I'm sure that by now everyone has heard of the Darwin Awards, even if only used as a passing phase in popular culture. What started as a message board term for people who commit (usually fatal) acts of stupidity, it's grown into a popular term with it's own website and book series dedicated to collating stories of said acts.
"In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species' chances of long-term survival."
- DarwinAwards.com, History & Rules
The Darwin Awards are named after the famous naturalist Charles Darwin, because of his theory of natural selection; the stories illustrate the removal of "judgement impairment genes" and lack of intelligence from the wider gene pool by the deaths of those involved.
Harsh? Yes. But if we can't anonymously mock mortality on the internet then where can we?
The Darwin Awards website does try to verify the veracity of all submitted contenders, but many false stories are circulated on the web and through email chains. We've done a roundup of some of the best verified stories from various sources for your viewing pleasure...
The Worst Game of Chicken Ever
When two men died after being hit by a train in Rotterdam Zuid station last March it emerged that they accidentally committed suicide whilst engaging in a machismo like contest of dares.
Eyewitnesses said that they climbed down onto the tracks to play a game of chicken - daring each other to wait as long as possible until the train approached. Being a Darwin Award winner this could only end one way - despite the poor driver's attempts to stop the train, they were both hit and died.
Source: Dutch News
What A Pane
Gary Hoy is a pretty famous one, he even has his own Wikipedia page (linked below).
In an attempt to prove to a group of students that the glass in his boardroom was unbreakable, lawyer Gary Hoy threw himself through a glass wall on the 24th story and fell to his death after the window frame gave way. He had apparently performed this stunt many times in the past, having previously bounced harmlessly off the glass.
ALWAYS Take The Recommended Dose
The Darwin Awards aren't just limited to people who die in stupid ways, but also to those who manage to unintentionally cut off their genetic line, usually by messing with their reproductive systems.
An unnamed Columbian man intentionally took more than the recommended dosage of viagra, reportedly to impress his girlfriend. After having an erection for "several days" he went to the doctor with an "inflamed and fractured" penis. Not nice. To stop the inflammation spreading to other parts of his body the only option was amputation.
Source: Daily Mail
Doesn't Sound Like A Fun Game
Last year in Georgia 18-year old Chance Werner drowned in a lake after playing a game involving a shopping cart attached to a pole by a rope. One person would sit in the cart and be pushed into the lake, causing them to fall out and swim back to shore.
Just in case this doesn't sound dangerous enough, Werner tied the cart to himself instead of the pole and was pulled underwater and drowned by the weight of it. How else did you really expect that to end?
Fire, Meet Gasoline
When Gary Banning of Carolina accidentally took a swig of gasoline by drinking from the wrong jar it could've just been an amusing anecdote for his friend to remind him of in the future. However, in a moment of sheer Darwinism he decided to go outside for a cigarette... We can guess how this ends.
The cigarette ignited gasoline which had spilled onto his clothes and he went up in flames. Sadly, he did not survive.
Source: Daily Mail
As with the viagra story above, here's another example of when it's time to ask for help.
Nigel Willis died in 2014 after getting a vibrator stuck in his anus... for five days. Too embarrassed to seek medical attention, the 50-year old was eventually taken to hospital by a concerned friend. Suffering septic shock, he died two months later of multi-organ failure, sepsis and a perforated bowel.
Remember kids, it might be embarrassing to ask for help in these situations, but it's better than suffering death by vibrator.
Source: The Mirror