10 Worst Ways to Die


Die of Embarrassment

Yes, embarrassment can be excruciatingly painful, but it's not worth dying for. Beverly Logan/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Yes, embarrassment can be excruciatingly painful, but it's not worth dying for. Beverly Logan/Stockbyte/Getty Images

We've certainly collected our share of horrific ways to go. But there's one more way to go that deserves to be on the "worst" list because it's preventable. And that's dying from embarrassment.

So first: Yes, it's possible to die from actual embarrassment. When stress or anxiety rise -- which accompany embarrassment -- a surge of adrenaline enters the bloodstream that could kill you. It's for this reason that people can undergo a cardiac reaction from not just embarrassment, but fright or even a sexual response.

But we're speaking of a different embarrassment; too often, people are far too afraid or shy to get treatment or seek help for medical problems that they think are shameful or silly. While getting eaten by a python or being tortured is no way to go, do remember that the worst kind of death is one that, by all accounts, could have been prevented.

Author's Note: 10 Worst Ways to Die

While most of us enjoy spending our time on hobbies and relaxing with loved ones, others must find a kind of satisfaction in posting on message boards about grisly deaths. At least, that's the only thing that can be surmised from my research on the worst ways to die. Although helpful for me professionally, I can't deny that reading through pages of real and imagined death scenarios was also oppressively depressing. Next time you're considering regaling fellow commenters with a particularly dark story, consider a jog, or knitting -- even just a good stare at a blank wall -- instead.

Related Articles


  • Ballantye, Coco. "Can a person be scared to death?" Scientific American. Jan. 30, 2009. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scared-to-death-heart-attack
  • Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog. "Execution by elephant." StrangeHistory.net. July 21, 2012 (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.strangehistory.net/2010/07/21/execution-by-elephant/
  • Bosch, Rachel. "Crush Syndrome." Cavediggers.com. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.cavediggers.com/Crush.pdf
  • Clark, Liesl. "The Sacrificial Ceremony." Nova. Nov. 24, 1998. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/sacrificial-ceremony.html
  • Fisher, Len. "Can you die of embarrassment?" Focus Science and Technology. 2012. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://cdn.sciencefocus.com/qa/can-you-die-embarrassment
  • Flanagan, Jane. "Children terrified as python eats boy." The Age. Nov. 25, 2002. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/11/24/1037697985131.html
  • HomeTruths. "Shipwrecked!" BBC.co.uk. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hometruths/shipwreck.shtml
  • Kanani, Bazi. "Hyena pack attacks sleeping family, kills 2 kids." ABC News. July 19, 2012. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/07/hyena-pack-attack
  • Klemetti, Erik. "The right (and wrong) way to die when you fall into lava." Wired. December 2, 2011. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/12/the-right-and-wrong-way-to-die-when-you-fall-into-lava/
  • Koeppel, Dan. "How to fall 35,000 feet -- and survive." Popular Mechanics. Jan. 29, 2010. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/safety/4344036
  • Koerner, Brendan. "How long can you go without food?" Slate. June 10, 2004. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2004/06/how_long_can_you_go_without_food.html
  • Listverse.com "10 truly awful ways to be killed by an animal." Listverse. July 5, 2010 (Nov. 28, 2012) http://listverse.com/2010/07/05/10-truly-awful-ways-to-be-killed-by-an-animal/
  • Schulz, Matthias. "Torture Practices of the Ancient World." Spiegel Online. May 15, 2009. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/the-worst-ways-to-die-torture-practices-of-the-ancient-world-a-625172.html
  • Syme, David. "Hypothermia." The Mountaineering Council of Scotland. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.mcofs.org.uk/hypothermia.asp
  • The Wildlife Museum. "Jaguar Teeth." The Wildlife Museum. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.thewildlifemuseum.org/docs/db/static/exhibits/Teeth.pdf
  • Thumbpress staff. "10 Absolutely Worst Ways to Die." Thumbpress.com. July 8, 2011. (Nov. 28, 2012) http://thumbpress.com/10-absolutely-worst-ways-to-die/
  • Todd, Michael. "Diver describes being lost at sea." Virgin Islands Daily News. Dec. 13, 2011 (Nov. 28, 2012) http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/diver-describes-being-lost-at-sea-1.1244248
  • Wolchover, Natalie. "What if you fell into a volcano? Not what you might expect?" Huffington Post. June 27, 2012 (Nov. 28, 2012) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/what-if-you-fell-into-a-volcano_n_1632637.html


The Sarco Suicide Pod: Controversial or Compassionate?

The Sarco Suicide Pod: Controversial or Compassionate?

Imagine the suicide booth on 'Futurama,' only real. Learn more about the Sarco suicide pod at HowStuffWorks.