The Darwin awards are actually an old story, but I rediscovered them again recently. As Darwin is regarded as the founder of the evolutionary theory, a Darwin award was established many years ago that recognizes people who contribute to the evolution of humankind by demonstrating their stupidity and eliminating their own genes from the gene pool of humankind.

By now, there are even books about the Darwin award. Here is one at The Darwin Award: Evolution in Action by Wendy Northcutt.

To give you an idea of what this is all about, I borrowed the following from

Darwin Awards

It is once again time to vote for the Darwin Award nominees for 1997. As you know, these nominees will no longer be contributing to the gene pool (thankfully). You may recall last year's Darwin Award winner: The man who found out moments before making a 300 MPH dent in an Arizona cliff that the JATO (jet assist take off) unit he'd strapped to his car could not be turned off once it was turned on.

And 1995's winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine which toppled on top of him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out of it. The 1997 nominees are:

NOMINEE #1 (San Jose Mercury News)
An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.
NOMINEE #2 (Kalamazoo Gazette)
James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described as a "farm-type truck."Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft."
NOMINEE #3 (Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario)
Man slips, falls 23 stories to his death. A man cleaning a bird feeder on his balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death, police said Monday. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair Sunday when the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer of the Peel regional police. "It appears the chair moved and he went over the balcony,"Honer said. "It's one of those freak accidents. No foul play is suspected."
NOMINEE #4 (Hickory Daily Record)
Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C., when, awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson .38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.
NOMINEE #5 (UPI, Toronto)
Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest"members of the 200-man association.
NOMINEE #6 (AP, Cairo, Egypt)
Six people drowned Monday while trying to rescue a chicken that had fallen into a well in southern Egypt. An 18-year-old farmer was the first to descend into the 60-foot well. He drowned, apparently after an undercurrent in the water pulled him down, police said. His sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well, went in one by one to help him, but also drowned. Two elderly farmers then came to help, but they apparently were pulled by the same undercurrent. The bodies of the six were later pulled out of the well in the village of Nazlat Imara, 240 miles south of Cairo. The chicken was also pulled out. It survived.
NOMINEE #7 (Bloomburg News Service, 25 March)
A terrible diet and room with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas. There was no mark on his body but autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system. His diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods. It appears that the man died in his sleep from breathing from the poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal. But the man was shut up in his near airtight bedroom. He was ". . . a big man with a huge capacity for creating [this deadly gas]."Three of the rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.
NOMINEE #8 (San Jose Mercury News)
A 24-year-old salesman from Hialeah, Fla., was killed near Lantana, Fla., in March when his car smashed into a pole in the median strip of Interstate 95 in the middle of the afternoon. Police said that the man was traveling at 80 MPH and, judging by the sales manual that was found open and clutched to his chest had been busy reading.
NOMINEES #9 & 10 ("JOINT"NOMINEES) (The News of the weird.)
Michael Anderson Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously in 1989. He had spent several years awaiting South Carolina's electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. In March 1989, sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted. On Jan. 1, 1997, Laurence Baker, also a convicted murderer once on death row, but later serving a life sentence at the state prison in Pittsburgh, Pa., was electrocuted by his homemade earphones as he watched his small TV while sitting on his metal toilet.
NOMINEE #11 ("The Indianapolis Star")
Cigarette lighter may have triggered fatal explosion in Dunkirk, Indiana. A Jay County man, using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzleloader, was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff's investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents' rural Dunkirk home about 11:30 p.m. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a .54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.
NOMINEE #12 (AP, Mammoth Lakes)
A San Anselmo man died yesterday when he hit a lift tower at the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam pad, authorities said. Matthew David Hubal, 22, was pronounced dead at Centinela Mammoth Hospital. The accident occurred about 3 a.m., the Mono County Sheriff's Department said. Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump Alley and undid some yellow foam protectors from the lift towers, said Lieutenant Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are used to protect skiers who might hit the towers. The group apparently used the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower. It was not clear if the tower he hit was one with its pad removed. "With the cold temperatures, the snow was probably pretty fast,"said Donnelly.
NOMINEE #13 (Reuters, Warsaw, Poland)
A poacher electrocuting fish in a lake in central Poland fell into the water and suffered the same fate as his quarry, police said Thursday. The 24-year-old man was one of four who went fishing with a cable, one end of which they attached to a net and the other to a high-voltage electricity supply line, the PAP news agency quoted a police oAEcial in Wloclawek as saying. "For a while everything went according to the poachers' plan and they had fish in their bags. But at a certain moment the man holding the net tripped and fell into the water,"the agency said. The other poachers tried in vain to revive him, it said.
NOMINEE #14 (AP, St. Louis)
Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis market. When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it. Police found him unconscious in front of the store: paramedics removed the six-inch wiener from his throat, where it had choked him to death.
NOMINEE #15 (Unknown)
To poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock . . . and was killed instantly when it fell on him.
NOMINEE #16 (Associated Press, Kincaid, W. VA)
Blasting Cap Explodes in Man's Mouth at Party. A man at a party popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth and tongue, state police said Wednesday. Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during a party late Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D.Payne. 'Another man had it in an aquarium, hooked to a battery, and was trying to explode it,"Payne said. "It wouldn't go off and this guy said, 'I'll show you how to set it off. "I just can't imagine anyone doing something like that,"Payne said.
In December near Mineral Wells, Tex., three men who were attempting to steal copper wire off live electrical lines for resale were electrocuted. Copper wiring is a valuable scrap metal in Texas but is usually stolen from electric cables that are not being used.

Here are some people that may be future nominees/winners, but still haven't made it to the "Big Leagues"

[UPI, Portland, OR]
Doctors at Portland's University Hospital said Wednesday an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and will be released soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last weekend during an initiation into a men's rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous, in Grants Pass, Ore. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Roberts' right eye. Doctors said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have cut and Roberts would have died instantly. Neurosurgeon Dr. Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain, with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said had Robert tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would have killed himself. Roberts admitted afterwards he and his friends had been drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this."No charges have been filed but the Josephine County district attorney's oAEce said the initiation stunt is under investigation.
from The Calgary Sun:
Low blow for gunman VANCOUVER (CP) A man arguing over a love triangle accidentally shot himself in the groin, taking off his testicles and part of his penis. Police said the man was waving a .357 Magnum revolver around during the shouting match early yesterday. But when he stuffed it back in his pants the gun went off. Police were called to the hospital after the man in his 20's was brought in by friends. Charges are pending against the victim, who is expected to survive.
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, July 25, 1996:
Two Local Men Injured in Freak Truck Accident, Cotton Patch, Ark. Two local men were seriously injured when their pick-up truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early Monday morning. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock are listed in serious condition at Baptist Medical Center. The accident occurred as the two men were returning to Des Arc after a frog gigging trip. On an overcast Sunday night, Poole's pick-up truck headlights malfunctioned. The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older model truck had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that the 22 caliber bullet from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet, the headlights again began to operate properly and the two men pro- ceeded on east-bound toward the White River bridge. After traveling approximately twenty miles and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the right testicle. The vehicle swerved sharply to the right, exiting the pavement and striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident, but will require surgery to repair the other wound. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his nuts off or we might both be dead"stated Wallis. "I've been a trooper for ten years in this part of the world, but this is a first for me. I can't believe that those two would admit how this accident happened", said Snyder.

The Darwin Awards 2000

In September in Detroit, a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.
In October, a 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran,"according to his wife, accidentally jogged off a 100-foot-high cliff on his daily run.
Buxton, NC: A man died on a beach when an 8-foot-deep hole he had dug into the sand caved in as he sat inside it. Beach goers said Daniel Jones, 21, dug the hole for fun, or protection from the wind, and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom Thursday afternoon when it collapsed,burying him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach, on the outer banks, used their hands and shovels, trying to claw their way to Jones, a resident of Woodbridge, VA, but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment almost an hour to free him while about 200 people looked on. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.
In February, Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc, CA, as he fell face-first through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his mouth (to keep his hands free) rammed into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.
According to police in Dahlonega, GA, ROTC cadet Nick Berrena, 20, was stabbed to death in January by fellow cadet Jeffrey Hoffman, 23, who was trying to prove that a knife could not penetrate the flak vest Berrena was wearing.
Sylvester Bridal, JR, 26, was killed in February in Selbyville, Del, as he won a bet with friends who said he would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger.
In February, according to police in Windsor, Ontario, Daniel Kolta, 27, and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision, thus earning a tie in the game of chicken they were playing with their snowmobiles.

Darwin Award Honorable Mentions

In Guthrie, Okla, in October, Jason Heck tried to kill a millipede with a shot from his 22- caliber rifle, but the bullet ricocheted off of a rock near the hole and hit pal Antonio Martinez in the head, fracturing his skull.
In Elyria, Ohio, in October, Marty Eskins, attempting to clean out cobwebs in his basement, declined to use a broom in favor of a propane torch and caused a fire that burned the first and second floors of his house.
Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, NJ, in September, and his wife Bonnie was also injured, by a quarter-stick of dynamite that blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 AM, the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but they apparently failed to notice that the window was closed.
TACOMA, WA - Kerry Bingham, had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the middle of traAEc. The conversation grew more heated and at least 10 men trooped along the walkway of the bridge at 4:30am. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge they discovered that no one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered and pointed out that a coil of lineman's cable lay nearby. One end of the cable was secured around Bingham's leg and the other end was tied to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously survived his fall into the icy river water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen. "All I can say,"said Bingham, "is that God was watching out for me on that night. There's just no other explanation for it."Bingham's foot was never located.
And Now, For The Winner:
PADERBORN, GERMANY - Overzealous zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt fed his constipated ele- phant Stefan, 22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes before the plugged up pachyderm finally let fly - and suffocated the keeper under 200 pounds of poop! Investigators say ill-fated Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when the relieved beast unloaded on him like a dump truck full of mud. "The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr. Riesfeldt to the ground, where he struck his head on a rock and lay unconscious as the elephant continued to evacuate his bowels on top of him,"said flabbergasted Paderborn police detective Erik Dern. With no one there to help him, he lay under all that dung for at least an hour before a watchman came along, and during that time he suffocated. "It seems to be just one of those freak accidents that happen." Why are the above each year only men? Why we should listen to our parents and not play with guns, elephants, rope, dynamite, fire, snowmobiles, and strong drink! Also running is bad for you! Good hunting!

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