(and near misses)
|For those not familiar with the Darwin Award: Darwin Awards are (by definition) granted posthumously. This citation is bestowed upon (the remains of) that individual, who through single-minded self-sacrifice, has done the most to remove undesirable elements from the human gene pool by getting them selves killed in the stupidest fashion imaginable.|
Apparently, in Brazil, 3 people were flying in a plane
at low altitude, when another plane approached. For a lark, they
In an Inuit village, a young man was searching
for a way of getting drunk for free because he had no money to buy alcohol.
So he mixed gasoline with milk to get his buzz. After he drank it he
became ill and vomited on the
In September in Detroit, a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing head first through an 18-inch wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.
In October, a 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran," according to his wife, accidentally jogged off a 200-foot high cliff on his daily run.
Buxton, NC: A man died on a beach when an 8-foot-deep
hole he had dug into the sand caved in as he sat inside it.
In February, Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc, CA, as he fell face-first through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his mouth (to keep his hands free) rammed into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.
According to police in Dahlonega, GA, ROTC cadet Nick Berrena, 20, was stabbed to death in January by fellow cadet Jeffrey Hoffman, 23 who was trying to prove that a knife could not penetrate the flak vest Berrena was wearing.
Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed in February
in Selbyville, Del., as he won a bet with friends who said he
In February, according to police in Windsor, Ont., Daniel Kolta, 27, and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision, thus earning a tie in the game of chicken they were playing with their snowmobiles.
In September, a 7-year-old boy fell off a 100-foot-high
bluff near Ozark, Ark., after he lost his grip swinging on a
TACOMA, WA - Kerry Bingham, had been drinking with
several friends when one of them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped
from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the middle of traffic. The conversation
grew more heated
On February 3, 1990, a Renton, Washington man tried
to commit a robbery. This was probably his first attempt, as
2.The shop was full of customers, in a state
where a substantial portion of the adult population is licensed to carry
3.To enter the shop, he had to step around a marked Police patrol car parked at the front door;
4. An officer in uniform was standing next to
the counter, having coffee before reporting to duty. Upon seeing
In France, Jacques LeFevrier left nothing to chance when he decided to commit suicide. He stood at the top of a tall cliff and tied a noose around his neck. He tied the other end of the rope to a large rock. He drank some poison and set fire to his clothes. He even tried to shoot himself at the last moment. He jumped and fired the pistol. The bullet missed him completely and cut through the rope above him. Free of the threat of hanging, he plunged into the sea. The sudden dunking extinguished the flames and made him vomit the poison. He was dragged out of the water by a kind fisherman, and was taken to hospital, where he died of hypothermia.
DARWIN AWARD HONORABLE MENTIONS
1. In Guthrie, Okla., in October, Jason Heck tried to kill a millipede with a shot from his .22-caliber rifle, but the bullet ricocheted off a rock near the hole and hit pal Antonio Martinez in the head, fracturing his skull.
2. In Elyria, Ohio, in October, Martyn Eskins, attempting to clean out cobwebs in his basement, declined to use a broom in favor of a propane torch and caused a fire that burned the first and second floors of his house.
3. Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, NJ, in September, and his wife Bonnie was also injured, by a quarter-stick of dynamite that blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 AM, the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but they apparently failed to notice that the window was closed.
4. Taking "Amateur Night" Too Far: In Betulia, Colombia, an annual festival in November includes five days of amateur bullfighting. This year, no bull was killed, but dozens of matadors were injured, including one gored in the head and one Bobbittized. Said one participant, "It's just one bull against [a town of] a thousand Morons."
AND THE WINNER IS....
Japan Times-April 16, 1997 "The government must crack down on this disgusting craze of 'Pumping'", a spokesman for the Nakhon Ratchasima hospital told reporters. "If this perversion catches on, it will destroy the cream of Thailand's manhood." He was speaking after the remains of 13 year-old Charnchai Puanmuangpak had been rushed into the hospital's emergency room. "Most 'Pumpers' use a standard bicycle pump," he explained, "inserting the nozzle far up their rectum, giving themselves a rush of air, creating a momentary high. This act is a sin against God." It appears that the young Charnchai took it further still. He started using a two-cylinder foot pump, but even that wasn't exciting enough for him, so he boasted to friends that he was going to try the compressed air hose at a nearby gasoline station. They dared him to do it, so, under cover of darkness, he snuck in. Not realizing how powerful the machine was, he inserted the tube deep into his rectum, and placed a coin in the slot. As a result, he died virtually instantly, leaving passers-by still in shock. One woman thought she was watching a twilight fireworks display, and started clapping. "We still haven't located all of him", say the police authorities. "When that quantity of air interacted with the gas in his system, he nearly exploded. It was like an atom bomb went off or something." "Pumping is the devil's pastime, and we must all say no to Satan," Ratchasima concluded. "Inflate your tires by all means, but then hide your bicycle pump where it cannot tempt you." Let's hear it for Charnchai Puanmuangpak, the NEW 1998 undisputed Darwin Award recipient!
More Darwin Awards
This year the winner was one of the few Darwin Award nominees to survive his award-winning accomplishment.
In rural Carbon County, PA, a group of men were drinking
beer and discharging firearms from the rear deck of a home owned by
Irving Michaels, age 27. The men were firing at a raccoon that was wandering
by, but the beer apparently impaired their aim and, despite of the estimated
35 shots the group fired, the animal escaped into a 3 foot diameter
drainage pipe some 100 feet away from Mr. Michaels' deck.
Determined to terminate the animal, Mr. Michaels retrieved
a can of gasoline and poured some down the pipe, intending to smoke
the animal out. After several unsuccessful attempts to ignite the fuel,
Michaels emptied the entire 5 gallon fuel can down the pipe and tried
to ignite it again, to no avail. Not one
to admit defeat by wildlife, the determined Mr. Michaels proceeded to
slide feet-first approximately 15 feet down the sloping pipe to toss
the match. The subsequent rapidly expanding fireball propelled Mr. Michaels
back the way he had come, though at a much higher rate of speed.
He exited the angled pipe "like a Polaris missile leaves
a submarine," according to witness Joseph McFadden, 31. Mr.
Michaels was launched directly over his own home, right over the heads
of his astonished friends, onto his front lawn. In all, he traveled
over 200 feet through the air. "There was a Doppler Effect to his scream
as he flew over us," McFadden reported, "Followed by a loud thud."Amazingly,
he suffered only minor injuries. "It was actually pretty cool," Michaels
said, "Like when they shoot someone out of a cannon at the circus. I'd
do it again if I was sure I wouldn't get hurt." There
still is no word about the raccoon.
The Darwin Awards 1996
You may recall last year's Darwin Award winner: The man who found out moments before making a 300 MPH dent in an Arizona cliff that the JATO (jet assist take off) unit he'd strapped to his car could not be turned off once it was turned on.
The 1996 nominees are:
[Unknown, 25 March] A terrible diet and room with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas. There was no mark on his body but autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system. His diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods. It appears that the man died in his sleep from breathing from the poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal. But the man was shut up in his near airtight bedroom. He was ". . . a big man with a huge capacity for creating [this deadly gas]." Three of the rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.
[Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario] Man slips, falls 23 stories to his death. A man cleaning a bird feeder on his balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death, police said Monday. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair Sunday when the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer of the Peel regional police." It appears the chair moved and he went over the balcony," Honer said. "It's one of those freak accidents. No foul play is suspected."
[UPI, Toronto] Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" members of the 200-man association.
[AP, Cairo, Egypt, 31 Aug 1995 CAIRO, Egypt (AP)]
Six people drowned Monday while trying to rescue a chicken that had
fallen into a well in southern Egypt. An 18-year-old farmer was
the first to descend into the 60-foot well. He drowned, apparently
after an undercurrent in the water pulled him down, police said.
His sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well, went in one
by one to help him, but also drowned. Two elderly farmers then
came to help, but they apparently were pulled by the same undercurrent.
The bodies of the six were later pulled out of the well in
[Times of London] A thief who sneaked into a hospital
was scarred for life when he tried to get a suntan. After evading
security staff at Odstock Hospital in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and helping
himself to doctor's paging devices, the thief spotted a vertical sunbed.
He walked into the unit and removed his clothes for a 45-minute tan.
However, the high-voltage UV
More "intelligence-challenged" people 45 year-old Amy Brasher was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, after a mechanic reported to police that 18 packages of marijuana were packed in the engine compartment of the car which she had brought to the mechanic for an oil change. According to police, Brasher later said that she didn't realize that the mechanic would have to raise the hood to change the oil.
Portsmouth, R.I. Police charged Gregory Rosa, 25, with a string of vending machine robberies in January when he: 1. fled from police inexplicably when they spotted him loitering around a vending machine and 2. later tried to post his $400 bail in coins. Karen Lee Joachimi, 20, was arrested in Lake City, Florida, for robbery of a Howard Johnson's motel. She was armed with only an electric chainsaw, which was not plugged in.
The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 7:50 am, flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.
Police in Wichita, Kansas, arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport hotel after he tried to pass two (counterfeit) $16 bills.
A man in Johannesberg, South Africa, shot his 49-year-old friend in the face, seriously wounding him, while the two practiced shooting beer cans off each other's head.
A company trying to continue its five-year perfect safety record showed its workers a film aimed at encouraging the use of safety goggles on the job. According to Industrial Machinery News, the film's depiction of gory industrial accidents was so graphic that twenty-five workers suffered minor injuries in their rush to leave the screening room. Thirteen others fainted, and one man required seven stitches after he cut his head falling off a chair while watching the film.
The Chico, California, City Council enacted a ban on nuclear weapons, setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating one within city limits.
A bus carrying five passengers was hit by a car in St. Louis, but by the time police arrived on the scene, fourteen pedestrians had boarded the bus and had begun to complain of whiplash injuries and back pain.
Swedish business consultant Ulf af Trolle labored 13 years on a book about Swedish economic solutions. He took the 250-page manuscript to be copied, only to have it reduced to 50,000 strips of paper in seconds when a worker confused the copier with the shredder.
A convict broke out of jail in Washington D.C., then a few days later accompanied his girlfriend to her trialfor robbery. At lunch, he went out for a sandwich. She needed to see him, and thus had him paged. Police officers recognized his name and arrested him as he returned to the courthouse in a car the had stolen over the lunch hour.
Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect
by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires
to a photocopy machine. The message "He's lying" was placed in the copier,
and police pressed the
When two service station attendants in Ionia, Michigan, refused to hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber, the man threatened to call the police. They still refused, so the robber called the police and was arrested.
A Los Angeles man who later said he was "tired of walking," stole a steamroller and led police on a 5 mph chase until an officer stepped aboard and brought the vehicle to a stop.
My family and I went to Mesa Verde last summer. After
setting up camp we drove up to the main ruins to take the tour. The
park ranger explained who the "Anasazi" were and why they had settled
on the mesa. Finishing his speel, the ranger asked if there were any
questions about the cliff dwellings. A man asked, "Why did they build
them so far from the road?"
In case you've forgotten about the 1995 awardees, some of them are listed below:
James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described as a "farm-type truck." Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft."
[Kalamazoo Gazette, 4-1-95]
Bowling Green, Ohio, student Robert Ricketts, 19, had his head bloodied when he was struck by a Conrail train. He told police he was trying to see how close to the moving train he could place his head without getting hit.
In Wesley Chapel, Florida, Joseph Aaron, 20, was hit in the leg with pieces of the bullet he fired at the exhaust pipe of his car. When repairing the car, he needed to bore a hole in the pipe. When he couldn't find a drill, he tried to shoot a hole in it.
Not Darwin material but just as stupid
According to Gene Dumont, a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, a man once called to request that the deer-crossing signs on a road near his home be removed because a number of deer had been hit there. "He wanted the deer-crossing signs taken down," Dumont explained, "because he didn't want the deer to cross there anymore."
In a letter to the editor of a South Carolina newspaper, a reader wrote: "I am in favor of daylight saving time. I have planted a vegetable garden for many years and find it does much better with that extra hour of sunlightevery day!"
At a pharmacy, a woman asked to use the infant scale to weigh the baby she held in her arms. The clerk explained that the device was out for repairs, but said she would figure the infant's weight by weighing the woman and baby together on the adult scale, then weighing the mother alone and subtracting the second amount from the first. "It won't work," countered the woman. "I'm not the mother, I'm the grandmother."
DARWIN AWARD WINNER FOR 1997 ANNOUNCED
The 1995 winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine which toppled over on top of him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out of it.
In 1996 the winner was an air force sergeant who attached a JATO unit to his car and crashed into a cliff several hundred feet above the road bed.
And now, the 1997 winner:
Larry Waters of Los Angeles -- one of the few Darwin
winners to survive his award-winning accomplishment. Larry's
More "intelligence-challenged" people
45 year-old Amy Brasher was arrested in San Antonio,
Texas, after a mechanic reported to police that 18 packages of marijuana
were packed in the engine compartment of the car which she had brought
to the mechanic for an oil change. According to police, Brasher
later said that she didn't realize that the mechanic would have to raise
the hood to change
Portsmouth, R.I. Police charged Gregory Rosa, 25,
with a string of vending machine robberies in January
Karen Lee Joachimi, 20, was arrested in Lake City,
Florida, for robbery of a Howard Johnson's motel. She
Michael Anderson Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously.
He had spent several years awaiting South Carolina's electric chair
on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in
prison. Whilst sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and attempting
to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.
John Pernicky and friend Sal Hawkins, of Washington,
decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the Amphitheater at Gorge,
Washington. Having no tickets, but 18 beers
among them they sat in the parking lot and after finishing the beer,
decided that it would be easy enough to hop over the nine foot high
fence and sneak into the show. The two friends
pulled their pickup truck over to the fence and the plan was for John,
100 pounds heavier than Sal, to hop over, and then assist his friend
over the fence. Unfortunately for John, the Fence was a 30 foot drop
on the other side. Having heaved himself over he found himself crashing
through a tree, falling to the ground. His fall was abruptly stopped
by a large branch which had been snagged by his shorts. Dangling
from the tree, with one arm broken, John looked down
(back to Misc)