When acclaimed playwright Tennessee Williams died on February 25, 1983, the medical examiner couldn’t determine the cause of death immediately. It was later discovered that he had died from a bad reaction to Seconal, which he took as a sleep aid. But the publicity surrounding his death was important. Williams’ assistant insisted that a cause of death be published or else speculation would lead to false rumors and who knows what that would lead to? So the medical examiner agreed to state that Williams had choked on a bottle cap. And that’s what many of his fans believe to this day.
That’s just one of 13 stories of strange deaths among authors. Others are truly bizarre, like the falling turtle, although the further back you go, the less likely it is that we have all the facts. Some had plausible causes of death that were nonetheless brought about by bizarre circumstances. Read all 13 stories of weird deaths among authors at Mental Floss.
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