AOH :: DARWIN98.TXT|
The 1997/98 Darwin Awards!
Subj : 1997 Darwin awards...
The 1997 nominees are:
NOMINEE #1 [San Jose Mercury News]
An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former
girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the
gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.
NOMINEE #2 [Kalamazoo Gazette, 4-1-95]
James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he was trying
to repair what police described as a "farm-type truck." Burns got a
friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so
that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns'
clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns
"wrapped in the drive shaft."
NOMINEE #3 [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario]
A man cleaning a bird feeder on his balcony of his condominium
apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his
death, police said Monday. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled
chair Sunday when the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer
of the Peel regional police. "It appears the chair moved and he went
over the balcony, "Honer said. "It's one of those freak accidents. No
foul play is suspected."
NOMINEE #4 [Hickory Daily Record 12/21/92]
Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in
December in Newton, N.C., when, awakening to the sound of a ringing
telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead
a Smith & Wesson 38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his
NOMINEE #5 [UPI, Toronto]
Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown
Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and
plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39,
fell into the courtyard of the Toronton Dominion Bank Tower early
Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's
windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted
demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter
Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the
Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest"
members of the 200-man association.
NOMINEE #6 [AP, Cairo, Egypt, 31 Aug 1995 CAIRO, Egypt (AP)]
Six people drowned Monday while trying to rescue a chicken that had
fallen into a well in southern Egypt. An 18-year-old farmer was the
first to descend into the 60-foot well. He drowned, apparently after
an undercurrent in the water pulled him down, police said. His sister
and two brothers, none of whom could swim well, went in one by one to
help him, but also drowned. Two elderly farmers then came to help, but
they apparently were pulled by the same undercurrent. The bodies of
the six were later pulled out of the well in the village of Nazlat
Imara, 240 miles south of Cairo. The chicken was also pulled out. It
NOMINEE #7 [Bloomburg News Service, 25 March]
A terrible diet and a room with no ventilation are being blamed for
the death of a man who was killed by his own gas. There was no mark on
his body but autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his
system. His diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a
couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods.
It appears that the man died in his sleep from breathing from the
poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or
had his windows been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal. But the man
was shut up in his near airtight bedroom. He was ". . .a big man with
a huge capacity for creating [this deadly gas]." Three of the
rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.
NOMINEE #9 [18 May 93, San Jose Mercury News]
A 24-year-old salesman from Hialeah, Fla., was killed near Lantana,
Fla., in March when his car smashed into a pole in the median strip of
Interstate 95 in the middle of the afternoon. Police said that the man
was traveling at 80 MPH and, judging by the sales manual that was
found open and clutched to his chest, had been busy reading.
NOMINEE #10 [1/29/96 The News of the weird.] JOINT NOMINEE
Michael Anderson Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously in 1989.
He had spent several years awaiting South Carolina's electric chair on
a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in
prison. In March 1989, sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and
attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was
electrocuted. On Jan. 1, 1997, Laurence Baker, also a convicted
murderer once on death row, but later serving a life sentence at the
state prison in Pittsburgh, Pa., was electrocuted by his home-made
earphones as he watched his small TV while sitting on his metal
NOMINEE #11 ["The Indianapolis Star", Wed., Dec. 4, 1996].
A Jay County man using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a
muzzleloader was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his
face, sheriff's investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in
his parents' rural Dunkirk home about 11:30 p.m. Investigators said
Pryor was cleaning a .54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing
properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the
NOMINEE #12 [AP, Mammoth Lakes]
A San Anselmo man died yesterday when he hit a lift tower at the
Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam pad,
authorities said. Matthew David Hubal, 22,was pronounced dead at
Centinela Mammoth Hospital. The accident occurred about 3 a.m., the
Mono County Sheriff's Department said. Hubal and his friends
apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump Alley and undid some
yellow foam protectors from the lift towers, said Lieutenant Mike
Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are used to
protect skiers who might hit the towers. The group apparently used the
pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower. It
was not clear if the tower he hit was one with its pad removed. "With
the cold temperatures, the snow was probably pretty fast," said
NOMINEE #13 [Reuters, Warsaw, Poland, 5 May 1995]
A poacher electrocuting fish in a lake in central Poland fell into the
water and suffered the same fate as his quarry, police said Thursday.
The 24-year-old man was one of four who went fishing with a cable, one
end of which they attached to a net and the other to a high-voltage
electricity supply line, the PAPnews agency quoted a police official
in Wloclawek as saying. "For a while everything went according to the
poachers' plan and they had fish in their bags. But at a certain
moment the man holding the net tripped and fell into the water," the
agency said. The other poachers tried in vain to revive him, it said.
NOMINEE #14 [AP, St. Louis]
Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis
market. When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot
dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it.
Police found him unconscious in front of the store: paramedics removed
the six-inch wiener from his throat, where it had choked him to death.
NOMINEE #15 [Unknown]
The poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing above him on an
overhanging rock-and was killed instantly when it fell on him.
NOMINEE #16 [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 1-1-93]
In December near Mineral Wells, Tex., three men who were attempting to
steal copper wire off live electrical lines for resale were
electrocuted. Copper wiring is a valuable scrap metal in Texas but is
usually stolen from electric cables that are not being used.
Here are some people that may be future nominees/winners, but still
haven't made it to the "Big Leagues" (ie, still in the gene pool)
[UPI, Portland, OR]
Doctors at Portland's University Hospital said Wednesday an Oregon man
shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and
will be released soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his
right eye last weekend during an initiation into a men's rafting club
Mountain Men Anonymous, in Grants Pass, Ore. A friend tried to shoot a
beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Roberts' right eye.
Doctors said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major
blood vessel would have cut and Roberts would have died. University
Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of
brain, with the tip protruding at the rear of his skill, yet somehow
managed to miss all major blood vessels. Neurosurgeon Delashaw also
said had Robert tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would
have killed himself. Roberts admitted afterwards he and his friends
had been drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about
this." No charges have been filed but the Josephine County district
attorney's office said the initiation stunt is under investigation.
[Associated Press, Kincaid, W. VA]
A man at a party popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit
down,triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth and tongue,
state police said Wednesday. Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the
blasting cap as a prank during a party late Tuesday night, said Cpl.
M.D.Payne. "Another man had it in an aquarium, hooked to a battery,
and was trying to explode it," Payne said. "It wouldn't go off and
this guy said, 'I'll show you how to set it off. "I just can't
imagine anyone doing something like that," Payne said.
[Arkansas Democrat Gazette, July 25, 1996: Two Local Men Injured in
Freak Truck Accident, Cotton Patch, Ark.]
Two local men were seriously injured when their pickup truck left the
road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early
Monday morning. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder reported the
accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc
and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock are listed in serious
condition at Baptist Medical Center. The accident occurred as the two
men were returning to Des Arc after a frog gigging trip. On an
overcast Sunday night, Poole's pick-up truck headlights malfunctioned.
The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older model truck
had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis
noticed that the .22 caliber bullet from his pistol fit perfectly
into the fusebox next to the steering wheel column. Upon inserting the
bullet, the headlights again began to operate properly and the two men
proceeded on east-bound toward the White River bridge.
After traveling approximately twenty miles and just before crossing
the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck
Poole in the right testicle. The vehicle swerved sharply to the right
exiting the pavement and striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor
cuts and abrasions from the accident, but will require surgery to
repair the other wound. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was
treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on that bridge when
Thurston shot his nuts off or we mightboth be dead" stated Wallis.
And now, for this year's illustrious winner(s): . . . drum roll . . .
John Pernicky and friend Sal Hawkins, of the great state of
Washington, decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the
Amphitheater at Gorge, Washington. Having no tickets (but 18 beers
among them) they sat in the parking lot, and after finishing the beer,
decided that it would be easy enough to hop over the nine-foot high
fence and sneak into the show. The two friends pulled their pickup
truck over to the fence and the plan was for John--100 pounds heavier
than Sal-to hop over, and then assist his friend over the fence.
Unfortunately for John, there was a 30 foot drop on the other side of
the fence. Having heaved himself over, he found himself crashing
through a tree. His fall was abruptly halted by a large branch which
snagged him by his shorts. Dangling from the tree, with one arm
broken, John looked down and saw a group of bushes below him. Figuring
the bushes would break his fall, John removed his pocket knife and
proceeded to cut away his shorts to free himself from the tree. When
finally free, John crashed below into Holly bushes. The sharp leaves
scratched his entire body and now being without his shorts, he was the
unwilling victim of a holly branch penetrating his rectal cavity. To
make matters worse, his pocket knife proceeded to fall with him and
landed three inches into his left thigh.
Seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, Sal decided to throw
him a rope and pull him to safety. However, weighing about 100 pounds
less, he decided the best course of action would be to tie the rope to
the pickup truck. This is when things went from bad to worse. In his
drunken state, Sal put the truck into the wrong gear, pressed on the
gas, and crashed through the fence, landing on and killing his friend.
Sal was thrown from the truck, suffered massive internal injuries and
also died at the scene. Police arrived to find a pickup truck with its
driver thrown 100 feet from the vehicle and upon moving the truck, a
half naked man, with numerous scratches, a holly stick up his rectum,
a knife in his thigh, and a pair of shorts dangling from the tree
branches 25 feet in the air.
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