Need a break from the holiday cheer? At the BBC, Jeremy Clay offers a list of weird and horrifying 19th-century deaths, which from the vantage point of centuries later are also darkly amusing. Among them:
- After causing a stir in a London factory in 1875, a mouse literally killed a guy. The man caught a mouse running through a factory, but it managed to scurry up his sleeve. He opened his mouth in surprise—and the mouse dove in. On its way down his throat, it "began to tear and bite inside the man's throat and chest, and the result was that the unfortunate fellow died after a little time in horrible agony," a newspaper said at the time.
- In New York in the 1880s, street lamplighter Sam Wardell needed to make sure he woke up on time. So he rigged up a contraption that connected his alarm clock to a 10-pound rock on a shelf. When the alarm rang, the rock dropped to the floor. One night, however, he took the furniture out of his room for a party; when he put it back, he unthinkingly put the bed right under the stone. When the alarm clock went off, the rock dropped on Wardell's head.
- During a funeral in a Russian village, a coffin opened, and out walked the corpse. In fact, the "deceased" had simply woken from a coma. But the priest didn't realize this as everyone fled, believing they were being pursued by a zombie—which they proceeded to kill with guns and stakes before the priest figured out the truth.
Head to the BBC for Clay's full piece