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Death in the Face of Death

August 16, 2019

Just some kooky stories about people who died…while flirting with death in other ways.

Death by the shock of death

In 2010, a man in India named Than Singh received a letter from a local crematorium. That was something of a surprise, as no one in his family or circle of friends had recently died. Then he opened it and found that it wasn’t a letter at all, but a receipt for a cremation. The person whose remains had been burned: Than Singh. Getting a note about his own death so shocked Singh that it led to him suffering a heart attack. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died. After Singh’s death, his family used the same crematorium that had inadvertently indirectly killed him, and they sent another receipt, which used the same customer number as the first one.

Death by graveyard

A cemetery held a burial service in October 1872 of someone very near and dear to 60-year-old Henry Taylor, as he was selected to be a pallbearer, and help see the coffin to its final resting place. As he took that walk, casket in hand, some of the other pallbearers lost control of the coffin as they walked along a narrow path. Taylor tripped on a gravestone as a result, and the other men carrying the casket dropped it right on top of Taylor. The burial service continued while Taylor was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries just a few days later.

Death by avoiding the death penalty

Michael Godwin was convicted of murder and sentenced to a long stay in a South Carolina prison. Initially sentenced to death via the electric chair, he appealed his case and saw his punishment commuted to serving time instead. In 1989, six years into his stint, a guard doing a routine prisoner check found Godwin dead in his cell. He sat naked on his standard-issue metal toilet, and also had a badly burned mouth. An investigation revealed the cause of this strange death. While sitting on the commode, Godwin had been trying to fix a pair of headphones connected to his television, during which he bit into a live electrical wire. Sitting on metal naked helped conduct the deadly charge that ran through his body, meaning he died from the electric chair after all.

Death by funeral

After suffering from chest pains and collapsing in her home, 49-year-old Fagilu Mukhametzyanov was taken to a hospital in Kazan, Russia, in 2012. Doctors couldn’t save her. She was declared dead, and her family held an open casket wake for her. Apparently while listening to people mourn her, Mukhametzyanov stirred back to life, or, rather, to consciousness, as she hadn’t really died. Her husband saw her eyes flutter, and rushed her back to the hospital, where she lived for only 12 more minutes before dying again, for real.

Death by death row escape

After robbing and killing two men in 1973, Troy Leon Gregg was sentenced to death, and served some time in a prison in Reidsville, Georgia. But in 1980, along with two other inmates, he managed to escape, becoming the first man to ever abscond from a death row facility. He got all the way into North Carolina in just a few hours and stopped into a bar to celebrate…which is where he was beaten to death when a fight broke out.

Find more stories of the most bizarre ways that people passed to greener pastures in History’s Weirdest Deaths, available now from Portable Press.

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