Wednesday, November 5, 2014


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Death by cow:

Joao Maria de Souza, 45, died after a cow fell though his roof and onto him whilst he was asleep in bed with his wife Leni. The cow had escaped from a nearby farm and climbed onto the roof of the couple's house in southeast Brazil, the house backing onto a steep hill. The corrugated roof (shown below) gave way and the one-and-a-half-ton animal fell 2 metres onto Mr de Souza's side of the bed. His wife and the cow both escaped unharmed. Rescuers took Mr de Souza to hospital with a fractured left leg but no other obvious injuries, reporting that he was conscious and talking normally. Hours later however he died from internal bleeding while still waiting to be seen by doctors. Mr de Souza's brother-in-law Carlos Correa told Brazil's Hoje em Dia newspaper: "Being crushed by a cow in your bed is the last way you expect to leave this earth.”

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Death by demonstration:

Clement Vallandigham (1820-1871), a US lawyer, was representing a defendant in a murder case for killing a man in a barroom brawl brawl at the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio. He attempted to prove the victim, Tom Myers, had accidentally shot himself while drawing his pistol from a pocket while rising from a kneeling position. As Vallandigham conferred with fellow defense attorneys in his hotel room at the Golden Lamb, he showed them how he would demonstrate this to the jury. Selecting a pistol he believed to be unloaded, he put it in his pocket and enacted the events as they might have happened, snagging the loaded gun on his clothing and unintentionally causing it to discharge into his belly. Although he was fatally wounded, Vallandigham's demonstration proved his point, and the defendant, Thomas McGehan, was acquitted and released from custody. Surgeons probed for the pistol ball, thought to have lodged in the vicinity of his bladder, but were unable to locate it, and Vallandigham died the next day of peritonitis.. His last words expressed his faith in "that good old Presbyterian doctrine of predestination". McGehan was shot to death four years later in his saloon.

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Death by window:

Garry Hoy, 39, a lawyer with Toronto law firm Holden Day Wilson, died after crashing through a window and falling 24 floors to his death.

Hoy had a penchant for displaying to visitors the tensile strength of the windows of his office. He did this by running at the windows and shoulder charging the glass, liking the shock effect it caused. On this occasion in 1993, Hoy demonstrated the strength of the windows in the usual way to a group of visiting law students who wanted jobs with the firm. A first shoulder charge went fine, the would be interns were suitably shocked and astounded. A second charge did not go as well - the window glass popped out of its frame and fell to the ground 24 floors below. So did Hoy.

Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest'' members of the firm. 

The death was one of the contributing factors to a downhill slide of the firm which closed its doors in 1996 owing considerable debt.

According to, which authenticated the story, the same advice applies to architecture as it does to computers: don’t ever bet on windows not crashing.

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Death the winner:

Frank Hayes (1888–1923) was a jockey who, on June 4, 1923, suffered a fatal heart attack in the midst of a steeplechase at Belmont Park in New York State, USA. 

The thirty-five-year-old Hayes was a horse trainer and longtime stableman, rather than a jockey, and had never won a race before. Riding a 20-1 outsider called Sweet Kiss, Hayes died somewhere in the middle of the race but his body remained in the saddle throughout. Sweet Kiss eventually crossed the finish line by a head with Hayes still atop her back, making him the first, and thus far only, jockey known to have won a race after death. Hayes' death was not discovered until the owner and race officials came to congratulate him shortly after the race. It was believed that the fatal heart attack was probably brought on by Hayes' extreme efforts to meet the weight requirements, possibly followed by the excitement of riding to the front of the pack. After the discovery of Hayes' death, all further post-race regulations were waived by the Jockey Club, the result being declared official without the customary formality of weighing in. Hayes, dressed in his colourful racing silks, was buried three days later. Sweet Kiss was never ridden in a race again and was known as "Sweet Kiss of Death" for the rest of her life.

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