Claim: Internet-circulated list entitled “2003 Darwin Awards” details actual deaths.
Status: A number of real entries, one unknown, and one fiction.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2006]
In case you have been waiting breathlessly for this year’s Darwin Awards, here they are. The awards this year are, once again, truly classic.
These awards are given each year to bestow upon (the remains or estate of) that individual, who through single-minded self-sacrifice, has done the most to remove undesirable elements from the human gene pool. Just think…until these events, these same people were walking the streets like normal people.
Goes to a San Anselmo, California man who died when he hit a lift tower at the Mammoth mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam pad.
Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump alley and removed some yellow foam protectors from lift towers, said
Goes to Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a
Goes to poacher Marino Malerba of Spain, who shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock and was killed instantly when it fell on him.
“Man loses face at party.” A man at a West Virginia party (probably related to the winner last year, a man
Doctors at Portland University Hospital said 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 (probably known now as Stupid Mountain Men Anonymous) in Grants Pass, Oregon. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Robert’s right eye. Doctors said that had the arrow gone
Roberts admitted afterwards that 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 office said the
Now, THIS YEAR’S WINNER:
(The late) John Pernicky and his friend, (the late) Sal Hawkins, of the great state of Washington, decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the George Washington amphitheater.
Having no tickets (but having had 18 beers between them), they thought it would be easy to “hop” over the nine foot fence and sneak into the show. They pulled their pickup truck over to the fence and the plan was for
Unfortunately for (the late) Mr. Pernicky, there was a
Dangling from the tree with a broken arm, he looked down and saw some bushes below him. Possibly
Hawkins, seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, threw him a rope and tried to pull him to safety by tying the rope to the pickup truck and slowly driving away. However, in his drunken haste, he put the truck into reverse and crashed through the fence landing on his friend and killing him.
Police arrived to find the crashed pickup with its driver thrown
Congratulations gentlemen. You win. And some more idiots have been removed from the gene pool.
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”
Surprisingly, a number of the incidents described on this particular list actually happened.
However, we begin this examination with one where the books are still open. The veracity of the 5th runner-up story, about a young man who met the Grim Reaper when the foam pad he was sliding down a ski hill on struck the lift tower the pad had been stripped from, is something we haven’t yet confirmed. While the item has been circulated online since at least 1996, and the name of the lad who supposedly slid himself to death was Matthew David Hubal (rather than just David Hubal, as the list above describes him), we haven’t turned up any news stories supporting such an occurrence. While some of the places we’ve looked have helpfully pointed towards checkable sources within the print media (e.g., The Guardian, Sacramento Bee, Associated Press), our searches through those news outlets failed to turn up any articles about the death, and searches of other news sources met with similar results. Our own scribbled notes from 1998 indicate a date of death for Matthew David Hubal of
However, while we can’t confirm that particular death, we know others have died in such fashion. On
One of the true tales is that of the 4th runner-up, the account of a man who stole a hot dog only to choke to death on it. The 32-year-old Robert Puelo did indeed end his days as described on
Unverified (at least at this time) is the tale presented as the
The 2nd runner-up account of a lad who succeeded in his attempt to set off a blasting cap by biting down on it is another strange-yet-true tale. On
Also true is the 1st runner-up, the story of a fellow who took an arrow in his noggin when he allowed a friend to attempt to shoot a beer can off his head. On
However, the entry identified as “This Year’s Winner” is naught but fiction. The story about an attempt to crash a Metallica concert gone woefully wrong has been kicking about the Internet since 1997, sometimes as a stand-alone tale, and sometimes as an item added to other lists of “dumb people” anecdotes. Numerous searches done in 1997 and in the years since have failed to turn up as much as an obituary in support of this yarn. While absence of evidence is not usually conclusive proof of falsehood, if dying with a stick of holly up your ass doesn’t get your name in the paper, nothing will.
Barbara “good golly, missed holly!” Mikkelson
Last updated: 23 August 2009
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