Claim: An Internet-circulated list entitled “2005 Darwin Awards” details actual mishaps and demises.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2005]
Yes, it’s that magical time of the year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us. Here then, are the glorious winners.
Darwin Award Winners:
1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked….. And now, the honorable mentions:
2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and, after a little hopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and lost a finger. The chef’s claim was approved.
3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his Vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.
4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the
5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.
6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the
7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he’d just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the
8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he
replied, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’s the lady I stole the purse from.”
9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at
A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER!
10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had.
In the interest of bettering human kind please share these with your friends and family … unless of course one of these
Origins: “Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it, showing us just how uncommon common sense can be,” says Wendy Northcutt of DarwinAwards.com. Darwin Awards stories are tales that are presented as factual
accounts of the demises of people who managed to end their lives in fantastically stupid ways. Some are
works of fiction (e.g., the man who died in his sleep from breathing his own farts), some are relatively accurate recountings of actual events (e.g., the lawyer who fell through a skyscraper window while attempting to demonstrate how safe that fixture was), and a handful are wildly embellished versions of true stories (e.g., the “pumping” death of a 13-year-old boy in Thailand was not, as the
Contrary to common belief, there is no panel of distinguished judges weighing each potential Darwin Award entry then sagely reaching agreement as to which deserves an official accolade. Darwin Awards
The various “Annual Darwin Awards”
Of the variety of accounts given in the “Darwin Awards 2005”
We have been unable to locate information about Entry #6 (the shortchanged
Entry #1, about a robber who peered down the barrel of a misfiring gun, appears almost precisely word-for-word in a Bill Bryson compilation of items supposed culled from the newspapers (but alas, said items undated and unsourced, which makes locating the original news stories behind each item problematic). While the Bryson entry at least provides a sense of how old this tale is, in that the book it appeared in was published in 1982, before that print sighting is taken as proof of the tale’s veracity, it needs to be pointed out that said compilation contains the following urban legends likewise presented as “This is true” tales:
- Naked housewife discovered hiding in the closet by the meter reader.
- Goat tied to crossing gate accidentally hanged.
- Multiple attempts at killing himself work to save life of suicide attempter.
run overcat they’d been attempting to save.
- Dead relative’s ashes mistaken for food.
- Woman tries to steal frozen chicken by hiding it under her hat.
- Despondent wife jumps from window, but instead of killing herself, lands on philandering husband and kills him.
- Faked hanging results in death of neighbor who attempted to loot “dead” guy’s home.
- Wife mistakes mechanic working under her car as her husband and gooses him.
Entry #2, about a finger-losing Swiss chef, also appears almost precisely word-for-word in the Bill Bryson compilation of items supposed culled from the newspapers mentioned above.
Entry #3, about the thwarted snow shoveler, likewise appears almost precisely word-for-word in the Bill Bryson compilation of items supposed culled from the newspapers mentioned above.
Entry #4, about the bus driver who, having lost his cargo of mental patients, collected normal folks along the route and then took them to the care facility in place of the people he was supposed to have delivered, is a wholly
Entry #5, about the teen who endured head trauma from playing chicken with a train, does describe an actual event. In May 1985, 19-year-old Robert Ricketts of Bowling Green, Ohio, had his head bloodied by a Conrail train. He told police he was trying to see how close to the moving train he could place his head without getting hit. (Click here to see how it is recounted on DarwinAwards.com.)
Entry #7, about the failed thief who attempted to heave a cinder block through a store’s window only to have the oversized brick rebound off the Plexiglass and knock him out, was published in the 1995 compilation America’s Dumbest Criminals. (Note that the inclusion of this item and the next one in that book is no guarantee of the factuality of either incident, as that volume also includes the venerable “revenging animal” urban legend, supposedly told of a coyote who destroyed his killers’
While we cannot yet confirm Entry #8, about a purse snatcher in New York who volunteered, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’s the lady I stole the purse from,” when taken to the victim for identification, a similar tale set in Brunswick, Georgia, and related in America’s Dumbest Criminals completes with the thief saying to his arresting officers, “Yeah, that’s her
Suspected purse-snatcher Dereese Delon Waddell in suburban Minneapolis last winter stood on a police lineup so the 76-year-old female victim could have a look at him. When police told him to put his baseball cap on his head with the bill facing out, so as to be presentable, he protested, “No, (I’m going to) put it on backwards. That’s the way I had it on when I took the purse.”
Entry #9, about the robbery of a fast food restaurant foiled by a clerk’s refusal to serve onion rings during the breakfast rush, appeared in advice maven Ann Lander’s column in September 1998. We contacted the Ann Arbor News to see if it had run such a story in its pages, and that publication’s librarian reported they could not verify the item.
Entry #10 (the “5-Star Stupidity Award Winner!”) is another urban legend we delve into on this site. The “gas-siphoning thief gets a bellyful of sewage” tale has been documented as part of the urban legends canon since 1981. While it does at times appear presented as a news story, we have great difficulty believing the event could have played out in real life, given that the gas caps on RVs are located on the sides of those vehicles, whereas the release valves for draining accumulated “brown water” into
Barbara “difficult to swallow” Mikkelson
Last updated: 23 December 2013
Allen, Mike. “Reston Man, 22, Dies After Using Bungee Cords to Jump Off Trestle.” The Washington Post. 13 July 1997 (p. B2). Bryson, Bill. The Blook of Bunders (Bizarre World). Great Britain: Sphere Books Ltd., 1982. Butler, Daniel, et al. America’s Dumbest Criminals. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1995. ISBN 1-55853-372-9 (pp. 19-20, 42-43). Landers, Ann. “Ann Landers.” 2 September 1998 [syndicated column].