According To Science These Are The Most Excruciating Ways To Die

Many people fear death. After all, it is the unknown that fears us most. Yet, most of us are not afraid of death itself, but rather we are afraid to die. There is a good reason as to why. Even “dying in your sleep” comes through either a painful heart attack, or panic-ridden suffocation as the lungs deny another breath. But it could be worse. Way worse. According to science these are the most excruciating ways to die.


X-ray of Homer Simpson. The most excruciating ways to die. Radiation
Credit: Youtube

To die of radiation is an awful way to die. Depending on the concentration, it can be a long and agonizing process until death finally relieves you. Providing that the concentration of radiation is high enough to kill you. Extreme radiation burns your skin off and death comes within 1 to 2 minutes as your body goes into shock. The route to death depends on the level of concentration. As the radiation exposure begins to kill your red blood cells, burnt patches of skin with blisters start to show up after 24 hours. You will also experience vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Death may come anywhere from 1 or 2 days or last up to a few weeks.

The good news is that exposure up to 8 Gy (units of Grays) is treatable, if detected early enough. Anything higher you will die even with modern medicine available.


Yellowstone National Park

I would consider dying in a dissolving acid bath as one of the most excruciating ways to die as well. Apparently a tourist at Yellowstone National Park did just that. He slipped into one of the many geothermal pools while he attempted to gauge the temperature in there. It turned out to be a very hot acid bath. Rescuers were able to recover his body…. or what was left of it. Most of it was dissolved.

Nature certainly has a way of messing with us. Take a look at Mother Nature’s Scary Side of Life and Death. Something to look forward to on your next trip into nature.


Snake venom

Snake bites can be deadly, with some more than others. A bite of the Boomslang, for instance, stops the blood from coagulating. You will basically bleed out through every opening of your body. Eyes, ears, nose, mouth and on, and at the very end your heart and your brain will also start to bleed. Throughout this time you will feel violently ill, and there’s no coming back from it.


More than half of our body consists of water. About 50% to 65% to be more precise. So, what happens if you deplete your body from too much water? You begin to die a slow and agonizing death. Water has multiple functions in our body. It is needed for the blood to circulate, for your body to stay cool through sweating, and to keep your organs working properly. If you don’t drink enough water, the cells of your body begin to take water from your organs. This causes your organs to shut down one by one, because toxic levels begin to rise.

Symptoms of dehydration include rapid heart beat, dizziness, confusion and fainting. Depending on the exposure to heat, it can take anywhere from 2 days to about a week for an average person to die. Of course there are also other factors at play, like age and current health status.


Decompression sickness can happen in a pressurized aircraft, in space, and more down to Earth, during diving. If you come out from spaces that are under high water or air pressure it is necessary to depressurize gradually for the body to adjust.  If the pressure drops dramatically… well…. you can explode. But not in a quick boom and it’s over kind of way. Gas bubbles begin to form in your blood, which makes it difficult to breathe. Then, your body starts cramping up, and you lose consciousness. If you don’t receive immediate medical attention you will die.

Explosive decompression happened to four divers in 1983. They were inside a decompression chamber when the air pressure suddenly dropped. According to reports, the diver’s organs were scattered throughout the chamber.


Hunger hurts. Dying of starvation is very painful and death takes an excruciating amount of time to come. First, your body burns through your fat stores, next it will take the energy it needs to keep your vital organs going from your muscles. At the same time your immune system collapses due to the lack of vitamins and minerals, thus opening the door for all sorts of diseases to enter. If you don’t get infected enough to kill you at this point, the insufficient levels of electrolytes cause extreme fatigue. You will be too weak to sense thirst and your body becomes dehydrated, causing your skin to crack. Any movements are extreme painful due to the muscles wasting away and the cracked skin. Due to the tissue degradation, you will finally die from cardiac arrest.

The most excruciating forms of execution


One of the most excruciating ways to die was a form of execution that entailed ripping off the limbs of the victim. The poor person to be executed was tied by their arms and legs to four horses. At the crack of the whip the horses then took off in different directions, thus separating the limbs from the body. Ouch! I suppose the limb that held to the end caused the body to be dragged along until it gave under the pressure and snapped off. This is certainly not a way anyone wants to meet the end.


Don’t you just love medieval forms of execution? Scaphism is one of the most excruciating ways to die, because of the tremendous amount of pain involved with it. It is said that this ancient Persian method of execution was designed to deliver the most torturous death.

They force-fed the soon to be executed milk and honey until they they suffered from severe diarrhea. Then the executioners tied them down and trapped them between two boats (hollowed out tree trunks) with only their feet, hands and head protruding. Next, they filled the boats with milk and honey. Special detail was placed to soak their eyes and genitals with the sticky goo. It didn’t take long for insects to be attracted by that sweet, stinky aroma of milk, honey and feces . Let’s just say, death took its sweet time to come while the insects were feasting on the body.

When it comes to torture, the human imagination seems to be endless. Check out the worst serial killers in recorded history. It will make your jaw drop.


Fires are pretty common and nobody wants to be burned alive. But, it happens all too often. If the fire is large, you most likely die of carbon monoxide poisoning before the flames cause lethal harm to your body. However, if the fire is small, like burning a person at the stake, death is extremely torturous. You’ll either die from loss of blood and other body fluids due to significant capillary fluid leakage from the heat, heatstroke, or the thermal decomposition of vital organs.


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