We are all familiar with the expression “fashion victim,” but the following ten people give the phrase a whole new meaning. Getting killed by your own clothing sounds highly unlikely and yet, every now and then, this is exactly what happens. Clothing might be one of the most basic human needs, but, instead of protection, can under bizarre circumstances become instruments of death.
10. Killed by Her Father’s Dusty Clothes
Margery Conway was always happy to see her dad return home from work, but little did she know that he was bringing death along with him. Asbestos has been mined since the 1800s and was deemed a very versatile, useful material. It is naturally resistant to fire, heat and chemicals and it doesn’t conduct electricity. This miracle mineral ended up being used in a myriad of products, especially in the building industry, but as with all things that are too good to be true, it turned out that there was a bit of a catch. Asbestos, it was soon discovered, poses a serious health risk and can be extremely deadly. Its microscopic fibers can unfortunately also be breathed in when airborne. Sadly, the results are often pretty bleak for the person who end up with these trapped in their lungs. The outcome is usually lung cancer, mesothelioma and other lung related problems. It doesn’t happen overnight though, as seen in the case of Margery Conway, who succumbed to mesothelioma at the age of 49. Margery’s death was caused by her father’s clothes, or more specifically, the asbestos dust and particles it was coated in. As her father was a pipe and boiler insulator, he regularly worked with asbestos and ended up bringing home the dust with him on his clothes. Because Margery inhaled this dust throughout her childhood, it was inevitable that she contracted mesothelioma. Like many companies that dealt with asbestos, the one her father worked for ended up having to pay 150,000 pounds in damages because of what happened.
9. Strangled While Hanging The Washing
Hanging out the washing to dry is a chore for sure, but few people would describe it as dangerous or life threatening. However, a man named Brian Depledge discovered that even this innocuous activity has the potential to end your life. In a sequence of events that sound more like it was lifted from the pages of a “Final Destination” script, the 38 year old father of two was strangled to death by his own clothes horse. According to one of the detectives who investigated the bizarre case, it would appear that Depledge fell into the clothes horse, which then wedged his chest and neck in the rungs as it collapsed. Depledge was unable to untangle himself and more than likely only succeeded in tightening the grip of the bars even more as he struggled. Even the coroner handling the case was puzzled by the event and noted that the odds of it happening was probably even lower than getting hit by a meteorite or lightning. While nobody can say for sure, it seems like Depledge tripped over a stool before landing in the clothes horse. He ended up getting tangled in the rungs and was weighed down by the wet clothes.
8. Crushed At a Bowling Alley
Getting pulled into heavy machinery by your clothes is another gruesome death straight out of a horror movie, but actually not unheard of in real life. One incident happened at Acme Industries (no, not the Acme Co. from the Road Runner cartoons) where a 50-year old man died after his clothing got caught in some machinery. It’s not just industrial equipment that can cause serious damage either, but anything that has gears and pulleys. Take, for example, the case of a man who was killed by the pinsetter machinery at a bowling alley. After being sent to investigate a problem with one of the back lanes the 53-year old maintenance worker failed to respond when called. After an investigation he was found, killed by the machinery. As he was a veteran with three decades of experience in the bowling business the incident was definitely a freak accident.
7. Hypothermia From Too Many Layers of Clothing
It might seem like common sense to add a few layers of clothing in order to keep warm, but according to a pathologist doing so can actually result in hypothermia. His statement is in response to the deaths of numerous migrants who attempt to make the Mediterranean crossing. The problem is that their clothes inevitably become wet during the crossing and it makes it impossible for the migrants to remain warm. The pathologist added that the extra layers of clothing is actually much worse than simply wearing a single layer. It is not just hypothermia that can result from the extra clothing, but another potentially fatal risk as well, drowning. If boats capsize it can be impossible for even an experienced swimmer to keep their head above water while weighed down with multiple layers of clothing.
6. Suffocated by Burning Pants
When a 67-year old man from Stonecreek Township got dressed one morning he had no idea that his clothes would be the cause of his death later that day. The man, named James Shaffer, suffered from a knee condition, which he decided to soothe with a warm towel. Shaffer warmed the towel in his microwave, but due to the fact that he was blind did not know it burning when he removed it. As soon as Shaffer placed the towel on his pants, it caught fire. Although he was able to extinguish the fire and call 911, Shaffer ended up with burn wounds over 80% of his body. Despite being alive and very apologetic when the fire department arrived, Shaffer later succumbed to smoke inhalation caused by his burning clothes. Highly flammable clothes are also linked to nine other deaths, which lead to a recall of garments by a Pakistani manufacturer.
5. Shot By A Sock
Sorting donated clothing in the back room of a store is about as harmless an activity as you can get, but thanks to a freak accident, still resulted in the death of a woman. The woman in question, Carmen Dominguez, were busy sorting through clothing that was dropped off at the thrift store. Tragedy struck when her co-worker shook a sock, causing the .22 caliber gun that was hidden inside it to fall out. As the loaded weapon fell into the man’s hand it discharged and Dominguez was hit in the chest. Although she was immediately rushed to hospital Dominguez did not survive the ordeal and was pronounced dead on arrival. Police investigated the matter, but since anyone could have dropped the clothes off at the donation box there was no way to determine who stashed the weapon in the sock.
4. Killed In a Fight About Clothing
Sharing is caring, but two brothers from the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami lost their lives over clothing. According to reports, sixteen year old Stanley got into a fight with his fourteen year old brother Stephen over the sharing of clothes. Apparently Stanley wanted to wear his brother’s clothes, but Steven refused. In a fit of anger Stanley turned a gun on his brother and shot him. Leaving the body of his brother in the hallway of their house Stanley then walked over to a nearby parking lot. There he committed suicide with the same weapon. Friends and family members were left in shock after the senseless incident. It’s not the first time an argument between siblings over clothes turned deadly either. A 17-year old girl from Northern California was fatally shot by her younger brother because she allegedly bleached some of his clothes.
3. Murdered For Wearing Western Culture Clothing
While it often takes very little excuse for humans to kill one another it is still shocking that someone would murder their pregnant wife over her choice of clothes. However, this is exactly what happened to a 27-year old Indian woman who lived in Italy. Her body was discovered in a river nearly six months after she was reported missing by her father. Although her husband maintained that he was sure she had left him, he confessed to killing her after the body was found on the river bank. It transpired that the man murdered his 3-month pregnant wife as punishment for dressing in Western clothing. There are also numerous gang related killings where people end up murdered simply for wearing the “wrong” type of clothes.
2. Gassed By Trousers
Back in 1928, a 40-year old man had the misfortune of getting killed by pants. Not only was he not the owner of the pants, but he wasn’t even wearing them at the time. According to a newspaper article, the man snatched a suit of clothes from a tenant who owed him rent, and told him that he could get it back when he came to pay. He then tossed the clothes across the room where they landed on a small gas stove. The tenant, eager to get his clothes back, returned the next day with the money, but nobody answered his knocking. When he entered the room, he found his landlord dead and a lingering odor of gas in the room. It would seem that when the clothes were thrown on the stove a belt strap from the trousers caught on a lever, which opened the gas.
1. Drowned By Wedding Dress
Trashing a wedding dress for the sake of dramatic photos is a popular activity for adventurous brides, but it is not without risk. A 30 year old bride from Canada was killed by her own wedding dress only a few months after getting married. The event took place near the Dorwin Falls in Quebec, where Maria Pantazopoulos waded into a river for some dramatic photos. Her intention was to take some photos of her floating in the water. However, the dress became soaked as Maria was swept downstream by the tides. Her husband was not present for the photoshoot, but the photographer made an effort to save her. He was unsuccessful however and Maria’s body was discovered a few hours later by one of the scuba divers who joined rescuers in a search for her.