10 of the Most Bizarre, Disturbing Causes of Death, as Told by Medical Examiners

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Let’s be honest – we’re all a little obsessed with the morbid. We watch television shows like Bones and Dexter that showcase some pretty bizarre ways to kill and die, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With fall (and Halloween!) quickly approaching (or is that wishful thinking as I sit here sweating?), I thought you’d like a little extra morbidity in your life.

Please enjoy some bizarre, disturbing, and supposedly true stories of death as recounted by morgue workers, medical examiners, police officers, and more – all found in this original reddit thread.

#10. Terrible Luck

The short of it: Man died from endometrial cancer. Man had a transplant prior, woman who gave transplant had metastatic cancer that had spread to said organ unknowingly. Man survived transplant but cancer cells from the transplanted organ populated and he ending up dying from HER cancer.

#9.  There are Worse Things Than Going to the Doctor

Was a police officer and helped with a case where there was a guy in his 50s who died laying on his couch, he had told friends he wasnt feeling well for a couple days and figured it was some cardiac related event.


Ready for an irrational fear? Guy had undiagnosed hemochromotosis (high iron) that destroyed his liver, his ongoing cirrhosis and the livers inability to prosess blood as fast as it was being pumped cause vericose veins in the lining of his esophagus. This was a decades long process. One day one or more of the esophageal verices ruptures and the guy slowly bleeds to death through his digestive system while thinking he had a stomach bug or something only to die taking a nap.

Get regular physicals folks.

#8. Don’t Push It

A medical examiner was disturbed to find that a man had died from the everyday act of pooping. Apparently, he simply pushed too hard, his blood pressure dropped and that was it for him. Apparently it’s not an uncommon way to die… (New irrational fear?)

#7. Don’t Lose Your Head

A man went to hang himself, but when he jumped off of his apartment balcony he left so much slack that it took his head off. His head was on one lady’s balcony and his body was on the ground. When we were there, we couldn’t find the head so we had to knock on a couple doors where the rope was hanging to in order to find it.

#6. Taking ‘Man Up’ to a Whole New Level

I worked at a funeral home for a few years. First ever house call I took was to pick up a guy who died at home. I heard from his son that the man hadn’t been to the doctors in 20 years. So we take him to the medical examiner and discover he had a hernia on his scrotum, causing it to be the size of a football. Not sure how he lived with that thing, but he was wearing jeans and a jockstrap to keep that thing in. His toenails looked like dragon toenails as he obviously couldn’t bend over to clip them. You know it’s a bad case when the medical examiner calls another medical examiner on duty to say “hey dude, come check this out.”

#5. Just…How, Though?

A woman accidentally inhaled a bee and it stung her. Apparently she was allergic. It took a whole week to figure out what killed her...

#4. It’s the Legs That’re Sticky

Edward Archbold, 32, of West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., died after winning a cockroach eating contest. The cause of death was determined to be accidental choking due to “arthropod body parts”.

#3. Cause of Death: Pride

A man in his 40’s died from sepsis from multiple arm fractures that he got in an arm wrestling contest. Why multiple fractures? Because even after cracking his humerus (upper arm bone) a bit, he couldn’t bear to lose, so he just wrapped it up with some kind of splint, had some guy hold the fracture (just a crack at that point) and went for best 2 out of 3, whereupon he snapped the humerus all the way through, and broke his radius and ulna when he slammed his arm down on the edge of the table in anger. One of the lower arm bones protruded through the skin, and being too cheap/too stupid to see a doctor, the wound became gangrenous, and the infection entered his bloodstream. He died of septicemia a few weeks later.

#2. At Least Your Circulatory System Works?

A small piece of shrapnel from the bullet wasn’t removed when he was shot, but he was completely fine for 30 years. Then it found its way into his circulatory system close to his heart, made its way into the man’s right ventricle and caused a heart attack. IIRC the man who had shot him was sent to prison for a few years and released, but was subsequently arrested and charged with murder.

#1. The Horror…

My friend is a registered nurse. Apparently it’s not uncommon for cats or small dogs to eat the hands and face off a dead or incapacitated owner. His worst was an elderly woman who was paralyzed, but not killed, by a stroke and her little dog ate all her exposed skin before she was found. She died several hours after being admitted to the hospital.

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