Death Trivia & Facts
- A body decomposes four times as fast in water than on land.
- A dentist invented the Electric Chair.
- The last rat-borne plague epidemic in the United States occurred in Los Angeles in 1924-25. In the United States during the 1980s plague cases averaged about 18 per year. Most of the cases occurred in persons under 20 years of age. Source
- A human head can remain conscious for about 15 to 20 seconds after it is decapitated. French physician Dr. Gabriel Beaurieux witnessed the beheading of a man named Languille. He wrote that immediately afterward, "the eyelids and lips ... worked in irregularly rhythmic contractions for about five or six seconds." Dr. Beaurieux called out his name and said that Languille's eyelids "slowly lifted up, without any spasmodic contraction" and that "his pupils focused themselves"
[source: Kershaw, Alister. "A History of the Guillotine." New York : Barnes & Noble, 1993]
But according to Dr. Harold Hillman, consciousness is "probably lost within 2-3 seconds, due to a rapid fall of intracranial perfusion of blood"
[source: Hillman, Harold "An unnatural way to die." New Scientist, October 27, 1983, pg 276-278.]
- A murder is committed in the US every 23 minutes, which makes about 22852 murders each year.
- About 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens each year. Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the death of their cats.
- Burials in America deposit 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid—formaldehyde, methanol, and ethanol—into the soil each year. Cremation pumps dioxins, hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide into the air.
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Orange County, California. Number one is heart disease.
- Cockroaches can live for nine days without their heads, at which point they die of starvation.
- Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for about 180,000 deaths per year.
- Dr. Alice Chase, who wrote 'Nutrition for Health', died of malnutrition. (not verified)
- Each year in America there are about 300,000 deaths that can be attributed to obesity.
- Followers of the Zoroastrian religion leave their dead atop a local tower, where vultures handle the nasty business of disposing the spiritually impure flesh.
- In 1845, President Andrew Jackson's pet parrot was removed from his funeral for swearing.
- In 1992, approximately 750 deaths occurred in the United States due to workplace violence.
- Ralph Nader says that in 1991, 300,000 Americans were killed in hospitals as a result of medical negligence.
- In 19th-century Europe there was so much anecdotal evidence that living people were mistakenly declared dead that cadavers were laid out in "hospitals for the dead" while attendants awaited signs of putrefaction.
- In Erwin, Tennessee an elephant was once hanged for murder. Source
- In the Spanish Pyrenees, when a beekeeper dies, each of his bees is splashed with a drop of Black Ink.
- In the United States, poisoning is the fourth leading cause of death among children.
- Influenza caused over twenty-one million deaths in 1918.
- Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously - it can kill you.
- On average, people fear spiders more than they do dying. However, statistically you are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by the bite of a poisonous spider. Read More
- On average, right-handed people live 9 years longer than their left-handed counterparts.
- Only one in two billion people will live to be 116 or older.
- Over 2500 left handed people are killed each year from using products made for right handed people.
- Over the last 50 years in the United States, approximately 9,000 people have died as a result of tornadoes, 5,000 as the result of floods, and 4,000 as the result of hurricanes.
- The Buddhist priest and mystic, Kukai, who died on 23 April 835, is believed by his followers to have become a 'Buddha in his own body' by mummifying himself while still alive.
- The leading cause of deaths for children between the ages of 1 and 4 are motor vehicle crashes.
- The most extraordinary thing about the Tarim mummies of Xinjiang province in China is that these naturally-preserved bodies are not Chinese but Caucasian.
- Discovered in the Takla Makan desert, the mummies are dressed in what has been described as a 'Celtic tartan' style of clothing.
- The practice of burying the dead may date back 350,000 years, as evidenced by a 45-foot-deep pit in Atapuerca, Spain, filled with the fossils of 27 hominids of the species Homo heidelbergensis, a possible ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.
- The tiny poison arrow frog has enough poison to kill over 2200 people!
- When a person dies, hearing is generally the last sense to go. The first sense lost is usually sight. Then follows taste, smell, and touch.
- When Thomas Edison died in 1941; Henry Ford captured his last dying breath in a bottle.
- When Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of the Russian Revolution, died in 1924, his body was mummified and placed on display at the Kremlin wall in Moscow.
- One pound of body weight will yield roughly 1 cubic inch of ashes.
- With cryonics, you can just "freeze" your head and choose a body when science is advanced enough to revive you. Let's all take a moment and think about the kind of body we would choose.
- Some statistics state that the carbon emissions from a cremation equal that of cooking a hamburger.
- One company makes furniture that can later be converted into your casket.
- When you donate your body to a body farm, it will be placed outdoors in a protected research facility and left to decompose. The up side is you get to help catch the bad guys.
- Your ashes can be made into lead for a pencil that will be used to draw your portrait.
- Contrary to urban myth, there is no public health risk if the body is not embalmed.
- The items most requested to be buried with the body are cell phones and Blackberries.
- You can still be mummiﬁed but it comes with a $67,000 price tag.
- You can be buried at sea in a living coral reef.
- Costco and Wal-Mart sell caskets!
- For about $35 you can buy a cofﬁn for your wedding ring and then perhaps bury it or mail it to your ex-spouse.
- You can buy caskets shaped like kites, surfboards or beer bottles.
- The latest rage is to have a solar-powered panel containing a multimedia tribute to the deceased mounted on the monument or memorial marker. Who says baby boomers are self-absorbed?
- Aeschylus, the Greek poet and dramatist, was killed when an eagle flying overhead dropped a turtle on his head. Source
- Ancient Egyptians preserved the dead bodies of their royalty by first sealing them with bandages and then coating it with a mixture of wax, oil and salt. The Persian translation of wax was mum. Hence the name mummy for these preserved dead bodies.
- Don’t drink that alcohol!!! Ethyl alcohol (grain alcohol) is what we order from a bartender, but methyl alcohol (wood alcohol) is something quite different. When consumed, methyl alcohol is absorbed into the body, begins a chemical transition to formaldehyde, and begins to essentially embalm the individual from the inside. Source: TLC --60 to 240 ml (2.3 to 8.16 oz) kills most adults, but reported deaths have occurred from as little as 30 ml (1.01 oz)-- 15 ml (0.51 oz) can cause permanent blindness. For a little perspective, the average shot glass is 1.5 oz., so it doesn’t take much!
- Scotland is estimated to have been Europe's biggest persecutor of witches, putting to death over 4,000 alleged witches in the 17th and 18th centuries. Burning was used till the late 17th century, then hanging. The last hanging took place in 1728.
Presidential "grave" facts
1. Most-visited presidential grave: John F. Kennedy's in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
2. The only other president buried in Arlington: William Howard Taft.
3. The only president buried in Washington, D.C. proper: Woodrow Wilson, who was laid to rest in the National Cathedral.
4. The only president buried on the grounds of a state capitol: James Polk in Nashville, Tenn.
5. The only presidents buried together: John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams are in a basement crypt in Quincy, Mass.
6. The two presidents who died on the same day: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died July 4, 1826.
7. The states with the most presidential burial sites: Ohio and Virginia (tie).