February 23rd, 2015
This is one award you don't want to win
Last night the highly acclaimed Academy Awards took place. All year actors, actresses and directors desire to win the prestigious Oscar. However, there is an award that you might not want to win.
Every year, there are countless cases of people causing their own deaths due to their stupidity or carelessness. These people are often posthumously presented with a Darwin Award, a tongue-in-cheek honour loosely based off scientist Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
The Darwin Awards recognize individuals who willingly eliminate themselves from the human gene pool due to their own actions. Keep in mind that these people are all sane and capable of sound judgment (which they choose not to exercise).
It’s also important to note that some of these deaths could be misconstrued as an act of suicide. Within the first two policy years many life insurance companies will look at the details surrounding the death and could reject a claim if it looked like a suicide. Premature death is no joke when it comes to your life insurance paying out.
Let’s take a look at seven popular Darwin Award winners from all over the world.
Selfie With An Elephant Gone Wrong
2014 was the year of the selfie (a self-portrait photograph normally taken by a handheld camera). Anyone who frequents social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has no doubt seen plenty.
Two Kenyan nationals, Leonard Tonui and Michael Shikuku, decided to take the concept of a selfie picture to the next level when they attempted to capture a selfie with a wild elephant.
Unfortunately for the two would-be photographers, the angry elephant trampled them to death and then proceeded to bury their bodies in the brush. Authorities would later hunt down and kill the elephant, resulting in a sad ending for all parties.
We’ve all experienced that frustrating feeling after rushing to an open elevator only to just have the doors close in your face at the last second.
A Korean man on a wheelchair took this frustrating feeling too far. After narrowly missing an elevator, the man—whose name wasn’t released by authorities—angrily slammed his wheelchair against the elevator door.
The door gave away a little and dangerously bent backwards. Undeterred, the man reversed his wheelchair and accelerated into the door again. This time, the door bent back completely and the man rolled headlong into the elevator shaft. He later died from his injuries.
There’s something about the sight of train tracks that prompts certain people to act stupidly and make careless decisions.
Two men from Holland were guilty of this and paid dearly for their lapse in judgment. While waiting at a train station following a soccer game, the men dared each other to a test of courage (although it really was more of test of stupidity).
One of the men laid himself flat between the rails on the track, hoping that the train would harmlessly pass over him. The other man knelt beside the track and leaned his head forward, intending to pull it back once the train approached.
Unfortunately for the two daredevils, the train was lower and wider than they had expected. Both of them died instantly as it passed over them while travelling at a speed of 130 kilometres per hour.
Can Crime Can Be “Toxic” To Your Health?
24-year-old Thomas James intended to rob a convenience store in North Carolina, but didn’t want his identity exposed while committing the crime.
Rather than buying a mask or a balaclava, James instead spray-painted his face gold in order to disguise himself. He disregarded the toxic label on the spray paint can which warned users to keep the product away from their eyes and nose.
Shortly after the robbery, Thomas collapsed and stopped breathing. He would fall into a coma and end up passing away. The cause of death was attributed to the toxic fumes emanating from the spray paint on his face.
Gasoline And Cigarettes Don’t Mix
It doesn’t exactly take a genius to know that gasoline can be ignited really easily. Unfortunately, 43-year-old Gary Banning wasn’t aware of this obvious fact.
Banning’s misadventure started when he mistook a glass of gasoline for a drink while at a friend’s house. Banning drank from the glass, but quickly realized his mistake and spat the gasoline out.
Just when it looked like Banning had caught himself in time and avoided a major accident, he proceeded to go outside and light up a cigarette.
What happened next was entirely predictable. Banning’s clothes and skin still had traces of gasoline on them and immediately caught fire, burning him to death.
The Human Anchor
Before we get into this story, you’ll need to know what the Shopping Cart Game is. This activity involves a shopping cart anchored to a fixed object near a dock or a pier. While the shopping cart is on the dock, someone climbs inside. The cart is then rolled by others into a body of water. Once the cart splashes into the water, the rider climbs out and the cart is reeled back in.
18-year-old Chance Werner and his friends were playing this game one evening when Werner decided to do something inexplicably stupid: be the anchor himself. The young man tied the line connected to the shopping cart around his own waist.
Without the line connecting the shopping cart to a fixed object, it sank quickly once pushed into the water. Poor Werner was dragged underwater along with the cart. His drowned body was found a few hours later, still tied to the cart.
That Didn’t Taste Right…
Let’s end this piece with a local Canadian story.
A man washing a Beer Store truck found a vodka bottle with bright blue liquid under the driver’s seat of the vehicle. With the truck belonging to the well-known beer supplying company, the man assumed that this liquid was an alcoholic beverage. He opened the bottle and drank the liquid.
What the main failed to realise is that Vodka is traditionally a clear liquid. As it turns out this bright blue liquid was windshield wiper fluid, left behind from a previous practice of the company's truck drivers refilling empty liquor bottles with windshield washer fluid from a large tank.
Unfortunately, the man still didn’t figure this out even after taking a chug from the bottle. He even took the bottle home and continued drinking from it! Over the next two days, the man would get sick and ultimately die from methanol poisoning. No one knows if he ever realized the cause of his sickness before passing away.