STRANGE DEATHS

UN­USUAL WAYS OF SHUFFLING OFF THIS MOR­TAL COIL

Fortean Times - - Contents -

Data from just six fire brigades have re­vealed that skin creams con­tain­ing paraf­fin have led to 37 deaths in Eng­land since 2010. The ma­jor­ity of cases came from the Lon­don Fire Bri­gade, which re­ported 28 fa­tal­i­ties. If peo­ple use prod­ucts for con­di­tions like eczema and pso­ri­a­sis reg­u­larly but do not of­ten change clothes or bed­ding, paraf­fin residue can soak into the fab­ric, mak­ing it flammable. Philip Hoe, 60, re­ceiv­ing treat­ment for pso­ri­a­sis, died af­ter ac­ci­den­tally set­ting him­self on fire at Don­caster Royal In­fir­mary in 2006 when sparks from a cig­a­rette re­acted with the emol­lient cream he was cov­ered in. Christo­pher Holyoake, 63, died in Le­ices­ter in 2015 when the flame from his cig­a­rette lighter came into con­tact with the bed­ding cov­ered in residue from an over-the-counter der­ma­to­log­i­cal cream called E45. Also in 2015, John Hills, 84, died in Wor­thing, West Sus­sex, af­ter set­ting him­self on fire with his pipe. A paraf­fin-based cream called Ce­tra­ben had soaked into his clothes. BBC News, 19 Mar; Metro, 20 Mar 2017. Head Con­sta­ble Ra­jen­dra Jatava was cel­e­brat­ing the Hindu fes­ti­val of Holi when he ac­ci­den­tally shot him­self in the head. A video filmed in Shivpuri dis­trict, north­ern In­dia, al­legedly shows him shoot­ing his revolver twice in the air on 14 March. He then tried to shoot a third time but the gun jammed. Con­sta­ble Jatava, re­port­edly un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol, then ac­ci­den­tally shot him­self while try­ing to fix his gun. He was im­me­di­ately rushed to hos­pi­tal but was pro­nounced dead on ar­rival. metro.co.uk, 18 Mar 2017. José Ig­na­cio G, 23, was act­ing out the Gospel scene when Ju­das Is­car­iot hangs him­self from a tree af­ter be­tray­ing Christ. He had a wire around his neck and lost his foot­ing dur­ing the Sta­tions of the Cross cer­e­mony in Bar­ran­quil­las, Mex­ico. On­look­ers tried to re­vive him, but he died on the way to hos­pi­tal. Metro, 18 April 2017. Philip Shard, 60, of Rush­mere St An­drew in Suf­folk was struck by light­ning on 27 May while clutch­ing a golf club at the Fynn Val­ley Golf Club at Wit­ne­sham. He was re­sus­ci­tated and taken to Ip­swich Hos­pi­tal in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion, and died four days later. He had only be­come a mem­ber of the club a cou­ple of months ear­lier. BBC News, 3 June; Sun, 6 June 2017. On 18 June, Re­becca Burger was killed by an ex­plod­ing whipped cream dis­penser that hit her chest, caus­ing car­diac ar­rest at her home in Mul­house, east­ern France. Al­though she re­ceived med­i­cal at­ten­tion, she could not be saved. The 33-year-old life­style blog­ger was well known in France, with some 55,000 Face­book fans and 154,000 fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram. Less than two weeks later, Heuidi Du­motier, an­other French­woman, was in­jured in the leg by an­other ex­plod­ing cream dis­penser. A whipped cream dis­penser works by in­ject­ing gas into a metal con­tainer, keep­ing the en­tire dis­penser un­der high pres­sure. One French con­sumer group has warned read­ers for years about faulty con­nec­tors on the gas cap­sules, caus­ing them to break and ex­pel at high speed. The in­juries caused range from bro­ken teeth and tin­ni­tus to mul­ti­ple frac­tures and, in one case, the loss of an eye. BBC News, Sky News, 22 June 2017. A stu­dent nurse in Colom­bia sur­vived a fall from the sixth floor of a hos­pi­tal in the city of Cali af­ter land­ing on top of a doc­tor. The doc­tor, how­ever, was not so lucky. Is­abel Muñoz, who was study­ing at Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal del Valle, died from her in­juries. She was walk­ing across a court­yard on her way to the cafe­te­ria at around 9am when Ms Gon­za­lez fell on her, caus­ing trau­matic brain in­jury. The nurse, Maria Is­abel Gon­za­lez, suf­fered mul­ti­ple frac­tures but was in a sta­ble con­di­tion at the time of the re­port. It was not known what had caused her to fall. BBC News, 16 June 2017. A large black bear killed a 16-year-old boy who was par­tic­i­pat­ing in a pop­u­lar trail run­ning race in Alaska be­tween An­chor­age and Gird­wood on 18 June. Pa­trick Cooper of An­chor­age texted his fam­ily to say he was be­ing chased by a bear while de­scend­ing the ex­tremely steep ter­rain. The race di­rec­tor, who had been hand­ing out awards, or­gan­ised a search party of run­ners af­ter he was shown the mes­sage. Of­fi­cials shot the 250lb (113kg) bear in the face, but it sur­vived and ran off. Wildlife and law en­force­ment of­fi­cials were still search­ing for the bear, which they in­tended to kill if found. The very next day, a black bear mauled a mineworker to death at Pogo Mine near Fair­banks, Alaska, while an­other man was in­jured. BBC News, 19 June, Eve. Stan­dard, 20 June 2017.

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