The 5 Worst Ways To Die

Published September 16, 2014
Updated August 19, 2020

From slow, to strange, to unbelievably embarrassing, these are some of the worst ways to die.

The Worst Ways To Die

All men must die, but some deaths are significantly better than others. Carbon monoxide poisoning sounds pretty pleasant and freezing to death is allegedly kind of peaceful. Even walking the plank could be a noble way to go, but this list isn’t about nice ways to die.

From slow, to strange, to unbelievably embarrassing, here are some of the worst ways to die.

Worst Ways To Die: Execution by Elephant

Worst Ways To Die Execution by Elephant

Source: Wikipedia

In South and Southeast Asia, elephants were trained to crush, dismember and torture prisoners, especially mutinous soldiers, in public arenas. Because elephants are such intelligent animals, they were able to take directions well.

An Asian elephant could kill a victim immediately if that was the desired outcome, but he/she could also draw it out if they were feeling particularly vindictive. Often it would take hours for a victim to die.

Execution by Elephant

Source: Wikipedia

Leaders were so fond of using an elephant to kill enemies not just for physical reasons, but also psychological one. Death by elephant signified both absolute power over man as well as man’s control of nature. A combination of the two was thought to be the most complete type of power, and it validated the ruler’s position.

While the practice was suppressed and eventually eradicated (we hope) during the 18th and 19th centuries when European colonization popularized quieter forms of torture and sneakier types of suppression, many travel logs recounting public executions by elephants still exist.

Dying With Your Pants Down

Worst Ways To Die Avery Jessup

Source: NBC

There are numerous stories of old (usually wealthy) men dying during sex. This physical activity can cause blood pressure—along with other things—to rise for a short period of time, and for people with heart problems this can lead to cardiac arrest.

It is rumored that former U.S. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller died of a heart attack while climaxing, as did British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, and Pope John XII (although his death was reportedly caused by a stroke).

Atilla The Hun

Source: Nemzetismer

Atilla The Hun met his maker while getting down and dirty with one of his dozen or so wives. There are many theories on the specifics of what actually transpired, but here’s one of the best:

Atilla and his new bride were engaging in rough, intoxicated, and creative sex when she hit him in the face, breaking his nose. The ruler of the Huns–leader of the Roman Empire’s most feared enemy who’d crossed the Danube River twice–began hemorrhaging and eventually died from the injury.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.