Chihuahua, Mexico is home to two hot caverns containing the largest natural crystals known
to man. "Walking into either of these caves is like stepping into a (sweltering) gigantic geode," described one awed observer.
Some of the clear selenite crystals are over 20 feet long.
The newly-discovered caverns, 1200 feet below the surface of
the earth, carry a curse for those who seek to plunder their riches. A man recently tried to steal one of the magnificent
crystals from the roof, and might have succeeded... if he hadn't stood directly beneath it while chopping it free. He was
pinned beneath the sparkling stalactite as it heeded the call of gravity, and roasted in the 108 F cave.
(29 January 2003, Brazil) At work, Manoel Messias Batista Coelho was responsible for cleaning
out the storage tanks of gasoline tanker trucks. He had been employed in that capacity for two months when he ran afoul of
The 35-year-old began to fill a tanker with water, a standard safety procedure that forces flammable vapor out of
the container. He returned an hour later to check whether the water level was high enough to proceed. But he had trouble deciding,
because it was so DARK inside the tanker.
A resourceful employee, Manoel forgot the very reason why he was filling the
tank with water when he lit a cigarette lighter to shed some light on the situation. His little test successfully determined
that the water level was NOT yet high enough for safety. The vapor explosion launched him through the air, and he landed in
the company parking lot 100 meters away.
Manoel suffered severe burns, blunt force trauma, and an injury to the head that
exposed his brain. Our witless car washer had learned his terminal lesson in safety by the time the firemen arrived.
(12 February 2003) Three men wielding knives tried to rob a slaughterhouse. But when it
comes to hand to hand combat with sharp blades, butchers working in a slaughterhouse are more than a match for your average
thief. They stabbed two of the intruders to death. The third man escaped from the angry butchers and fled in his car.
soon spotted him, and after a brief car chase, the would-be thief pulled over and leapt from his vehicle. But instead of fleeing
into the underbrush, he tried to dodge heavy traffic and escape across the highway. Perhaps he thought that threatening butchers
with knives was not a sufficient demonstration of his intelligence.
Within seconds, the natural justice system meted out
his punishment in the form of a large truck, which struck and killed him.
(January 2003, India) Regarding accidental deaths during the construction of a subway
in New Delhi, the New York Times wrote, "One of those killed was an unlucky thief who tried to steal braces holding up a concrete
slab; it fell and killed him."
(7 March 2002, Colorado) When Gerald was pulled over by police for erratic driving, he
decided it was better to flee from the stolen car on foot, rather than face possible jail time for a parole violation. This
was the first of two successive mental lapses. Geralds actual thoughts are unknown, but *may* have been something like this:
"The officers are only suspicious and alert now... Ill make them hot, sweaty, tired, and angry by leading them on a wild chase
through dark alleys and fields."
During the subsequent foot chase, Gerald attempted to dissuade officers from the pursuit
by firing a 9mm Ruger semiautomatic handgun blindly over his shoulder. This was the second illustration of a potential mental
deficiency. "Officers are running behind me. They have guns. I have a gun! They have eyes in the front of their heads, so
they can see to aim at me. I don't have eyes in the back of my head, so Ill fire wildly behind me and see what happens!"
Gerald appears to have been one of those folks who can't chew gum and walk at the same time. Or at least he couldnt flee and
fire at the same time. While discharging the weapon over his shoulder, Gerald managed to shoot himself in the head with his
own gun, bringing the chase to a sudden conclusion.
Four shots were fired, none by the officers, who found Gerald's pistol
next to his fallen body. Gerald was transported to a local hospital where he expired the following day, thus removing a set
of genes deficient in both judgment and coordination from the gene pool.
(January 2002, Croatia) A Croatian was killed while trying to open a hand grenade with
a chainsaw. He wanted to retrieve the explosive to make firecrackers for the New Years holiday.
(Iowa) Several years ago, an adventurous pair decided to take their ropes and rappel off the
Boone Scenic Valley Railroad train over the Des Moines river. Words can't describe how breathtakingly high this narrow train
bridge is over the river valley. The open train ride over the abyss is both stunningly beautiful and somewhat nerve-wracking.
Our adventurers had to be completely fearless, because they walked to the middle of this narrow railroad bridge, tied
off their ropes, and began to rappel down. When the train came by on it's daily tour of the valley, their one mistake became
apparent. They had tied the ropes to the sturdiest support possible: the steel train tracks...
(23 September 2002, Brazil) A farm keeper from São Paulo decided to remove a beehive from
his orange tree. He didn't know exactly how to proceed, but he knew the hive should be burned, and he knew bees sting. So
he protected his head with a plastic bag sealed tightly around his neck, grabbed a torch, and went off to fight the bees.
His worried wife went to look for him a few hours later, and found him dead. However, it wasn't the bees that killed him.
The plastic bag had protected him from smoke, stingers, and... oxygen! He had forgotten to put breathing holes in the bag.
(29 July 2002, Ukraine) Late one night, the inhabitants of Yuvieyna village, a suburb of Lugansk,
awoke to a loud explosion. Not long before the explosion, a 40-year-old deputy of the local administration board had taken
his dog out for a walk. He encountered a Police Academy cadet who was escorting two women to their homes.
The cadet pointed
out that the deputy's dog was not allowed on a public street without a lead and muzzle. Now, only an exceedingly bold cadet
would be presumptuous enough to tell a village deputy what to do, so the two men began to argue. Unable to resolve the matter
by verbal means, the deputy finally pulled out a military RGD-5 hand grenade and threw it to the cadet's feet. His well-trained
dog immediately ran for the object and fetched it for his master... and man and dog met the same messy fate.
investigating how the deputy came to have a grenade in a country where citizens are forbidden to carry arms, let alone military
(21 July 2001, Idaho) When his brakes failed while driving down a steep mountain road,
Marco bailed out on his eight passengers and leapt from his Dodge van. Too bad Marco didn't alert the others to the problem
before he took flight so precipitously. Another passenger was able to bring the vehicle to a stop a short distance away. Marco
struck his head on the pavement and died at the scene. No one else was injured.
Robert, 37, shot himself while explaining gun safety to his wife in Glendale, California,
when he placed a .45-caliber pistol he thought was unloaded under his chin and pulled the trigger. Shovestall's wife told
police that the incident occurred after her complaints about her husband's 70 guns prompted him to demonstrate their safety.
A 23-year-old bar-brawler who had been escorted out of the Turtle Club in Florida by a
bouncer, sneaked back in and leaped off a staircase, aiming a kick at another man, but was killed when he landed on his head.
Iraqi terrorist Khay Rahnajet, didn't put enough postage on a letter bomb, and it came
back marked "return to sender." He opened the package and was blown away.
Two animal rights activists were protesting the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse
in Bonn by freeing a captive herd. Suddenly all two thousand of pigs stampeded through the gate they were opening, and trampled
the hapless protesters to death.
News of the Weird reports that in September 1996 a man was crushed to death on a stairway
at the Sammis Real Estate and Insurance office in Huntington, N.Y., while he was stealing the office's 600-pound safe. He
apparently violated that cardinal rule of hauling massive objects: Never stand on a step lower than the one the safe is on.
The safe was empty at the time of the incident.
In San Jose, California, Herman, an avid hunter, used the butt of his shotgun to bash
his girlfriend's windshield during an argument. But his loaded gun accidentally discharged into his stomach, killing him and
ending the argument.
(28 February 2000, Texas) A Houston man earned a succinct lesson in gun safety when he
played Russian roulette with a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol. Rashaad, nineteen, was visiting friends when he announced
his intention to play the deadly game. He apparently did not realize that a semiautomatic pistol, unlike a revolver, automatically
inserts a cartridge into the firing chamber when the gun is cocked. His chance of winning a round of Russian roulette was
zero, as he quickly discovered.
(2000, England) This tale proves that crime does pay, if you're fishing for elective surgery
to go along with your stolen goods.
A 24-year-old supermarket shoplifter stuffed a pair of live lobsters in his pants
and sprinted for the door, but he never had a chance. The violated crustaceans brought the thief to his knees in front of
startled cashiers when they fastened their powerful claws around his delicate parts.
Doctors were able to remove the animals
with pliers. They say the thief will fully recover -- except for one small detail. "It was a do-it-yourself vasectomy." This
man's daring supermarket exploits make him one of the few Darwin Award winners to live to tell the tale.
manager declined to press charges, saying the culprit has already "gone through enough pain (to) learn his lesson."
(1 October 1995, Canada) Horseshoe Falls is on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Over
a decade ago, a daredevil named Robert equipped himself with a homemade rocket-parachute contraption and rode a jet ski over
Horseshoe Falls at full throttle. He planned to ignite the rocket to propel him clear of the falls, then deploy the parachute
and float down to the river below, where he would be fished out by the Maid o' the Mist tour boat.
But the water had a
dampening effect on his equipment. The rocket failed to ignite and the parachute failed to deploy. However, the third phase
of his scheme did work according to plan. His corpse was recovered from the river below by the Maid o' the Mist staff.
5 September 1999, Jerusalem In most parts of the world, the switch away
from Daylight Saving Time proceeds smoothly. But the time change raised havoc with Palestinian terrorists this year.
insisted on a premature switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time to accommodate a week of pre-sunrise prayers. Palestinians
refused to live on "Zionist Time." Two weeks of scheduling havoc ensued. Nobody knew the "correct" time.
At precisely 5:30pm
on Sunday, two coordinated car bombs exploded in different cities, killing three terrorists who were transporting the bombs.
It was initially believed that the devices had been detonated prematurely by klutzy amateurs. A closer look revealed the truth
behind the explosions.
The bombs had been prepared in a Palestine-controlled area, and set to detonate on Daylight Saving
Time. But the confused drivers had already switched to Standard Time. When they picked up the bombs, they neglected to ask
whose watch was used to set the timing mechanism. As a result, the cars were still en-route when the explosives detonated,
delivering the terrorists to their untimely demises.
(22 March 1999, Phnom Penh) Decades of armed strife has littered Cambodia with unexploded
munitions and ordnance. Authorities warn citizens not to tamper with the devices.
Three friends recently spent an evening
sharing drinks and exchanging insults at a local cafe in the southeastern province of Svay Rieng. Their companionable arguing
continued for hours, until one man pulled out a 25-year-old unexploded anti-tank mine found in his backyard.
it under the table, and the three men began playing Russian roulette, each tossing down a drink and then stamping on the mine.
The other villagers fled in terror.
Minutes later, the explosive detonated with a tremendous boom, killing the three men
in the bar. "Their wives could not even find their flesh because the blast destroyed everything," the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper
(25 May 1999, Ukraine) A fisherman in Kiev electrocuted himself while fishing in the river
Tereblya. The 43-year-old man connected cables to the main power supply of his home, and trailed the end into the river. The
electric shock killed the fish, which floated belly-up to the top of the water. The man waded in to collect his catch, neglecting
to remove the live wire, and tragically suffered the same fate as the fish.
(1999, England) Wayne wanted to make a few bucks by selling stolen scrap metal. He sneaked
into a demolition site and surveyed the area for valuable hunks of debris. His eyes fastened upon what appeared to be a 3"
thick copper pipe. That would fetch a fine fee! But it was too heavy for him to budge it.
He hauled a few lesser chunks
of metal away, and returned with sturdy bolt cutters. It was then, when he attempted to sever the pipe, that he was shocked
to discover that it was actually an aluminum cable carrying 11,000 volts of power. The paramedics who later tried to revive
the electrified Wayne were thwarted by the current. He did not survive to be charged with his offences.
(February 1998) Matthew and his friends were sliding down a Mammoth Mountain ski run on a
foam pad at 3am, when he crashed into a lift tower and died. His makeshift sledge of yellow foam had been stolen from the
legs of a lift tower on Stump Alley. The cushion is meant to protect skiers who hit the tower, and the tower Matthew ran into
was the one from which he had created his sledge. There's a moral in there somewhere.
(01 March 1998) Randy Nestor, 28, was a considerate car thief. When the stolen cars became
hot, he didn't just abandon them, he torched them. Setting the cars on fire, he reasoned, helped the owners collect insurance
on their vehicles. This criminal habit became his downfall. After a 10-year career of theft, Randy burned to death in Pittsburgh,
PA in a van which he had set fire to from the inside. He hadn't realized that the door handle on the driver's side was broken.
Friends tried to release him, but the door was locked. His burned body was found inside the van on Sunday.
Some men will got to extraordinary lengths to prove how macho they are. Frenchman Pierre Pumpille
recently shunted a stationary car two feet by headbutting it. "Women thought I was a god," he explained from his hospital
Deity or not, however, Pumpille is a veritable girl's blouse compared to Polish farmer Krystof Azninski, who staked
a strong claim to being Europe's most macho man by cutting off his own head in 1995. Azninski, 30, had been drinking with
friends when it was suggested they strip naked and play some "men's games". Initially they hit each other over the head with
frozen turnips, but then one man upped the ante by seizing a chainsaw and cutting off the end of his foot. Not to be outdone,
Azninski grabbed the saw and, shouting "Watch this then," je swung at his own head and chopped it off.
The Arizona Highway Patrol were mystified when they came upon a pile of smoldering wreckage
embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The metal debris resembled the site of an airplane
crash, but it turned out to be the vaporized remains of an automobile. The make of the vehicle was unidentifiable at the scene.
The folks in the lab finally figured out what it was, and pieced together the events that led up to its demise.
seems that a former Air Force sergeant had somehow got hold of a JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) unit. JATO units are solid fuel
rockets used to give heavy military transport airplanes an extra push for take-off from short airfields.
lakebeds are the location of choice for breaking the world ground vehicle speed record. The sergeant took the JATO unit into
the Arizona desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, accelerated
to a high speed, and fired off the rocket.
The facts, as best as could be determined, are as follows:
was driving a 1967 Chevy Impala. He ignited the JATO unit approximately 3.9 miles from the crash site. This was established
by the location of a prominently scorched and melted strip of asphalt. The vehicle quickly reached a speed of between 250
and 300 mph and continued at that speed, under full power, for an additional 20-25 seconds. The soon-to-be pilot experienced
G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners.
The Chevy remained on the straight highway
for approximately 2.6 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied the brakes, completely melting them, blowing the tires,
and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface. The vehicle then became airborne for an additional 1.3 miles, impacted
the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, and left a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.
Most of the driver's remains
were not recovered; however, small fragments of bone, teeth, and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone
shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.
3 February 1990, Washington
A man tried to commit a robbery in Renton, WA. This was probably
his first attempt, as suggested by the fact that he had no previous record of violent crime, and by his terminally stupid
choices as listed below:
1. The target was H&J Leather & Firearms, a gun shop.
2. The shop was full of customers,
in a state where a substantial portion of the adult population is licensed to carry concealed handguns in public places.
To enter the shop, he had to step around a marked Police patrol car parked at the front door.
4. An officer in uniform
was standing next to the counter, having coffee before reporting to duty.
Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber
announced a holdup and fired a few wild shots. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, removing him from the gene
pool. Several other customers also drew their guns, but didn't fire. No one else was hurt
(North Carolina, 1987) Ivan, an experienced parachutist with 800 jumps under his belt, was
videotaping a private lesson given by an instructor for a single trainee. He had attached the video camera to his helmet so
that it would capture the entire day of instruction, and the supporting power supply and recorder were in a heavy satchel
slung on his back.
The group went up in the plane, and the instructor led the enthusiastic beginner through preparations
for the jump. Ivan carefully documented the lesson, which needed to be perfect for the sake of posterity,
When they reached
the jump site, Ivan jumped from the back of the plane and filmed the student and instructor jumping from the front of the
plane. A few heartbeats later, tape still running, Ivan realized that he had been so focused on filming the jump that he had
forgotten to strap on his own parachute. An FAA spokesperson said that the video equipment strapped to his back may have been
mistaken for a parachute.
In the footage salvaged from the camera and spliced together, the student and instructor are
shown in freefall befire they pull their ripcords and recede rapidly from view. Then the cameraman's hands reach for his own
ripcord. When Ivan realizes he has no ripcord, ergo no chute, his hands are seen to flail about wildly, then the camera pans
down towards the approaching earth...
Clement Vallandigham was a well-known Northern Democrat who campaigned for states rights
during the Civil War. In 1863 Vallandigham was convicted of treason for his speeches attacking the administration of President
Lincoln. He was banished to the South, where he continued to voice his political views.
After the war, Vallandingham became
a lawyer. In his last appearance in the courtroom, he represented a client on trial for murder. The accused mans defense was
that the victim had drawn his own gun in a fashion that caused it to fire, killing himself. To prove the defense argument,
Vallandigham demonstrated the victims method of drawing a gun--using the loaded evidence gun as his prop. The firearm went
off, and he lost his life--but proved his case.
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I embarked on the 3rd Crusade to recapture the Holy Land
in the twelfth century. After spending days trudging across the dry summer desert, his army came upon the River Saleph. In
his parched state, Frederick threw caution to the wind -- instead of his heavy armor -- and plunged into the river, whereupon
he sank to the bottom and drowned.
Attila the Hun was one of the most notorious villains in history. He conquered all of
Asia by 450 A.D. by destroying villages and pillaging the countryside. This bloodthirsty man died from a nosebleed on his
wedding night. After feasting and toasting his own good fortune, he was too drunk to notice his nose, and he drowned in a
snoutful of his own blood.
Tycho Brahe, a sixteenth-century Danish astronomer whose research helped Sir Isaac Newton
devise the theory of gravity, died because he didnt make it to the bathroom in time. In that society it was considered an
insult to leave the table before the banquet was over. Brahe forgot to relieve himself before the banquet began, then exacerbated
matters by imbibing too much alcohol at dinner. Too polite to ask to be excused, he instead allowed his bladder to burst,
which killed him slowly and painfully over the next eleven days.
Jean-Baptiste Lully, a seventeenth-century composer who wrote music for the king of France,
died from an overdose of musical enthusiasm. While rehearsing for a concert, he became overexcited and drove his baton right
through his foot. He succumbed to blood poisoning.
(1990s, United States) I heard the following at work in the gun shop. The events described
below (if its not a legend) occurred in the 1990s in the southwest.
A small-time hood (about to be even smaller) broke
into the home of a World War Two veteran and stole, among other things, the old G.I.'s .45 automatic pistol, which he used
in battle in the 1940's. The hoodlum then reported directly to a local convenience store and proceeded to rob the cashier
while brandishing his new pistol. The cashier, no dummy, followed orders and handed over the contents of the register.
thug took the money and turned to leave, but suddenly decided he didnt want to leave a witnesses other than the security camera,
that is. He leveled the pistol at the cashier and pulled the trigger.
"CLICK!" went the gun.
At this unexpected development,
the puzzled crook looked straight down the barrel of his weapon and uttered the words, "What the...?"
As it turned out,
the WWII veteran had WWII vintage ammunition in his WWII vintage pistol. Priming caps over time are known to lose their "spontaneous"
nature, particularly if stored improperly, causing what is known as a hang-fire: The primer smolders into a delayed ignition.
Such was the case here.
Just as the puzzled crook had the barrel pointed squarely at his own eye, the hang-fired primer
detonated, sending a half-inch chunk of lead and associated hot combustion gases directly into the felon's skull at 900 feet
The range was less than six inches.
The body could only be identified by fingerprints.
(23 October 1993, Illinois) A police officer was trying to show another patrolman how their
fellow officer accidentally killed himself, by reenacting the shooting incident a week later. But the 20-year veteran forgot
to unload his .357 Magnum and wound up shooting himself in the stomach. He died in a car crash while driving himself to the
He reportedly fired two slugs from a 16-gauge shotgun at a 27-foot cactus, and began to
shout, "Timber!" He only had enough time to utter the first syllable before a 23-foot section of the prickly plant fell and
crushed him beneath its spiky skin.