Freak Accidents Resulting in Fright, Blindness, or Death
False teeth, even when they are in the mouth, can be exceedingly dangerous. A meteor could fall upon you, red hot, and sizzle clear through your remains or a bat may dart into your face and blind you for life as you sit cooling on the back porch. A cluck to get your horse going could cause an explosion. Swimming in a creek could possibly result in death -- but not by drowning. All of these things happened in the United States in the same week of August 1900.
Two people died that week as a result of a problem with their false teeth. D. W. Brigham, a farmer living near Tallahassee, was eating a beefsteak when the upper plate slipped loose and slid down the throat. Strangulation followed and all attempts at dislodging them failed. He died in agony in fifteen minutes.
Mrs. Andrew Mariner of Bellman, New Jersey was eating a peach, when one of her false plates slipped into her throat. Efforts were made to dislodge the plate, but it gradually worked its way downward towards the stomach. An operation was resorted to but the woman did not recover from it.
At Enid, Oklahoma T. John Ralston was sitting on a porch in front of the Glass Mountain House, smoking and enjoying the coolness of the evening. Suddenly a bat darted into his face, either designedly or by accident, and both eyeballs were punctured. Efforts at restoring his sight failed and he was blind for the rest of his life.
A meteorite as big as a mans fist struck the arm of Reverend M. R. Horton of Harrison Courthouse, Virginia setting his coat on fire and seriously burning his arm. The meteorite then hurled itself deep into the Earth and when it was dug up it was still too hot to handle. Reverend Horton, though badly burned, lived.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, near the intersection of Alabama and Maryland there was a natural gas regulation station below the pavement that was covered by a heavy iron plate. Albert H. Johnson clucked to his old horse and started him over the plate. A steel-plated horse shoe struck the iron plate resulting in a spark and the leaking gas below exploded. The horse, wagon and Mr. Johnson were blown into the air and all were singed to some extent. The horse was blown apart and died. Mr. Johnson suffered from burns and fright but lived.
Barrels, even when empty of alcoholic liquids are by no means safe. On the farm of R. B. Ricksbaugh at Clarksville, Texas, Alexander Henderson brought an empty whiskey barrel expecting to put sorghum in it. He was told to burn the barrel out and to do it he dropped a lighted match into the bunghole. There was little left of the barrel or Mr. Henderson
Henry Mohler, a 12-year-old boy and an Ephrata, Pennsylvania resident, had gone swimming in the Cocalcio Creek and the next day he had an earache. That night the pain was worse. By the next day the pain was so agonizing that a physician was called in. An examination showed that two leeches had crawled into his ear while he had been swimming and they had become distended with blood. Had they not been removed, death would have been certain.