4 of the Strangest Disasters in History

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Most of us live a fairly mundane, uneventful life, don’t we? Sure, we might occasionally push the boat out and throw a wild party or travel somewhere exciting, but we don’t expect weird things to ever happen to us.

It’s true that you probably won’t ever suffer anything drastically weird in your lifetime, but some of the strangest disasters have occurred throughout history, which prove that you can never take anything for granted.

The London Beer Flood

You have probably heard about the Great Fire of London, but what about the same city’s Great Beer Flood? This unusual accident happened in 1814 and left the streets of the English capital covered in beer. A total of almost 4 and a half million pints were released when one massive vat burst open, causing others to rupture. It sounds funny and possibly even enjoyable, but there was a serious side to it too. A couple of homes and a pub were badly damaged, and it is believed that 7 people drowned in the tidal wave of beer. An attempt to sue the brewery failed when the incident was classified as an Act of God.

The Boston Molasses Disaster

It is bad enough to be walking along the street minding your own business, only to become engulfed by a beer tsunami. Finding yourself face to face with a wall of molasses is probably even worse. This weird accident happened in 1919, a little over a century after London was covered in runaway beer. In this case, the action took place in Boston in the US. On a hot day, an explosion in a giant tank of molasses sent bits of metal spinning through the air and rocking neighbouring houses. That wasn’t the weird bit either, nor the worst bit. That came when the 50 foot high tank started to empty its contents; 2.3 million gallons of the stuff. It is said that the wave of molasses reached a height of somewhere between 15 and 30 ft., and travelled at around 35 mph. As in the beer disaster of London, there were casualties, with 21 dead and 150 injured. Buildings and cars were also ruined due to the sticky disaster.

The Empire State Building Crash

We have all seen images of King Kong standing on top of the Empire State Building while swatting away planes, but the building had an even scarier incident happen to it in 1945, which most people don’t seem to know about. This was right at the end of World War II when a US B-25 plane was arriving to New York. The pilot was trying to navigate through heavy fog and extremely reduced visibility. Air control staff told him to wait before trying to land, but he tried to do it anyway, using the city’s skyscrapers to guide himself by. He got lost at some point, eventually slamming the plane into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building.  The pilot, two passengers and eleven workers from the building died. Of course, the event was cruelly repeated in 2001 with the 9-11 disaster at the World Trade Centre. Modern security measures means that you shouldn’t be in danger of a molasses flood these days, but good health coverage through HSAForAmerica.com  is still a great idea.

The Royal Ball of Fire

The previous strange accidents were all things which happened to people who were minding their own business when they got a very nasty surprise. However, there are also cases in which someone causes their own downfall by being irresponsible. Back in 1393 King Charles VI of France was getting ready for a social event, which would later be known as the Ball of the Burning Men. At some point, someone suggested that the king and 4 other nobles dress up as savages to dance about the place. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Anyway, they soaked themselves in some sort of flammable resin or wax in order to stick straggly hair to their bodies. Of course, the people holding the torches were advised to stay well away from them. Sadly, a latecomer to the party wandered over with a lit torch to get a better look. His torch set one of the men on fire, and while the king was saved, the other 4 revellers all died.


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