Unfortunate epitaphs:

Sacred to the Memory of
Captain Anthony Wedgwood
Accidentally Shot by His Gamekeeper
Whilst Out Shooting
“Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant”

Erected to the Memory
John McFarlane
Drown’d in the Water of Leith
By a Few Affectionate Friends


In bloom of life
She’s snatched from hence
She had not room
To make defence;
For Tiger fierce
Took life away,
And here she lies
In a bed of clay
Until the Resurrection Day.

— Epitaph of Hannah Twynnoy, killed by a tiger escaped from a traveling circus, Malmesbury, England, 1703

Electric Chair

In 1898, Columbus prison inmate Charles Justice helped build and install Ohio’s only electric chair.

Justice finished his sentence and returned to society, but irony caught up with him. Thirteen years later he was back in prison, and on Nov. 9, 1911, he was executed in the same electric chair he had helped to build.

Famous Suicides

Famous suicides:

  • Boudicca
  • Cleopatra
  • Hannibal
  • Seneca
  • Nero
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Alan Turing
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Vincent van Gogh

Ben Franklin wrote, “Nine men in ten are would-be suicides.”

An Early Serial Killer

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Wander too far away from the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and you might disappear forever.

Herman Mudgett, an enterprising serial killer, built a row of three-story buildings near the Chicago fair and opened it as a hotel. Guests discovered — too late — that it was a maze of more than 100 windowless rooms, where Mudgett would trap them, torture them in a soundproof chamber, and then asphyxiate them with a custom-fitted gas line.

Then he’d send the bodies by chute to the basement, where he’d cremate them or sell them to a medical school.

This went on for three years, until a fire broke out and police and firemen discovered the trap. No one knows how many people Mudgett killed; he confessed to 27, but estimates go as high as 230.

He was hanged in Philadelphia in 1896.

Golden Gate Suicides


Jump off the Golden Gate Bridge and you’ll fall for four seconds and hit the water at 75 mph.

More than 1,300 people have attempted suicide in this way, and as of 2003, at least 26 have survived the jump. Many say they changed their minds in midair.

People Who Have Been Cremated

People who have been cremated:

  • Neville Chamberlain
  • Wyatt Earp
  • Albert Einstein
  • W.C. Fields
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Greta Garbo
  • Adolf Hitler
  • Henry James
  • John Maynard Keynes
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Timothy Leary
  • Nelson Rockefeller
  • Carl Sagan
  • Dr. Seuss
  • George Bernard Shaw
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • John Steinbeck