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Most Wanted Reading List: 10 Very Bizarre Victorian Deaths

Crushed by a coffin? Chewed alive by psychotic cats? There were plenty of weird ways to die during the 1800s. Here are 10 of the strangest Victorian deaths.


From 10 very bizarre Victorian deaths to a rotting Balinese cemetery at the base of a fragrant tree, we’ve rounded up a list of everything you should be reading this weekend.

10 Very Bizarre Victorian Deaths

Victorians were quite particular about how they memorialized their dead—perhaps it was because of all the weird and grisly ways people met their maker in the 1800s. The BBC presents 10 bizarre deaths of the Victorian era, including a poor pall bearer crushed beneath a coffin and two unlucky ladies torn to shreds by berserk cats. Put on your best Victorian mourning duds and check out the Beeb’s list.

Attack of the Horror Frog

Do not attempt to kiss this frog prince, lest you get a jagged toe pad of broken amphibian bone to the face. Trichobatrachus robustus, known affectionately as the “Horror Frog,” will break its own bones and shove the sharp bits through its skin when it feels threatened. In addition, the males boast a mane of hair-like strands along their hind legs during mating season – which are actually tendrils of skin. Read up on the little monsters here.

To Be or Not to Be Robert Durst

If Robert Durst’s strange saga has become a Shakespearean tragedy for the streaming generation, then his hot mic confession captured during HBO’s The Jinx is his evil soliloquy. Durst’s attorney already compared the scene to Shakespeare’s signature device, as a way to downplay its relevance. Adam Gopnik discusses whether the shocking solo speech exposed Durst’s naked villainy or signified nothing in this thoughtful essay.

What Scares You Now?

We big fans of creepy movies, and one trip to the multiplex tells us this: the twisted face of horror is changing. From the hit indie thriller It Follows to the wild chills of Backcountry, Grantland takes stock of the indie horror boom currently infecting theaters and crawling under our skin.

The Rotting Cemetery at the Base of a Fragrant Tree

In the Balinese village of Trunyan, the dearly departed are not buried; they are simply placed inside triangular bamboo cages and left to decompose. When all the fat and muscle has rotted off, the bones are collected and decoratively arranged at the base of Taru Menyan tree, which produces spicy smelling leaves that help neutralize the odor of death. The Trunyan Cemetery is only accessible by boat, but you can get a glimpse of the site in these stunning photographs.

Photo: Illustrated Police News