- 458 BC: Aeschylus,a Greek playwright, was killed when an eagle dropped a live tortoise on him, mistaking his bald head for a stone. The tortoise survived.
- 4 BC: Herod the Great suffered from fever, intense rashes, colon pains, foot drop, inflammation of the abdomen, a putrefaction of his genitals that produced worms, convulsions, and difficulty breathing before he finally gave up.
- 336: Arius, a Unitarian Christian priest who precipitated the Council of Nicea, passed wind and evacuated his internal organs.
- 1327: Edward II of England, after being deposed and imprisoned by his Queen consort Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, was rumored to have been murdered by having a red-hot iron inserted into his anus.
- 1410: Martin I of Aragon died from a lethal combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing.
- 1599: Nanda Bayin, a Burman king, reportedly “laughed to death when informed, by a visiting Italian merchant, that Venice was a free state without a king.”
- 1671: François Vatel, chef to Louis XIV, committed suicide because his seafood order was late and he couldn’t stand the shame of a postponed meal. His body was discovered by an aide, sent to tell him of the arrival of the fish.
- 1947: The Collyer brothers, extreme cases of compulsive hoarders, were found dead in their home in New York. The younger brother, Langley, died by falling victim to a booby trap he had set up, causing a mountain of objects, books, and newspapers to fall on him crushing him to death. His blind brother, Homer, who had depended on Langley for care, died of starvation some days later. Their bodies were recovered after massive efforts in removing many tons of debris from their home.
- 1959: In the Dyatlov Pass incident, Nine ski hikers in the Ural Mountains abandoned their camp in the middle of the night in apparent terror, some clad only in their underwear despite sub-zero weather. Six of the hikers died of hypothermia and three by unexplained fatal injuries. Though the corpses showed no signs of struggle, one victim had a fatal skull fracture, two had major chest fractures (comparable in force to a car accident), and one was missing her tongue. The victims’ clothing also contained high levels of radiation. Soviet investigators determined only that “a compelling unknown force” had caused the deaths, barring entry to the area for years thereafter.
- 1981: Jeff Dailey, a 19-year-old gamer, became the first known person to die while playing video games. After achieving a score of 16,660 in the arcade game Berzerk, he succumbed to a massive heart attack. A year later, an 18-year-old gamer died after achieving high scores in the same game.
- 1998: Every player on the visiting soccer team at a game in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was struck by a fork bolt of lightning, killing them all instantly.