A Little Trivia About Death

Trivia About DeathJerome Rodale, who founded The Rodale Press publishing house, was taping an interview on the Dick Cavett Talk show. He was bragging about how he was so healthy he’d live to be 100 when he slumped over, dead from a heart attack. The show was never broadcast to the public because it’d be kinda funny.

Pope Johann XII died at age 18 after being beaten to death by his lover’s husband.

Jim Fixx, who wrote “The Complete Book of Running” and lectured about how running and a healthy diet would promote longevity, dropped dead from a heart attack while running. An autopsy revealed he had 3 massively blocked heart arteries.

In ancient Japan, it was thought that somewhere on the tail of a cat there was a single hair that would restore life to a dying person. Relatives would sometimes bring a cat to the dying person, letting them pluck a hair to try their luck. So they’d die anyway, but with a cat swatting their face with their claws…

It’s impossible to kill yourself by holding your breath, so if a kid pulls that on you, say, “That’s nice, dear. Go right ahead..”

Cosmic Irony – The person who wrote the famous song, “Keep the Home Fires Burning” burnt to death when their home caught fire.

In 1970, television newsman Chris Hubbock announced, “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of always bringing you the latest in gore and guts in living color, you’re about to see another first – an attempted suicide”. Then she pulled out a gun and fatally shot herself in the head.

Eric II, King of Denmark, died in 1104. He was known as Eric the Memorable. No one remembers why.

Nosophilia refers to those who get sexually aroused by the knowledge that a partner is terminally ill. They will even stake out support groups for those with terminal illness like others flock to dating services, pretending to have had a family member or friend that passed from the disease, which is why they’re there “trying to learn”. . Oh, so that’s why they’re so attentive and understanding!

Napoleon killed over a thousand people with a cough. In 1799 he was deciding whether to release 1,200 Turkish prisoners of war when he coughed and said, “Ma sacré toux!” (my darned cough) which sounded to officers like “Massacrez tous!” (Kill them all!). So they did.

Paul Revere was the fist person to ever identify a body by dental records. He recognized the dead man because of work he had done joining two teeth together with silver wire.

The most expensive funeral so far was that of Alexander the Great. It’d cost about $600,000,000 in today’s money. One of the reasons was the building of a road from Babylon to Alexandria, big enough move a jewel studded hearse the size of a small building which was pulled by 64 horses.

The French playwright Molière became sick and died while playing the role of a hypochondriac in his play “The Imaginary Invalid”.

Necrosadism is sadistic acts on corpses for sexual arousal. Jeffrey Dahmer as well as most serial killers do this. Some say that he put bodystockings on the victims.

Mummies were so plentiful when first discovered that they were ground up and sold as fertilizer and put into medicines

The residents of death row in Texas are forbidden to smoke. Guess they’re afraid they’d get cancer and die.

Mysophilia is the practice of ingesting the body fluids of corpses, particularly urine.

A few months before he got killed in a car accident, James Dean made a driver’s safety TV ad in which he said, “Drive safely; the life you save may be mine”.

Elvis and Charles Schultz were the #1 and #2 money earning dead people in 2002. Elvis made $31 million; Schultz made $9 million.

Playwright Tennessee Williams died after choking on the cap of a bottle of eyedrops (one man wrote me to say he knew a woman who knew TW personally and that it had been an aspirin bottle cap). He was a habitual pill-taker and drunk, and in an impaired state he put the cap in his mouth, mistaking it for another pill. It got stuck; The End.

Mark Twain, born on a year Halley’s Comet visited us, correctly predicted he would die the next time it came by.

It is a myth that the hair and nails grow after death; the skin shrinks, giving the illusion of their growth.

Seven breeds of dog account for 98% of all fatal dog attacks. In order they are: Pit Bull, German Shepherd, Chow, Malamute, Husky, Wolf Hybrids, and the Akita. Mothers-in-Law ranked # 11.

Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, CA is the largest in the U.S. – 1200 acres in four parks.

Crematoria ovens heat typically to 1,100-1,300 F and will burn up a 180 lb. man in about an hour and a half. There’s always bones and chunks left; everything is then ground up and those are the ‘ashes’ you get back.

President Abraham Lincoln was so distraught over his young son Willie dying, he had his coffin exhumed twice so he could look at him again.

The Cunard Line, which owns the Queen Elizabeth II, has a service by which relatives can book passage for deceased if they want to be buried at sea.

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry is the first person to have their ashes put aboard a rocket and “buried” in space.

The word ‘mausoleum’ comes from the memorial tomb of Mausolus, ruler of Caria, who died in 353 B.C. When he died his wife had him cremated, mixed his ashes with water, and drank him.

The tradition of funeral wreaths originated from the belief that the wreath would encircle the spirit of the dead and keep it at bay.

The Mount of Olives in Israel is the oldest, continually used cemetery in the world.

In 1355, when King Pedro of Portugal was crowned, he dug up his mistress to have her properly honored as queen. Loyal subjects bowed before the decorated corpse and had to kiss her hand.

By law, all executed criminals in the U.S. have to have an autopsy to determine cause of death.

It’s a myth that more people commit suicide around “the holidays”; in fact it’s quite the opposite.

A body decomposes four times faster in water than on land.

Last words of Thomas Grasso, executed in 1995: “I did not get my Spaghetti-O’s, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this”.

If you’re planning on being cryogenically frozen, the ideal time to start the procedure is within 10 minutes of death.

The first recorded means of execution is stoning. It was usually a public participation sport, and it was considered bad form to hit the victim in the head. The preferred method was to keep the victim conscious and suffering for as long as possible from internal injuries and broken bones. Think that’s horrible? They still do this in some countries. To women.

Only. Dr. Joseph Guillotin did not invent the guillotine; he just persuaded officials to use it as a means of executions because of it’s speed and efficiency. It is a myth that he died by the device.

Henry the VIII executed some 72,000 subjects. His favorite method was boiling people to death .

The ashes of astronomer Eugene Shoemaker were put aboard the 1999 Lunar Prospector flight and was “control” crashed into a crater to give him a moon burial.

Only four U.S. States are on record as having never engaged in a lynching – Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

William Kemmler was the first person to be executed in the electric chair in 1890, at Auburn Prison in New York. It was a disaster. The executioner had to administer several rounds of juice while Kemmler kicked, seared, smoked, thrashed and convulsed, finally dying after 8 minutes. An autopsy showed he literally cooked to death, from the inside out.

Lethal injection was first used in 1982. Three separate drugs are used, starting with a barbiturate which knocks the victim out.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, it was not a federal felony to kill a President of the United States.

Singer Steve Goodman had his ashes buried under the home plate in Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

An eternal flame lamp at the tomb of a Buddhist priest in Nara, Japan has been tended to and kept burning for 1,131 years (2008).

Utah and Ohio are the only states which still can execute by firing squad.

The name of the pilot of the ill-fated TWA Flight 800 which exploded over New York, was Ralph Kevorkian.

The first drive-in mortuary was opened in Atlanta in 1968 by Hirschel Thornton. While the deceased rested behind a glass wall, those wanting to pay last respects could drive by without having to get out of their cars.

From the 1850s to the 1880s, the most common reason for death among cowboys in the American West was being dragged by a horse while their foot was still caught in the stirrups.

Tens of millions of people died of smallpox but now there are only two live samples of the virus left in the world. Both are in sealed test tubes; one is in a lab in Moscow and the other is at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The last reported case of smallpox in the world was in 1978 in England, when the virus accidentally escaped from a lab. Most smallpox photos you see showing “smallpox” these days are some horrible black pustules that are the product of the archaic mercury treatments that they used to give – not the smallpox.

When Thomas Edison died in 1931, his pal Henry Ford trapped the inventor’s last dying breath in a bottle.

A taphophile is a person who is interested in the history and art of cemeteries, funerals and gravestones

When the first landing party went to Krakatoa after the 1883 eruption, the only living thing they found on the entire island was one spider, who was spinning a new web.

King Cambyses of Persia (525 BC) marched 50,000 troops into the desert to attack Amun, on the Libyan border. A sandstorm of epic proportions boiled up and buried them all.

The leading cause of death to military personnel in peace time is drunk driving.

Murderers, on average, are 7.5 years younger than their victims.

The Viet Nam Memorial has the names of 38 people engraved on it who are listed as killed, but weren’t.

Extreme cold is more lethal to humans than extreme heat. Cold makes you sleepy, and when you fall asleep, you die.

Actor Bela Lagosi was buried in his favorite Dracula cape.

Funeral directors in Florida get 500 frequent flyer miles for every corpse they ship out of Daytona Beach International Airport.

Japanese factory worker Kenji Urada became the first known fatality ’caused by robot’ in July, 1981, in a car plant.

It would take more than 2.5 minutes to fall from the top of Mt. Everest.

It’s a myth that there’s a “curse of King Tut’s tomb” and ‘most ‘ of the people who were present at the opening of the tomb died swift, horrible deaths. Of the 22 present at it’s opening, 21 were alive 10 years later.

The death of George V was timed so it’d make the morning papers.

In the ‘old days’ men and women used a Laff Riot of deadly substances for cosmetics, which would often lead to their insanity and death. Lead was used for that pale white skin in the form of Lead white and Venetian Ceruse, which was absorbed into the skin, into the tissues and blood and caused acute lead poisoning. Mercury, in the form of mercury sublimate or “Solman’s Water” was used to remove warts and bleach freckles. Belladonna, a fatally toxic hallucinogen, was used to redden cheeks and lips.

It’s said that most people who commit suicide ‘arrange’ it so the people/person they want to ‘punish’ or give a final “See I told you so” find the body.

Armadillos and humans are the only animals that get leprosy.

The most common animal people on their death beds or in death hallucinations/visions report seeing is a grey or black dog.

More men than women commit suicide over love affairs gone wrong.

In the 20 years of the Great California Gold Rush (1849) about 300,000 died from disease and 362 were killed by Indians.

When Anne Boleyn was beheaded, so was her dog, Urian.

It’s estimated that in one hour, Genghis Khan’s army killed 1,748,000 people. Each of his men was ordered to kill as many people as they could until they dropped from exhaustion, and bring the ears of the victims to the officers for proof.

Chocolate is lethal to dogs. Doesn’t take much.

Elephants have been known to die of broken hearts if a mate dies. They refuse to eat and will lay down, shedding tears until they starve to death. They refuse all human help.

Union General John Sedgewick was killed during the Battle of Spotsylvania on May 9, 1864 while sitting on his horse and making the comment that the confederate troops were so inept that they “couldn’t hit an elephant from this dis – – – ” Those were his last words.

Direct Dialing inspired by death – Almon Strowger was one of two undertakers who worked in Kansas City in the 1800s. When a dear friend died, he thought it was pretty strange he hadn’t been called by the family to take care of the funeral arrangements. It just so happened that the only telephone operator in Kansas City, who received and directed all the city’s phone calls, was the other undertaker’s wife. Hmmm…. Strowger didn’t get mad, he got even. He invented the world’s first automatic telephone exchange system (and the first dial phone) making it possible for people to dial numbers directly and not have to use operators.

3 thoughts on “A Little Trivia About Death”

  1. Good to see your post addressing the death of singer/songwriter Steve Goodman. He often doesn’t get his due. You might be interested in my 800-page biography, “Steve Goodman: Facing the Music.” The book delves deeply into the myth that he is buried under home plate of Wrigley Field. In fact, the book goes into detail about the location of his ashes, some of which indeed are at Wrigley but not where you might think they are.

    You can find out more at my Internet site (below). Amazingly, the book’s first printing sold out in just eight months, all 5,000 copies, and a second printing of 5,000 is available now. The second printing includes hundreds of little updates and additions, including 30 more photos for a total of 575. It just won a 2008 IPPY (Independent Publishers Association) silver medal for biography: http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=1231. To order a second-printing copy, see the “online store” page of my site. Just trying to spread word about the book. Feel free to do the same!

    Clay Eals
    1728 California Ave. S.W. #301
    Seattle, WA 98116-1958

    (206) 935-7515
    (206) 484-8008

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