10 Ways to Die a Horrible, Horrible Death

Until some brainy scientists discover a way for us to live forever (and there are quite a few people working on it), we all have to die. But some ways of dying are better than others. How you will die is a subject that plagues most of us, and it is as fascinating of a topic as it is grotesque. Here are ten ways that we hope you don’t kick the proverbial bucket.

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  • Starving to death


Starving to death isn’t actually that painful. In fact, it is quite comfortable, which is why it is this low on this list. Starving to death takes time, but after a certain amount of it, your body isn’t sending you signals that it is hungry, and eventually you will stop feeling thirsty as well. Obviously, we have all felt hunger, and while this signifies the very start of starvation, our bodies can survive for a long time on the fat and muscle that we have built up. However, it should be noted that starvation can also happen even if you are eating, by avoiding certain essential vitamins and nutrients. The World Health Organization calls starvation the number one risk to worldwide public health. Symptoms of starvation include lowered immune system, zero energy, blurry vision and painful movement.

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  • Terminal Illness


One of the most common ways to die, but still one of the worse, is to know that you have a terminal illness and only have a certain amount of time to live. Cancer is a big killer, not only in the United States, but also around the world, killing more than 540,000 in 2009. The worst thing about a terminal illness is the pain and suffering that the person must endure, as well as a great deal of time to think about and fear the death that is coming. Sometimes pain can be managed through prescriptions, but those with a terminal illness are certain to suffer in the coming months or years.

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  • Dehydration


Dehydration is quite similar to starving to death, but can kill you extremely fast in comparison. Dehydration can happen in a number of ways and causes a considerable number of deaths worldwide. Ways that a person can become dehydrated include diarrhea, excessive sweating, vomiting and the inability to drink fluids. Symptoms of hydration include dry mouth, no tears, muscle cramps, nausea, heart palpitations and lightheadness. You can die from dehydration in just a few days as opposed to more than a month with starvation.

  • 7
  • Freezing to Death


Freezing certainly isn’t the worst way to go, but it isn’t ideal either. The medical term is hypothermia, and it happens when the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees F. Symptoms of hypothermia include sluggish speech and difficulty with motor function, as well as amnesia and blue and puffy skin. Also, the heart rate and the respiration rate slows down considerably. Oddly, those suffering from severe hypothermia often remove their clothes, possibly due to a huge amount of blood being pushed to the extremities, which can cause the person to think they are overheating.

  • 6
  • Drowning


Drowning is one of the scariest methods of dying, probably because it is so possible. While it might not be conceivable to fall into a vat of acid or being eaten by wild boasts, drowning can happen just by visiting the beach or the local pool. According to the National Vital Statistics Report in 2002 there were nearly 4000 drowning deaths in the United States, making it number five on the list of accidental deaths. However, the World Health Organization reports 388,000 drowning deaths worldwide in 2004, making it third on the list of accidental injury deaths.

The actual cause of death from drowning happens as a result of asphyxia due to water intake, which makes the body unable to absorb oxygen and causes cerebral hypoxia and myocardial infarction.

  • 5
  • Being Crushed to Death


It is painful just to think about being crushed to death. Obviously, the most painful method of this is to be crushed slowly, the slowest the worse this way to die becomes. A common medieval torture method was the thumbscrews, which was a device that could be used to crush body parts. Obviously, thumbs were a popular choice, as the name implies but other fingers or even toes could be crushed with this machine, and the best part was, it was portable enough for the interrogator to take with them! However, there are lots of other creative ways to be crushed to death, like being run over by a steam roller, being flattened by a falling car, or being crushed because you fell, or jumped off of a building.

Crushing was a popular method of execution throughout history as well, with varying techniques for different regions. Asia used to execute by crushing the poor condemned person with elephants and was used by the Romans and Vietnamese as well.

  • 4
  • Being Eaten by Wild Animals or Insects


This is one of the most unattractive ways to die, because it involves a whole lot of blood and guts, especially in the case of beaten by a wild beast. While some predators do sometimes take children if they are particularly hungry, the chances of getting eaten by a wild animal are small. Wild animals simply prefer to hunt down gazelle or other prey that they are familiar with, those who do not fight back like humans can, especially one armed with a knife or a gun. However, if one were being eaten alive by wild animals, it would likely be one of the most painful experiences you can imagine.

Some predators snap the neck of their victims before eating them, and that would be preferable to being alive while the wild animals were munching on you. However, another horrible way to die is if a horde of insects descended on you and ate you alive. Fire ants are a good example of a bad way to die. Fire ants sting, and inject venom composed of alkaloids like peperidine. The bites can become infected, and are extremely painful, both during the bite and afterward. If you are covered by fire ants, you might hope to be allergic and succumb to death quickly, rather than bite by tiny little bite.

  • 3
  • Being Burned Alive


One of the most horrible ways to die would be to be burned alive. The history of burning humans alive goes back quite a ways, very popular in the Protestant and Catholic faiths of the past. Originally, this was a punishment for treason by women, and while they were supposed to have been strangled first by law, many were burned alive. The punishment was later used to burn heretics and suspected witches. However, the practice of burning can also be traced back to the early Greek and Roman cultures.

So, what does it feel like to be burned alive, and what do you ultimately die from? When fire burns your flesh it may only hurt for the first couple of minutes in that particular area, since the nerve endings are quickly burned off, but as the fire spreads to other parts of the body the searing pain will continue. Depending upon how the burning is done, you might die from carbon monoxide, heatstroke, shock, blood loss or thermal decomposition.

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  • Being Buried Alive


This is a super scary way to die, since you will probably be conscious for at least part of the process. Films have explored the terrifying feeling of being paralysed and unable to act while the killer digs a pit, puts you in it and begins to fill it back in. Being buried alive is something that humans have feared for a long time, and in fact, in the 18th and 19thcenturies when cholera was causing widespread death, being buried alive was such a real fear that coffins were designed with a bell on them so that the occupant could signal if he or she was being buried alive.  Some people believe that the phrases “saved by the bell” “graveyard shift” and “dead ringer” come from this practice of coffin bells, but the etymology is in question.

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  • Dissolved in an Alkali Bath


You have probably heard of an acid bath, but an alkali bath is the other end of the scale, and more than forty times as painful as an acid bath. Basically, you get the sensation of being burned alive, but your brain will continue working longer so you will feel every single burning pain that happens to your body. When you enter the Alkali bath, and your flesh begins to dissolve the pain will be intense, like being skinned alive, but then the inner layer of the skin starts to dissolve and that’s where the real pain begins. Add to that the alkalosis overexciting your nerves, causing them to become inflamed and the convulsions that will soon follow, and you have what is probably the most painful way to die.

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