7 Bizarre Author Deaths

Last year I dedicated a blog post to 10 bizarre author deaths. This is the second and final instalment. Here are 7 more author deaths that could be described as bizarre. They are presented in chronological order.

Euripideseuripides(480 B.C. – 406 B.C.)

Euripides was an Ancient Greek tragedian. It was feelings of embitterment over his defeats in the Dionysia playwriting competitions that led him to move to Macedonia. There are a number of different theories as to how he met his demise there. One is that his first experience of the cold during the Macedonian winter killed him. Others have suggested he was killed by hunting dogs, or even torn apart by women. Euripides had a reputation for being something of a misogynist.


PetroniusPetroniusCirca 27 A.D. – 66 A.D.

Petronius is widely accepted to be the author of the scathing satirical novel Satyricon. The book ridiculed the pretensions of Rome’s newly rich. In 66 A.D. Petronius was accused of plotting to kill the Emperor Nero. Instead of waiting for his sentence, he decided to commit suicide by having his veins opened and then bound up again. The bandages were bandaged to prolong life, so that Petronius could spend time conversing with friends and enjoying a sumptuous banquet, after which he went to bed to die in his sleep.


Christopher MarloweChristopher Marlowe(February 26th 1564 – May 30th 1593)

The exact circumstances surrounding playwright Christopher Marlowe’s death remain a mystery. He met his demise when companion Ingram Frizer stabbed him with a knife. The official story is that an argument broke out over a drinks bill, resulting in Marlowe attacking Frizer with a knife, only to be disarmed and dispatched with a single thrust of the blade to the eye. Some have argued that his death was a political assassination whilst others claim it was because he was deemed a danger to the state, due to his reputed atheistic beliefs.


Sir Francis BaconSir Francis Bacon(January 22nd 1561 – April 9th 1626)

Sir Francis Bacon was an English philosopher, scientist, statesman, orator, essayist and author. The 65-year-old Bacon was purportedly travelling in his carriage in the midst of a snowstorm in Highgate when it occurred to him that snow would be an ideal way to preserve and insulate meat. Bacon immediately purchased a gutted chicken and attempted to prove his theory by stuffing the bird with snow. Unfortunately these actions resulted in pneumonia. He perished several days later.


Mark TwainMark Twain(November 30th 1835 – April 21st 1910)

Mark Twain is regarded as the father of American literature. He was born shortly after a visit by Halley’s Comet. Twain was convinced that he would meet his end when the comet next returned to earth. He famously said, ‘I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming next year, and I expect to go out with it.’ On April 21st 1910 Twain’s prophetic declaration came true, when he died of a heart attack, merely one day after the comet’s closest proximity to earth.


Hart Cranecrane(July 21, 1899 – April 27, 1932)

Crane was an influential American poet who wrote modernist poetry that was highly stylized, and ambitious in its scope. Crane was a heavy drinker prone to depression. It was while on board a steamship en route to New York that he jumped overboard into the Gulf of Mexico. Witnesses believed his intentions were suicidal because several reported that he exclaimed ‘Goodbye, everybody!’ prior to throwing himself overboard. His body was never recovered.


Ödön von Horváthhorvath(December 9th, 1901 – June 1st 1938)

Von Horváth was an Austro-Hungarian playwright and novelist. He met his demise when a falling branch from a tree killed him during a thunderstorm on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. A few days earlier, von Horváth had said to a friend: ‘I am not so afraid of the Nazis … There are worse things one can be afraid of, namely things one is afraid of without knowing why.’ A few years earlier, von Horváth wrote a poem about lightning. Yes, thunder, that it can do. And bolt and storm. Terror and destruction.

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Click here to read Bizarre Author Deaths Part I.


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