Thursday, July 29, 2010


Michigan’s coastline is the longest of the lower 48 states of the US, though it does not border any ocean

A Canadian study in May 2010 found that 97% of people who admitted buying "anti-aging" products did not think they would work but nevertheless confessed their need to hope to defy the aging process

Albert Einstein never learned how to drive a car

Golf courses in America take up as much land space as Rhode Island and Delaware combined

Despite what you may have heard about Bastille Day, the storming of the Bastille wasn’t nearly as heroic as it sounds. For one thing, very few guards were stationed around the place, and there were only seven inmates inside

Fifty years ago in the United States, the average man first became married at 23, and the woman at 20. Today, those ages have increased to 27 and 25, respectively

King County, Washington, USA managed to keep its name while changing its namesake. Originally named for William King, it was “renamed” in 1986 for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Two molecules are called Sonic Hedgehog and Robotnikinin, named after the popular Sega Games characters

President Lincoln’s oldest son was connected to three presidential assassinations. He was invited to Ford’s Theater, but did not go. He rushed to his father’s deathbed in 1865, and was on the scene of Garfield in 1881, and McKinley in 1901

A 17th century children’s game called “dibstones” was similar to what we call “jacks” today, only back then sheep’s knuckles were used instead of little metal or plastic jibs to collect between bounces of the ball

The first cigarettes were rolled by Egyptian soldiers in the 1800s - the men were trying to salvage some discarded cigars

In the 1920’s and early 1930’s, French surgeon Serge Voronoff perfected the technique of transplanting testicle tissue from various primates into men, supposedly to increase longevity and sex drive. Discredited by the 1940’s, the once-fashionable procedure had a cocktail named after it: the ‘Monkey Gland’ (gin, orange juice, grenadine and absinthe)

Director John Landis includes the phrase “See you next Wednesday” in most of his films. It was the title of a script he wrote as a teen

Artificial color additives are prohibited by law, so many farmers add marigold petals to their chicken feed as a natural color enhancer to give their egg yolks that sunny, yellow hue

The second video to air on MTV It was Pat Benetar’s “You Better Run” - The first was The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" - MTV launched at Midnight on 1 August 1981 in the US

Vodka was used as an ingredient in early European formulations of gunpowder

The hippopotamus is considered to be the most dangerous animal in Africa. Hippos kill more humans annually than lions, crocodiles or snakes combined

Psychologists generally discount that children at age 6 can form a specific intention to "sexually" molest anyone (as opposed to roughing someone up or being obnoxious), but the principal of Downey Elementary School in Brockton, Mass., nonetheless suspended a first-grade boy in 2006 for "sexual harassment." The boy admitted putting two fingers inside a girl's waistband, but his parents sued--livid that a "sexual" motive had been assumed. In February 2010, Brockton's daily Enterprise reported that the school would pay the boy a $160,000 settlement for the principal's overzealousness)

The Edinburgh (Scotland) Arts Festival announced in June that it would display, beginning in August, an exhibit of images taken by the blind photographer Rosita McKenzie, 56

Monday, July 26, 2010


When choosing the location for the Olympic games, the International Olympic Committee chooses a city rather than a country

85% of working actors in Hollywood and Los Angeles earn less than $8,000 a year from acting jobs

Adolf Hitler was Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938

Southern sea otters have flaps of skin under their forelegs that act as pockets - When diving, they use these pouches to store rocks and prey

The Hudson’s Bay Company (now known as “The Bay” or “HBC”) is the oldest commercial corporation in North America, having been incorporated on May 2, 1670 by British royal charter by King Charles II

The US imports most of its oil from Canada, followed by Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Iraq

The human body is between 59% and 78% water, depending on its height and weight

World record for "Greatest Distance Thrown in a Car Accident":  Matthew McKnight, thrown 118 feet by an automobile that struck him while he was trying to assist accident victims along an interstate - he spent two weeks in the hospital and 80 days in a rehabilitation center before making a full recovery (The crash occurred in 2001, but was not included in the Guinness Book of World Records until 2008)

A space shuttle enters orbit upside-down relative to earth

  • San Marino (301 AD)
  • France (486 AD)
  • Bulgaria (632 AD)
  • Denmark (950 AD)
  • Portugal (1143 AD)
  • Andorra (1278 AD)
  • Switzerland (1291 AD)
The average bolt of lightning could power a 100 watt bulb for more than 3 months, and the air near the lightning strike is five times hotter than the surface of the sun

Consumption of bottled water increases about 12% each year globally - the consumption rate has increased steadily over the past three decades making it the most dynamic sector of the food and beverage industry with a market worth over $30 billion (USD) annually - Western Europeans are the major consumers (46% of world market) followed by North Americans (35% of world market)

Largest country  by area in North America:  Canada  (Largest city by population in North America:  Mexico City)

World tourist destination:  France (11% of all tourist travelers head to France)  -  Increase in international travel averaged a rate of 6.5% each year of the 20th century, ranging from 25 million international arrivals in 1950 to 806 million arrivals in 2005

The youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence was Edward Rutledge, 26, of South Carolina, while the oldest was Benjamin Franklin who was 70 - Rutledge had not only opposed Jefferson's condemnation of slavery in the original document but also opposed independence from England, deciding to sign the Declaration for the sake of unanimity

According to Crayola, the world's largest manufacturer of crayons, black crayons are the first to be used up out of any box

The pure distillation of vodka first appeared in Russia around 1460

100 billion solar neutrinos pass through every square inch of your body every second

The birth of the DJ occurred in 1953, when 24-year-old Regine Zylberberg, manager of Paris’ famous Whisky a Go-Go, undertook an experiment to replace the club’s jukebox with two turntables and a microphone - In no time, DJs were pumping up the jam at parties the world over and by the 1970s, Zylberberg was running 25 clubs across Europe and the Americas - Today, DJs are seen and heard in most clubs across the US, the UK, Australia, and many Asian countries

Light from the sun takes approximately 8 minutes to reach Earth

Julia Child was 6 feet, 2 inches tall

The indentation at the bottom of a wine bottle is called a punt

René Lacoste, a professional tennis player, invented the world’s first tennis shirt considered a breakthrough for players in its light weight and airiness. Known as “Le Crocodile” for his on-court tenacity, Lacoste added the crocodile to his clothes in the 1930s – the first time a logo is know to have appeared on the outside of a shirt

Ringworm is not caused by a worm but by a parasitic fungi

Green colored light is the least used color of light in the process of photosynthesis. The color is reflected back into our eyes and is why plants are, for the most part, green

While females are the ones who carry the gene for Hemophilia, except in the rarest of cases, only males can actually have the disease which makes their blood unable to clot

No matter how flexible a person is, there is no such thing as being “double jointed” - Most extreme contortionists suffer from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder - Pictured below are symptoms of the disorder, which allow for greater range of movement in nearly all joints- the disorder ranges from mild to life-threatening:

Chocolate chip cookies were made by mistake when the chocolate in the cookie did not melt properly

All plastics ever made, except for a tiny fraction that has been incinerated, exists today because plastics do not biodegrade, photodegrade, or be digested by any animal

Before aspirin was produced, ailing patients chewed the bark of the white willow tree (from which aspirin is derived) to help alleviate fever and pain

In Argentina, you can get your caffeine fix with yerba maté. Made from dried holly leaves, the beverage stimulant is so popular that the average Argentine drinks 11 pounds a year.  Wealthy families once kept servants on hand whose sole job was making and serving maté

From peaches to cherries, many fruit seeds contain cyanogenetic glycosides, which turn into cyanide gas during digestion. In the last 50 years, at least nine people in Turkey have died of cyanide poisoning from gorging on apricots

The @ sign was very close to being eliminated from the standard keyboard until 1971, when Ray Tomlinson wrote it into the code used to send the first email

Tennessee was originally known as Franklin; West Virginia was nearly named Kanawha, and Utah almost became the state of Deseret

Phi Beta Kappa, one of America’s most respectable college honor societies, actually began as an underground order founded in 1776 - the group provided an outlet for freedom of speech when governments and universities weren’t keen on respecting that right

Harvard research from 2003 revealed that mothers pregnant with male babies tend to eat more than those carrying females

Only one breed of dog is mentioned by name in the Bible: the Greyhound. (Proverbs 30:29-31, King James Version

Despite the name, catgut was originally made out of sheep intestine

Elmo is the most recognizable children’s character in the U.S.

In car design circles, a hood ornament is properly called a “mascot.” The first American automobile to sport a mascot was the 1912 Cadillac

Monday, July 19, 2010


Last week I delved into some interesting ways people had died- some famous, some famous for how they died.  This week, let's take a look at what people have said as the curtain falls... what will you say?  I don't know what I might say, but I have decided that I want my tombstone to be in the shape of an ideolocator (the You Are Here symbol) with the simple message: Here I Am.

Thomas Jefferson--still survives...
~~ John Adams, US President, d. July 4, 1826
(Actually, Jefferson had died earlier that same day)

Am I dying or is this my birthday?
When she woke briefly during her last illness and found all her family around her bedside.
~~ Lady Nancy Astor, d. 1964

Nothing, but death.
When asked by her sister, Cassandra, if there was anything she wanted.
~~ Jane Austen, writer, d. July 18, 1817

Codeine . . . bourbon.
~~ Tallulah Bankhead, actress, d. December 12, 1968

How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?
~~ P. T. Barnum, entrepreneur, d. 1891

I can't sleep.
~~ James M. Barrie, author, d. 1937

Is everybody happy? I want everybody to be happy. I know I'm happy.
~~ Ethel Barrymore, actress, d. June 18, 1959

Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.
~~ John Barrymore, actor, d. May 29, 1942

Now comes the mystery.
~~ Henry Ward Beecher, evangelist, d. March 8, 1887

Friends applaud, the comedy is finished.
~~ Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, d. March 26, 1827

I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
~~ Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957

~~ Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor, May 5, 1821

I am about to -- or I am going to -- die: either expression is correct.
~~ Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian, d. 1702

Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you.
~~ Johannes Brahms, composer, d. April 3, 1897

Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy.
Spoken to her husband of 9 months, Rev. Arthur Nicholls.
~~ Charlotte Bronte, writer, d. March 31, 1855

In reply to her husband who had asked how she felt.
~~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, writer, d. June 28, 1861

Now I shall go to sleep. Goodnight.
~~ Lord George Byron, writer, d. 1824

Et tu, Brute?
~~ Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman Emperor, d. 44 BC

I am still alive!
Stabbed to death by his own guards - (as reported by Roman historian Tacitus)
~~ Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor, d.41 AD

Don't let poor Nelly (his mistress, Nell Gwynne) starve.
~~ Charles II, King of England and Scotland, d. 1685

I am dying. I haven't drunk champagne for a long time.
~~ Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, writer, d. July 1, 1904

The earth is suffocating . . . Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won't be buried alive.
Dying of tuberculosis.
~~ Frederic Chopin, composer, d. October 16, 1849

I'm bored with it all.
Before slipping into a coma. He died 9 days later.
~~ Winston Churchill, statesman, d. January 24, 1965

This time it will be a long one.
~~ Georges Clemenceau, French premier, d. 1929

I have tried so hard to do the right.
~~ Grover Cleveland, US President, d. 1908

That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted.
~~ Lou Costello, comedian, d. March 3, 1959

Goodnight my darlings, I'll see you tomorrow.
~~ Noel Coward, writer, d. 1973

Damn it . . . Don't you dare ask God to help me.
To her housekeeper, who had begun to pray aloud.
~~ Joan Crawford, actress, d. May 10, 1977

I am not the least afraid to die.
~~ Charles Darwin, d. April 19, 1882

I must go in, the fog is rising.
~~ Emily Dickinson, poet, d. 1886

Please know that I am quite aware of the hazards. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.
Last letter to her husband before her last flight.
KHAQQ calling Itasca. We must be on you, but cannot see you. Gas is running low.
Last radio communiqué before her disappearance.
~~ Amelia Earhart, d. 1937

It is very beautiful over there.
~~ Thomas Alva Edison, inventor, d. October 18, 1931

All my possessions for a moment of time.
~~ Elizabeth I, Queen of England, d. 1603

I've never felt better.
~~ Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., actor, d. December 12, 1939

I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring.
~~ Richard Feynman, physicist, d. 1988

I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
~~ Errol Flynn, actor, d. October 14, 1959

A dying man can do nothing easy.
~~ Benjamin Franklin, statesman, d. April 17, 1790

I know you have come to kill me. Shoot coward, you are only going to kill a man.
Facing his assassin, Mario Teran, a Bolivian soldier.
~~ Ernesto "Che" Guevara, d. October 9, 1967

Yes, it's tough, but not as tough as doing comedy.
When asked if he thought dying was tough.
~~ Edmund Gwenn, actor, d. September 6, 1959

God will pardon me, that's his line of work.
~~ Heinrich Heine, poet, d. February 15, 1856

Turn up the lights, I don't want to go home in the dark.
~~ O. Henry (William Sidney Porter), writer, d. June 4, 1910

I see black light.
~~ Victor Hugo, writer, d. May 22, 1885

Let us cross over the river and sit in the shade of the trees.
Killed in error by his own troops at the battle of Chancellorsville during the US Civil War.
~~ General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, d. 1863

Is it the Fourth?
~~ Thomas Jefferson, US President, d. July 4, 1826

Does nobody understand?
~~ James Joyce, writer, d. 1941

Why not? Yeah.
~~ Timothy Leary, d. May 31, 1996

A King should die standing.
~~ Louis XVIII, King of France, d. 1824

Why do you weep. Did you think I was immortal?
~~ Louis XIV, King of France, d. 1715

I am a Queen, but I have not the power to move my arms.
~~ Louise, Queen of Prussia, d. 1820

Too late for fruit, too soon for flowers.
~~ Walter De La Mare, writer, d. 1956

Let's cool it brothers . . .
Spoken to his assassins, 3 men who shot him 16 times.
~~ Malcolm X, Black leader, d. 1966

Go on, get out - last words are for fools who haven't said enough.
To his housekeeper, who urged him to tell her his last words so she could write them down for posterity.
~~ Karl Marx, revolutionary, d. 1883

I forgive everybody. I pray that everybody may also forgive me, and my blood which is about to be shed will bring peace to Mexico. Long live Mexico! Long Live Independence!
~~ Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, (Archduke Maximilian of Austria), d. June 11, 1867

Nothing matters. Nothing matters.
~~ Louis B. Mayer, film producer, d. October 29, 1957

It's all been very interesting.
~~ Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, writer, d. 1762

I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room - and God damn it - died in a hotel room.
~~ Eugene O'Neill, writer, d. November 27, 1953

Good-bye . . . why am I hemorrhaging?
~~ Boris Pasternak, writer, d. 1959

Get my swan costume ready.
~~ Anna Pavlova, ballerina, d. 1931

I am curious to see what happens in the next world to one who dies unshriven.
Giving his reasons for refusing to see a priest as he lay dying.
~~ Pietro Perugino, Italian painter, d. 1523

Lord help my poor soul.
~~ Edgar Allan Poe, writer, d. October 7, 1849

Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms.
~~ Alexander Pope, writer, d. May 30, 1744

I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor.
~~ François Rabelais, writer, d. 1553

I have a terrific headache.
He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
~~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, US President, d. 1945

Put out the light.
~~ Theodore Roosevelt, US President, d. 1919

They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist. . . .
Killed in battle during US Civil War.
~~ General John Sedgwick, Union Commander, d. 1864

Sister, you're trying to keep me alive as an old curiosity, but I'm done, I'm finished, I'm going to die.
Spoken to his nurse.
~~ George Bernard Shaw, playwright, d. November 2, 1950

I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . .
~~ Dylan Thomas, poet, d. 1953

God bless... God damn.
~~ James Thurber, humorist, d. 1961

I feel here that this time they have succeeded.
~~ Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, d. 1940

Don't worry chief, it will be alright.
~~ Rudolph Valentino, actor, d. August 23, 1926

Woe is me. Me thinks I'm turning into a god.
~~ Vespasian, Roman Emperor, d. 79 AD

Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something.
~~ Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary, d. 1923

I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.
~~ Leonardo da Vinci, artist, d. 1519

Go away. I'm all right.
~~ H. G. Wells, novelist, d. 1946

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
~~ Oscar Wilde, writer, d. November 30, 1900

Curtain! Fast music! Light! Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good, the show looks good!
~~ Florenz Ziegfeld, showman, d. July 22, 1932

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I have heard "you only die once" but who knows for sure, right?  It's all a matter of faith.  What is true, I have noticed, is "nothing is sure in life but death and taxes."  No matter the cliche, sometimes the way people die is as interesting, or more interesting, than the way they lived- or a direct result of how they lived.  What follows is a foray into the deaths of famous people- some made more famous for how they died:

John Jacob Astor
1912 --- drowned with the "unsinkable" Titanic

Attila the Hun
453 AD --- bled to death from a nosebleed on his wedding night

Alexander I of Greece - king of the Hellenes 1917–20
1920 --- died October 25, from blood poisoning after being bitten by his gardener's pet monkey

Sir Francis Bacon
1626 --- pneumonia. He was experimenting with freezing a chicken by stuffing it with snow

Velma (Margie) Barfield
1984 --- 1st woman executed in US since restoration of death penalty in 1967. (For poisoning her fiancée)

Bridget Bishop
1692 --- 1st of the witches hung in Salem, Massachusetts. She was executed on June 10

"Sonny" Bono
1998 --- crashed into a tree while skiing

Anne Boleyn
1536 --- beheaded for adultery by request of Henry VIII

Charles Brooks, Jr.
1982 --- 1st criminal executed in US by lethal injection

Calamity Jane (Martha Jane Canary)
1903 --- pneumonia following a bout of heavy drinking

Al Capone - Chicago gangster
1947 --- syphilis

Catherine the Great - Empress of Russia
1796 --- a stroke, while going to the bathroom

Nicolae Ceausescu - Romanian president
1989 --- executed by firing squad, on live television, along with his wife

Anton Joseph Cermak - mayor of Chicago
1933 --- assassinated by accident when riding with Franklin Roosevelt in motorcade

Sergei Chalibashvili - diver
1983 --- diving accident. Attempted a three-and-a-half reverse somersault in the tuck position during the World University Games. On the way down, he smashed his head on the board and was knocked unconscious. He died after being in a coma for a week

Raymond Johnson Chapman - Cleveland Indians baseball player
1920 --- died one day after being struck in head by baseball pitch, becoming the only player ever killed as result of major league baseball game

Charles I - English king
1649 --- beheaded by order of Parliament under Oliver Cromwell on January 30

Bob Crane - actor
1978 --- murdered in hotel room

Jim Croce - singer
1973 ---plane crash. The plane crashed into a tree 200 yards past the end of the runway while taking off from Natchitoches, La. Municipal Airport

Marie Curie - chemist, discovered Radium
1934 --- leukemia, caused by exposure to radiation

Albert Dekker - actor, California legislator
1968 --- suffocated, hanging from shower curtain rod, handcuffed, wearing women's lingerie

Edward Despard
1803 --- last executed criminal drawn & quartered in England

Jane Dornnacker - helicopter traffic reporter
1986 --- died doing a live traffic report for WNBC-AM NYC when her helicopter crashed

Tommy Dorsey - Trombonist
1956 --- choked to death in his sleep, due to food that lodged in his windpipe

Anthony J. Drexel III - philanthropist
1893 --- shot himself accidentally while showing off a new gun in his collection to his friends

Jessica Dubroff - (age 7)
1996 --- plane crash - attempting to become the youngest pilot to fly cross-country

Isadora Duncan - actress
1927 --- accidental strangulation when her scarf caught in car wheel

Andres Escobar - Colombian soccer player
1994 --- murdered by unknown thugs, apparently in anger over the accidental goal he had scored for US during World Cup Game

Marty Feldman
1982 --- found dead in motel room in Mexico. Death from heart failure, either from climate change or from shellfish poisoning

Francis Ferdinand - Archduke of Austria
1914 --- assassinated; the incident initiated the first World War

Michael Findlay - horror film maker
1977 --- decapitated by helicopter blade

Jim Fixx - made jogging popular
1984 --- died of a heart attack... while jogging

Eric Fleming - actor ("Rawhide")
1966 --- drowned when his canoe capsized during the filming of a movie near the headwaters of the Amazon in the Haullaga River, Peru

Dian Fossey - primatologist
1985 --- found hacked to death, presumably by poachers, in her Rwandan forest camp

Sigmund Freud
1939 --- avid cigar smoker- cancer of the jaw, palate, throat and tongue

Bobby Fuller - musician
1966 --- his badly beaten body was discovered in a parked car in Los Angeles. His death was attributed to asphyxia through the forced inhalation of gasoline

Rajiv Gandhi - prime minister of India from 1984 until 1989
1991 --- killed by a bomb, hidden in a bouquet of flowers, which exploded in his hand. Like his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated

Judy Garland (Frances Gumm)
1969 --- overdose of sleeping pills

Marvin Gaye (Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr.) - singer
1984 --- murdered on his birthday by his father

Balthasar Gérard - assassin of William of Orange
blank 1584 --- executed as follows: that the right hand of Gérard should be burned off with a red-hot iron, that his flesh should be torn from his bones with pincers in six different places, that he should be quartered and disemboweled alive, that his heart should be torn from his bosom and flung in his face, and that, finally, his head should be cut off

Gary Mark Gilmore
1977 --- 1st American executed after restoration of US death penalty in 1976. (Executed by firing squad)

John Glasscock - musician (Jethro Tull)
1979 --- heart infection caused by an abscessed tooth

Olivia Goldsmith - author, "First Wives Club"
2004 --- complications resulting from anesthesia during plastic surgery

Sergei Grinkov - Russian figure skater
1995 --- died of heart attack during skating practice

Henry Gunther
1918 --- last soldier killed in WWI

Alexander Hamilton - former US Treasury Secretary
1804 --- shot by US Vice President Aaron Burr in a pistol duel near Weehawken, New Jersey on July eleventh

Mata Hari (Gertrud Margarete Zelle) - World War I spy
1917 --- executed by firing squad, she refused a blindfold and threw a kiss to the executioners

William E. Harmon
1981 --- 1st BASE jumping fatality. He died in a jump from a 1000-foot antenna tower on April 11. BASE is an acronym for Building, Antennae, Span, Earth, and thus represents the fixed-objects from which BASE jumps are made

William Henry Harrison
1841 --- 1st US President to die in office after giving one of the longest inauguration speeches in US history outside the Capitol without wearing a coat to show his strength to the "common man"

Owen Hart - WWF wrestler
1999 --- died while performing a stunt in the wrestling ring. He was being lowered into the ring by a cable, when he fell 70 ft. to his death, snapping his neck

Elizabeth Hartman - actress
1987 --- fell to her death from a fifth floor window in a bizarre reflection of a character in her staring 1966 movie "The Group"

Frank Hayes - jockey
1923 --- heart attack during a race. His horse, Sweet Kiss, won the race, making Hayes the only deceased jockey to win a race

Les Harvey - musician (Stone the Crow)
1972 --- electrocuted on stage at a show in Swansea, Wales. He touched a poorly connected microphone and died a few hours later

Ernest Miller Hemingway
1961 --- suicide with shotgun

Margaux Hemingway (Margot Hemingway)
1996 --- suicide, overdose of a sedative. She was the fifth person in her family to commit suicide

Jon-Erik Hexum - actor
1984 --- playfully shot himself with a blank-loaded pistol on the set of TV spy show "Cover Up." The concussion forced a chunk of his skull into his brain; he died six days later

Hal Mark Irish
1991 --- was killed in a leap from a hot air balloon in what was believed to be the first US death from the thrill sport of Bungee jumping. Irish fell more than 60 feet to his death on October 29, 1991, after breaking loose from his bungee cord during a demonstration

Gee Jon
1924 --- 1st person executed in US in the gas chamber. Nevada State Prison in Carson City on February 8. (Hydrocyanic gas was used; the procedure took 6 minutes)

William Kemmler - convicted axe murderer
1890 --- 1st person executed in US in the electric chair. At Auburn State Prison in New York, on August 6. (The procedure took 8 minutes)

Vladimir Komarov
1967 --- 1st cosmonaut to die in space. (Russian Soyuz 1)

T. E. Lawrence (Thomas Edward Lawrence)
1935 --- killed in a motorcycle accident after swerving to avoid two boys

Brandon Lee - actor
1993 --- shot by a gun firing blanks, while filming the movie "The Crow." His missing scenes were later filled-in by computer animation

Louis XVI - French king
1793 --- beheaded by French revolutionaries

Malcolm X (Malcolm Little)
1965 --- murdered - shot 16 times by three assassins
Jayne Mansfield (Vera Jayne Palmer) - actress
1967 --- car accident. Her wig flew off in the impact, starting rumors that she had been decapitated

Mark Maples
1964 --- 1st person to be killed on a ride in Disneyland. He stood up while riding the Matterhorn Bobsleds and was thrown to his death

Jean-Paul Marat
1793 --- knifed while taking a bath

Pete Maravich - basketball player
1988 --- heart attack while playing a game of pick-up basketball

Marie Antoinette
1793 --- beheaded by guillotine

Sal Mineo - actor
1976 --- stabbed to death in the street outside of his home

Margaret Mitchell - author, Gone With the Wind
1949 --- On August 11, she was crossing an Atlanta street on her way to the theater when she was hit by a speeding cab. She died of her injuries five days later

Russell Mockridge - cyclist
1958 --- vehicular accident. He was competing in the Tour of Gippsland in Melbourne when he was struck by a bus and killed instantly

Luis Monge
1967 --- executed in gas chamber, Colorado State Penitentiary, Cannon City, CO, on June 2. He was the last US execution until 1977, when the death penalty was reinstated. (He had murdered his wife and 3 of his 10 children)

Mary Ann Nicholls - prostitute
1888 --- fed poisoned grapes and disemboweled by Jack the Ripper

Florence Nightingale
1910 --- heart failure after 53 years as an invalid

Francis Russell O'Hara - US art critic
1966 --- died from being hit by taxicab

Janet Parker - medical photographer
1978 --- last person to die of smallpox

Laura Patterson - professional bungee jumper
1996 --- killed during rehearsal for the Superbowl at the New Orleans Super Dome on Jan. 23. She died of massive head injuries

Kenneth Pinyan
2005 --- perforated colon received during a videotaped sex act with a full sized stallion. His death prompted the passing of a bill in Washington State prohibiting both sex with animals and the videotaping of the same

Martha Place
1899 --- 1st woman executed in the electric chair, Sing Sing Prison, NY, on March 20. She had murdered her stepdaughter

Edgar Allan Poe
1849 --- cerebral edema following a drinking binge  (The September 1996 Maryland Medical Journal published a study that showed Poe's symptoms suggest rabies instead)

Pope Johann XII
963 --- beaten to death , at age 18, by the husband of a woman he was having an affair with

Elvis Presley
1977 --- accidental drug overdose. He died while sitting on the toilet

Alexander Pushkin - Russian author
1837 --- killed in duel

Grigory Rasputin
1916 --- assassinated: poisoned (cyanide), shot (3 times), and thrown into a river

Keith Relf - musician (The Yardbirds)
1976 --- electrocuted playing guitar in the bathtub

John Augustus Roebling - designer of the Brooklyn Bridge
1869 --- died of a tetanus infection after having his leg crushed by a ferryboat while working on the Brooklyn Bridge

Oscar Romero - archbishop of San Salvador
1980 --- murdered while saying mass at the Cathedral of San Salvador

Ronald Ryan
1967 --- executed by hanging in Melbourne. He was the last man to be hanged in Australia

Selena (Quintanilla Perez) - singer
1995 --- shot by the president of her fan club

Thomas A. Selfridge
1908 --- 1st mortality in an airplane crash. He was the passenger when Wilbur Wright crashed a US War Department test plane

Eddie Slovik
1945 --- shot by an American firing squad in France for desertion. (The only US soldier since the Civil War to be executed as he was

Joseph Smith - founder of Mormon religion
1844 --- shot by an angry mob while he was jailed in Carthage, Illionois

Evelita Juanita Spinnelli
1941 --- 1st woman ever to be officially to be executed in California, on November 21st
1941 --- 1st woman to be executed in the gas chamber

Jennifer Lea Strange - game show contestant
2007 --- died of water intoxication after taking part in a Sacramento, California, radio station's water-drinking contest

Timothy Treadwell - environmentalist (and Amie Huguenard)
(2003) --- lived among the grizzly bears of Katmai National Park in Alaska for approximately 13 seasons. At the end of his thirteenth season in the park in 2003, he and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed and partially eaten by a grizzly bear. An audio recording of the attack survived

Tommy Tucker - musician
1982 --- carbon tetrachloride poisoning sustained while he was finishing floors in his home

Kelton Rena Turner
1975 --- last American soldier killed in the Vietnam War

Karl Wallenda - aerialist
1978 --- fell to death at the age of 73 as he was walking a high wire strung between two buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Edward Higgins White, Jr.
1967 --- died in space capsule fire during rehearsal of scheduled Apollo 1 launch with Roger Chaffee & Gus Grissom

Stanford White - Architect, designed Madison Square Garden
1906 --- shot atop Madison Square Garden by Evelyn Nesbit's jealous husband, Harry Thaw

Tennessee Williams - writer
1983 --- choked to death on a on a nose spray bottle cap that accidentally dropped into his mouth while he was using the spray. He was 71

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