Death experts have worked out the grisliest ways to die, which include being crushed by a falling lift and sinking to the bottom of Mariana trench.

These macabre experts explain the science behind the most far-fetched, cartoonish, and (hopefully) impossible deaths imaginable.

Here is a round-up of five of the most ghastly ways to go, with an explanation of exactly how you would meet your gruesome end.

Paul Doherty, senior staff scientist at San Francisco's Exploratorium Museum, and writer Cody Cassidy looked at the science behind fantastical scenarios.


Doherty took questions from the public in a Reddit Q&A in which he revealed the science behind some of the most horrifying deaths imaginable.

Being crushed in a falling lift
The thought of being crushed in a falling lift might instil fear in those of us who work above the first floor.

If a lift does starts falling, Dr Doherty explained that "laying flat on your back is the best way to spread out the G forces evenly through your body."

If you're standing up, your organs may keep falling even though your body has stopped, he warned.

The design of the lift would have a big impact on whether you die or not.

If the elevator fits well in the shaft a pillow of air below the car could potentially slow your fall, he said.

"Crossing your fingers is also a good idea," he added.

Falling to the bottom of Mariana trench
The Mariana Trench, the deepest known part of the Earth's oceans, lies between Japan to the north and Australia to the south and features depths in excess of 36,000 feet.

"If you sank to the bottom of the Mariana trench you would drown before you reached a crushing depth," said Dr Doherty.

Humans are mostly water, which is incompressible. This means that you would retain your basic human shape.

"The air pockets inside you, namely in your nasal cavity, throat and chest, would be a problem. Those would collapse inward, which would fatal," said Dr Doherty.

Your shrivelled body would not float to the surface as you would not have any air.

"You would likely stay at the bottom to be consumed by the bone-eating snot flower, which usually eats whale bones but would probably make an exception in this case," said Dr Doherty.

Jumping through a hole in the Earth
If you jump through a hole in the Earth it would take 45 minutes to get to the other side.

However, if you were to dig a hole from pole to pole and travel through it you burn to death before you got to the core.

"The centre of the earth is hotter than the surface of the sun, so you'd cook. You are going to need a refrigerated impossibly well insulated suit," said Dr Doherty.

Falling through the earth from one side to the other would take 45 minutes. Photo / 123RF
Falling through the earth from one side to the other would take 45 minutes. Photo / 123RF

You would also need to remove the air in the tube.

"The pressure and density of the air starts out doubling every 15,000 feet of depth (5 km) so after 10 doublings at 15,000 feet and 30 miles (48km) the air is as dense as water and you sink no further."

In other words you would either die by cooking or be crushed by unimaginably dense air.

Getting too close to a neutron star
Neutron stars are believed to form by the gravitational collapse of the remains of a massive star after a supernova explosion.

They typically have a couple of times the mass of the sun compressed into a sphere the size of a city.

"You'll probably be killed by the radiation produced as matter falls into the neutron star on the way in, and certainly at a close distance of one mile," warned Dr Doherty.

However, if the star was unnaturally quiet you would instead be killed by extreme gravity.

"This means if your head is pointed toward the neutron star it will be tugged toward the star much more strongly than your feet and this tidal force will rip you apart."

Neutron stars are a hundred billion times stronger magnets than the strongest magnets on earth.

"At those levels of magnetism your atoms are distorted into thin cigars and all the bonds between atoms that make up the molecules in your body are broken."

This means "you become a plasma shaped human cloud that is tidally stretched and pulled into the star," he said.

Being struck by a particle accelerator
Particle accelerators accelerating subatomic particles to high speeds by using electromagnetic fields.

'We think a hit from the Large Hadron Collider would be lethal' Doherty says. Photo / 123RF
'We think a hit from the Large Hadron Collider would be lethal' Doherty says. Photo / 123RF

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

"Whether you would die or not would depend on the power of the particle accelerator and how much radiation it was carrying", said Dr Doherty.

Anatoli Bugorski is a Russian scientist who was struck by a particle accelerator in 1978.

"Bugorski's accelerator was 100 less times as powerful than the LHC, and it was also only a single pulse, while the LHC is a machine gun," said Dr Doherty.

"The beam paralysed one side of Anatoli Bugorki's face. As a result now many years later one side of his face is smooth and unwrinkled while the other side has aged by decades.

"But since Bugorski nearly died from radiation poisoning, we think a hit from the LHC would be lethal," he said.