it first, he was not aware that the machine's capacitor continued to hold a charge. When his metal screwdriver touched the capacitor, approximately 2000 volts went through him and stopped his heart.

A. "Garden of Death": When neighborhood dogs threatened a gardener's plants, he decided to build an electric fence. Unfortunately, he forgot to include an energizer, a unit which makes flow of electricity intermittent. So when the gardener accidentally grabbed hold of his fence, the constant current made his muscles seize and the constant voltage killed him.

B. "Homeowner With A Shotgun": A retired engineer sought to keep his house safe by creating 19 booby traps on all three stories of his house, all of which were connected to shotguns. Unfortunately, 19 proved too many to keep track of. He literally triggered his own death by tripping one hidden in his crockery dish.

C. "Unlocking Death": A saleswoman on the road returns to her hotel after a long day. Wet from rain, she slid her passkey through the door's electronic entry system and collapsed to the floor. A faulty wire leading to an air conditioner had made contact with the metal door, electrifying it and unlocking her death.

A. "In Hot Water": A high school student attended an alcohol-free after-prom party where students hit the hot tub, not the bottle. When the jets were turned on, she was sucked to the bottom, where an improperly installed grate created so much suction that her friends couldn't free her before she drowned.

B. "Massive Decompression": Underwater welders inside a diving bell were being winched to the surface. But a simple mistake as the diving bell was being connected to a decompression chamber led to explosive decompression, killing everyone inside.

C. "Sneeze of Death!": A senior citizen, under medical supervision in his nursing home, sneezed so violently that he tore the membrane surrounding his brain. While this isn't usually a life-threatening occurrence, his heart medication prevented his blood from clotting and he died from internal bleeding.

A. "Killer Bubble Gum": A student chewed gum to increase his concentration. To add to his pleasure he kept a bag of citric acid on his desk. Unfortunately, his desk also held a bag of potassium chlorate used in fireworks. When he mistakenly dunked his gum in the wrong bag, his next chew was his last.

B. "Return of the Pox": A medical photographer developed photos in her lab. Just one floor below, researchers were experimenting with the deadly smallpox virus. Unknowingly, the virus escapes into the building's air vents and the photographer developed the perfect picture of death – as well as the last death from smallpox in the world.

C. "Fishing Trawler Electrocution": A greenhorn fisherman waiting out a storm at sea is playing video games in the ship's quarters. A freak rogue wave crashed through the window and down to his cabin below, a faulty wire sends a shock of 240 volts through him - it was game over.

A. "Carrot Juice Overload": A health enthusiast believed the path to a healthy lifestyle was paved with Vitamin A. So much so, that he drank 5 litres of carrot juice a day and took 21 times the recommended daily dose of Vitamin A tablets. The resulting overdose overloaded his body and he died of acute liver damage.

B. "Trapped!": A man cleaning out his closet took an awkward tumble, which caused an upright wardrobe to fall, trapping him inside. Hoping to gain freedom, he tore a pipe from the wall, which caused water to gush. Seven days later he was found dead from a severe bronchial infection.

C. "Tanned Alive!": A woman suffering from a skin rash went to her doctor, who prescribed the drug Psoralen and UV radiation. The pills came from the pharmacist and the UV light from a tanning booth. But a pre-existing ultra-sensitivity to this light caused third degree burns from a single tanning session and she died in hospital.

A. "Killer Kite": A sportsman built a kite with a surface area of 14,000 sq. feet, the size of a football field. With a single gust of wind, he entered the Guinness Book of World Records. But one mistake left him entangled in one of the bridal lines and he's pulled not to fame and fortune, but a curious and unusual death.

B. "Copperhead Kills!": Campers planned the perfect trip. They entered the woods carrying not only their equipment, but also a barrel of beer. Unfortunately, a Copperhead snake decided that the barrel would make a good burrow and the results were not only intoxicating, but deadly.

C. "Hole in One": A golfer, having a great game, blew it all by hitting a ball off the course. Taking his rage out on his clubs, he smashed his driver against a bench. But the shaft shattered and pierced his heart, leading to a sub-par day.

A. "Buried Alive!": When a student went for a long-pass during a day at the beach, he fell into a 2-metre deep hole that had been previously dug and abandoned. Friends rushed to his aid, but the vibrations of their steps only caused the further collapse of the sand hole. Buried beneath the sand, he suffocated.

B. "Caved In!": A caver is squeezed into a tiny finger deep inside an underground cave. A protruding rock acted like fish hook, allowing him to go in but not out and he was stuck, hanging upside down. A rescue team mounted a 28-hour effort, but was unable to free him before he succumbed to internal injuries.

C. "Moscow, We Have a Problem...": A Soviet cosmonaut is confined in a pressure chamber. Near the end of a ten-day training exercise, he carelessly causes a fire. But because the room is saturated with oxygen, help is unable to reach him before his burns become lethal.

A. "Caught in a Line!": Closing time at a downtown car wash and an employee's last task was to power-wash the interior. But he completed this task while the scrubbers are still traveling at 100 RPMs. When the hose of his power-washer got caught in the still spinning scrubbers, he was pulled into the machinery, where blunt force trauma resulted in death.

B. "The Smell of Death": A wild party left a theatre director with oil paint stains on her carpet. Professional cleaners removed the paint using the chemical tetrachloride. Although the carpet felt dry, microscopic amounts of the chemical were trapped in the fibers. She fell asleep as the chemical off-gassed, filling the room with toxic fumes which killed her.

C. "Love Stinks": Newly-weds spent their honeymoon at a motel in Rotorua, New Zealand, attracted to the region's mud pools and hot springs. Unfortunately, the combination of naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide gas in the groundwater and an improperly installed heat-exchanger filled their room with poison gas and death did them part.

A. "Death, Calling...": A military cadet, visiting his grandmother, answered the phone. At the same moment, a thunderstorm passed overhead and lightning struck a metal plumbing vent. Every electrical line in the house was charged, including the phone line and it wasn't the line that went dead, but the cadet.

B. "The Maltese Butterfly": A farmer was harvesting his potatoes and pulled an odd-looking, iron canister from the dirt. Being a frugal man, he turned it into a sledgehammer. But he didn't realize that the device was actually a German butterfly bomb and it exploded the first time he used it.

C. "Exploding Laptop": A man left his laptop on a couch. But the lithium ion batteries malfunction and the couch is set on fire. The flames spread quickly and he is unable to escape.

A. "Pressure Cooked": A homemaker decided to preserve some beets and to save time she boiled them in a pressure cooker. Unfortunately, the model she used was old and worn. When the pressure valve stuck, steam built up inside the stovetop unit and the resulting explosion killed her.

B. "Wrestling Demons": An amateur wrestler has a chance to make his university's NCAA wrestling team when a spot opens up in a lower weight class. The only problem – he has to drop 27 pounds in three days. Through a regimen that includes working out in a impermeable suit inside a sauna, he drops the pounds but loses his life to massive dehydration in the process.

C. "Collapse": A couple were celebrating their wedding anniversary in an upscale restaurant. They chose to sit in the atrium, unaware that 18 stories above them, a 320 KG decorative concrete slab on the outside of the building was loose. Bad timing and faulty installation combined when the slab fell and crashed through the glass ceiling, injuring the husband and killing his wife.