Steve Eighinger

A vat of human waste or shaft to the groin? I'll take the recliner and Classic Coke

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 4, 2020 12:01 am

Ideally, I think I would probably like to leave this world while resting in my favorite recliner while watching a Cleveland Indians baseball game and sipping on an ice cold glass of Classic Coke -- with plenty of ice.

Who knows whether or not that will actually happen -- and I'm in no hurry, believe me -- but there are definitely some paths I do not want my exit to include.

For example:

Monica Meyer, who in 1980 was serving as the mayor of Betterton, Md., died while checking her town's sewage tanks. She fell in and drowned in 15 feet of human waste.

A gentleman named Edward Harrison was playing golf in Washington state in 1951 when his driver snapped, and the shaft lodged in his groin. He reportedly staggered about 100 yards before bleeding to death.

It was called the Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919. Twenty-three people died when a massive tank of molasses burst on a warm day, sending a 25-foot high wave of sweetener through the city at a robust 35 mph.

The London Beer Flood of 1814 (seriously, that was it was called) claimed eight lives when a giant vat at a brewery burst. More than 3,500 barrels of beer poured though the nearby streets, creating a tidal wave of brewski.

In 1923, jockey Frank Hayes won a race at famed Belmont Park in New York -- despite being dead. Hayes suffered a heart attack mid-race, but his body stayed in the saddle until his horse crossed the finish line. The horse paid off at 20-1 odds.

An Austrian tailor named Franz Reichelt thought he'd invented a device in 1912 that would allow men to fly. Reichelt tested his creation by jumping off the Eiffel Tower. It didn't work.

I've always heard the early days of live television were interesting, but I'm guessing this was the exception and not the norm. British actor Gareth Jones died of a heart attack while performing in a live televised play in 1958 – in which his character was scripted to have a heart attack. The rest of the cast improvised around his death and finished the play.

Engineer Horace Lawson Hunley pioneered submarine design in the American Civil War – although most of them sank, including his final model, named after himself. Unfortunately, Hunley was in command of that final creation.

Granted, these are all rather strange deaths, but this one might be the gold-medal winner. Sigurd the Mighty, a ninth-century Norse earl of Orkney, was killed by an enemy he had beheaded several hours earlier. It seems Sigurd the Mighty tied the man's head to his horse's saddle, but while riding home one of head's protruding teeth grazed his leg. Sigurd the Mighty later died from the ensuing infection.

To review, among the items we've touched on have been dying in a vat of human waste, a shaft to the groin, being drowned by molasses and beer and bad luck (see Sigurd the Mighty).

Hmmm ....

I think I'll still choose the recliner and Classic Coke.