Unusual deaths: 10 stupid ways to die from the Victorian Era

Credit: AMilkin /iStock

“There is no such thing as a stupid way to die”… After you have read the list of strange deaths below you might think otherwise!  Here are 10 unusual deaths from the Victorian period that will either send shivers down your spine or make you smile uncomfortably…. 

The reign of Queen Victoria was a marked period of history.  It was a turning point in terms of the Industrial Revolution which paved the way for more modern technology.  Scientists, like Charles Darwin who published his famous theory on evolution, made ground breaking discoveries while Gothic literature became a new popular genre.  Despite the refined circles of aristocrats at the time some people could not escape a fatal end. Whether it was in the world of fashion, academia or theatre… Here are 10 unusal deaths from the Victorian era!

1/ Fashion suicide

Your appearance and style was very important during the Victorian Era.  In 1861, the wife of Napoléon III who was renowned for her beauty wore a green dress which everyone admired.  This superb emerald green colour become a wardrobe essential!  So that dress manufacturers could obtain this dye, the fabrics were apparently mixed with copper and arsenic, a mortal poison.

A florist called Matilda Scheurer suffered the consequences as she died from this powder which she used to make artificial flowers.  Although everyone thought it was an accident.  It was far from the case.  The young woman had in fact committed suicide after she obtained the substance from a supplier with no difficulty at all!

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Credits: Public Domain Pictures

2/ The dance of the dead

Marion Hillitz died in 1878 after suffering from an illness for a long time.  Her friends and relatives gathered around her open cask to say their last goodbyes.  However they were shocked to see the deceased sit up straight in he cask.  She then cried out “I’m not dead yet, but I will be soon”, before proceeding to dance and sing around the room.  As the old women predicted, she died in the night following this strange event…

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Credits: GIPHY

3/ A mouse in your throat

In 1878 a factory worker was frightened by a mouse running around his workshop.  A colleague came to help him get rid of the rodent.  After a chase similar to a scene from Tom & Jerry, they ended up catching the mouse.  However the mouse was no fool and managed to release itself from the man’s hand and then disappear up the sleeve and out through the top of his collar.  The man, with his mouth wide open, was taken aback as the rodent launched into his mouth for security.  However the man died from the trauma as the mouse became excited and started to bite the inside of his throat and chest.

Credits: Pexels

4/ A lazy head’s death

Sam Wardell was a lamp lighter in New York.  This work which no longer exists today was essential for city dwellers in the 19th century.  Slightly before night fell, people like Sam Wardell would light the gas lamps in the town streets.  However they also have to wake up early so they could be switched off at day break. The problem was Sam Wardwell wasn’t a morning person.  So that he wasn’t late for work he devised a strange technique.  With a wire chord he attached a heavy stone weighing 5 kg to the bell of his alarm. He then placed the alarm on a shelf.  When the bell had stopped ringing the stone would then fall to the floor and Sam would jump from his bed!

This unusual method had worked for years.  However Sam organised a party at his house on Christmas Eve in 1885.  He ended up having to move furniture around to make room for his guests.  However he didn’t replace his furniture before going to bed. Unfortunately the following morning the stone crushed his head as it fell from the shelf… One of the most silly ways to die!

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Credits: it’s me neosiam/Pexels

5/ Double burial

In 1872, Henry Taylor worked as a casket carrier. Accompanied by five other men, he was responsible for bringing a coffin to a London cemetery. The UK is known for wet weather and that day was no exception. Once beside the grave, Henry Taylor and his colleagues had to turn around so that the body would in the right direction when it was buried. However Henry Taylor slipped and fell to the ground.  This was his death sentence as his colleagues released the coffin so they wouldn’t collapse as well.  However the coffin crushed Taylor who still on the ground, killing him instantly…