10 October 2011

The horrible death of a lighthouse keeper

Henry Hall was the lighthouse keeper of the Eddystone Lighthouse, in Cornwall. On the 3rd of December, 1755, a fire broke out in the wooden Rudyerd’s Tower. Henry and his two companions tried in vain, but could not put out the fire. They escaped onto the rocks outside the lighthouse, before watching the rest of the lighthouse burnt down.

The next morning, all three of them were rescued off the rocks by boats. On the 5th of December, Henry suddenly died, regardless of showing signs of improvement.

An autopsy performed after his death revealed that, whilst looking up at the burning lighthouse, a piece of molten lead fell into his mouth, burning its way through his esophagus and ending in his stomach. The doctor removed a six ounce piece of lead burnt into his stomach lining.
From a Listverse compilation of ten unusual ways to die, via The Armchair Reader of Weird, Unusual, and Strange Stuf.


  1. Sorry, the physics sounds fishy here. I have a hard time imagining how a small metallic object could burn through 12+ inches of human flesh before it cooled, and how it would have the momentum to keep falling too.

  2. I have a hard time believing the guy didn't notice swallowing SIX OUNCES of molten lead!

  3. This reminds me of a song called "a lighthouse tale" about a lighthouse whose keeper committed suicide or something or other.

    As for that guy, heh, it could potentially happen. Not sure how though.

  4. Six ounces of lead wouldn't be very big. Specific gravity is 11.35. Someone out there can figure the volume from that.

    I bet he noticed it - but not much he could do about it once it fell into his gullet.

  5. Wasn't torture with molten lead (and other metals) a popular, or at least unheard of thing in Medieval days?

  6. That would be a ball about 1.2 inches in diameter, a healthily unhealthy dose.

  7. Another song about a lighthouse keeper who committed suicide? There's also "White Pearl, Black Oceans" -- and I, sheltered me, thought the only egregious hazards of lighthouse keeping were leg endurance and acrophobia.

  8. Hi,
    I'm just passing by, found your site and just wanted to say keep up the good work. Your blog is so interesting....
    Thank you


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