It is a morbid thing – to muse on the brevity and inevitability of our own mortality, and yet it’s something that we all do, whether through fear of the fateful day we shuffle off this mortal coil and go to meet our maker, or as a means of coming to terms with the undeniable truth. No one can live forever, and death is our ultimate destiny; whether we like it or not.
There are, of course, ways to pass on that are relatively painless. Bit there are other that are incredibly painful. We’ve all had those “would you rather” conversations when it comes to dying.
So when a recent Reddit thread quizzed Paul Doherty on the subject – a senior scientist at San Francisco’s Exploratorium Museum, who was also on the research team for the Viking Mars expedition – it was inevitable that the answer would be disturbing and grisly.
Doherty paired up with writer Cody Cassidy to delve into the macabre subject of “the most interesting ways you can die.” Typically, these are not your run-of-the-mill scenarios, like being immolated or falling from the top of a high building. No, Doherty and Cassidy got decidedly creative with their thoughts on the subject.
1. Stuck Inside A Plunging Elevator
The pair mused on the excruciating death that would come from being trapped inside an elevator that was hurtling towards a solid floor. Thankfully, they have some advice on this one, “Laying flat on your back is the best way to spread out the G forces evenly through your body. If you’re standing up, your organs may keen falling even though your body has stopped. You should also hope that the elevator fits snugly in its shaft, so the pillow of air below the car slows the fall and the broken elevator cable below can provide some cushioning.” What a charming image.
2. Floating Too Close To A Neutron Star
Doherty has the following to say on this harrowing form of death: “Let’s assume the neutron star is unnaturally quiet. You’ll be in free fall, and as usual it’s not the fall that kills you. Gravity is stronger at close distances and weaker further away. This means if your head is pointed toward the neutron star it will be tugged toward the star much more strongly than your feet and this tidal force will rip you apart.” Jeez; remind me never to get too close to a neutron star!
3. Drowning At The Bottom Of The Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench is the deepest point of the world’s oceans; true to form the pair of scientists weren’t just going to examine a traditional case of drowning, instead opting to describe what would happen in the most extreme of cases imaginable.
“Fortunately, you’re mostly water, and water is incompressible. So you would retain your basic human shape. The air pockets inside you, namely in your nasal cavity, throat and chest, would be a problem. These would collapse inward, which would [be] fatal. Because you wouldn’t have any air, you wouldn’t float to the surface and you would likely stay at the bottom to be consumed by the bone-eating snot flower, which usually eats whale bones but would probably make an exception in this case.”
Referring to the case of Randy Gardner, a high school boy who attempted to stay awake for as long as he possibly could back in 1964, the duo make the interesting claim that it is not actually possible to die from a lack of sleep. “Though he hallucinated that he was a professional football player, mistook a street sign for a pedestrian and eventually lost muscle control he was fine and recovered after a day of sleep. It seems that unless you are put on some diabolical machine that forces you to stay awake, like a few unfortunate rats have been, your body will make you sleep.” Gardner managed to stay awake for 11 days without rest.
If you’re interested in unusual deaths and fatal accidents, then you’ll probably be a fan of the Darwin Awards: an online award given out to those who kill themselves in the stupidest way possible, thus removing their idiotic genes from the gene pool.