Sometimes the cruel hands of fate also have a sick sense of humor, whereby fate is twisted in a way that appears particularly evil.
Like a concert pianist crushed by a falling Baby Grand, irony can add a layer of macabre mockery to scenarios that would otherwise be unfortunate. In other cases, defeat or even death seem to be torn from the jaws of victory, giving fleeting false hope to the condemned or the damned.
Here are the top ten tragic ironies – in order of what happened.
10 Pictures of Irony
10 From Freed to Fried
Towards the end of the American Civil War, Confederate POW camps were no place to be. Until 1865 the south was so resource-saving  that it could hardly feed its soldiers and citizens, let alone conquer Union troops. In Georgia's infamous Andersonville camp, 13,000 of the 45,000 Union troops that invaded never came out. Hunger was an important factor, as evidenced by vivid photos of survivors. 
Then, in April, the news spread south that Robert E. Lee had surrendered. The war was over. An overjoyed nation wanted their soldiers to come home as soon as possible, including prisoners of war. Rails torn across the Confederacy sent boats south to fetch the newly freed men from Andersonville and other locations, including the Cahaba prison in Alabama.
Among them was the steamboat Sultana with a capacity of 376. In a hurry it was loaded with 2300 men and began its journey home.
It never made it. On April 27, several of his overwhelmed cauldrons exploded,  scorching some passengers and drowning others. The event is the worst naval disaster in US history, with the terrible twist that most victims were doomed, reborn, and then doomed again.
9 Joseph Johnston's Last Stand
More than a quarter of a century later, two of the most respected generals in the American Civil War took part in their own tragic irony.
In addition to Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman was the Union's most famous military leader. Under Grant, he played an important role in conquering strategic strongholds like Fort Henry and Donaldson and in the successful siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi,  the so-called "Key to the West". In 1864, when Grant became general-in-chief and moved east to attack Robert E. Lee's army in northern Virginia, Sherman took control of the western theater and conquered Atlanta before going on his famous march  Georgia and the Carolinas started.
While driving to Atlanta, Sherman's confederate counterpart was Joseph E. Johnston  who had played a key role in the first major competition in the conflict, the (first) Battle of Bull Run in July 1861. By 1864, the Union's advantages in terms of troop numbers and supplies had begun to overwhelm the dwindling Confederate forces. Johnston delayed Sherman's advance as best he could, but to no avail. Sherman, like his good friend Grant, maintained pressure by using superior numbers to flank Johnston's thinner lines,  which resulted in a slow but inevitable retreat.
Johnston acquired a reluctant but deep respect for Sherman. So much so that when Sherman died in 1891, the older Johnston took off his hat during the cold, rainy funeral. Johnston urged him to put his hat back on and said, "If I were in his place and he was standing in mine, he wouldn't put his hat on."
Johnston contracted pneumonia and died the next month – tragic irony with the bravery to respect his rivals. 
8 Hollywood Heroine & # 39; s Harrowing End
Last week we published a list of iconic locations depicted from the back, and on that list was the Hollywood sign. It mentioned Peg Entwistle and promised to delve deeper into her life on a future list. This is the list.
Entwistle played in just one film: Thirteen women (1932). In the book on which the picture is based, Entwhistle's character is a lesbian who starves to death in a bizarre form of suicide after being insulted by her sapphic lover (pretty scandalous stuff for the 1930s). In the film, however, she is a heterosexual woman who murders her husband and ends up in prison. The film is really out there and worth a watch if you like psychological thrillers; It is a clairvoyant Swami who sees visions of doom and a vengeful semi-oriental woman who causes the thirteen women to commit suicide to punish them for outlawing them during their school years together. 
Unfortunately, the test demonstrations for Entwistle's character Hazel, whose part was shortened from 16 to four minutes, were not a good sign. The apparent failure was unbearable for the aspiring actress. A month after being released (almost to the day), 24-year-old Peg Entwistle committed suicide when she wrote on the letters & # 39; H & # 39; climbed on the Hollywoodland sign (the last four letters were removed in 1949) and threw her down and fell 13.7m before her body rolled down the side of Mount Lee under his own swing.
Her farewell letter was found in a deserted handbag by a woman who was walking nearby. The note read: “I'm afraid I'm a coward. I apologize for everything. If I had done that a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. SPORT. "Many believe that the Hollywood sign is haunted by Entwistle's tragic spirit.
You may be wondering why this entry is on the list. Sure, it is vaguely ironic that her character committed suicide, but here is the bitterest irony in Peg Entwistle's life: Shortly before her suicide, she was sent a letter in which she plays the main role in a play about a young woman who commits suicide. 
7 The recovery-inspiring relapse
Edwin Thacher, whose friends called him Ebby, called an old buddy in Brooklyn Heights in 1934, and like many people from the Depression, Ebby's comrade had lost his luck and was unemployed.
He also drank a lot and was obsessed, had tried to sober but had been unsuccessful, and since Ebby was an old drinking buddy, this friend, William Wilson, was looking forward to a few yards to fight back someone who could keep up.
But instead of alcohol, Ebby brought a message of hope. He hadn't been able to stop drinking either. But Ebby  had arrested his alcoholism with a set of principles he had learned in part from a spirited organization called the Oxford Group. He was, he explained, a free man.
The conversation moved William Wilson so much that he is better known today as Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and chief architect of his twelve steps of recovery. He became the most famous sober alcoholic in history.
Ebby continued to get drunk.  A lot. He was a frequent relapse for the rest of his life.
Ironically, one of the reasons AA deviated from the Oxford Group and eventually distanced itself from it was because of its overly zealous evangelism.  Ebby was unable to practice what he preached, what could have made him fail, and indirectly saved millions over the next 85 years.
6 A tragically ironic last meal.
When the Allies of East and As West approached Nazi Germany, the long-held rumors became terrible truth when dozens of concentration camps were liberated. In death pits such as the Dachau camp in southwest Germany, corpses like cordwood  were stacked in some of the cruellest and most disturbing glasses ever seen.
Nonetheless, the liberation of the camps brought salvation to hundreds of thousands of those who had managed to survive, albeit barely. In Auschwitz, Poland, Russian troops found 7,000 starved and still alive souls. In northern Germany, British troops who arrived at the Bergan-Belsen camp saved 12,000.
It is not surprising that the vast majority of the freed prisoners were extremely emaciated, often days after death without adequate nutrition. And unfortunately, their starved status led to a tragically ironic downfall for several survivors.
Apparently the first goal of the Allies was to feed those who urgently need food. But when they did, many experienced such a severe shock to the system that they died of overeating.  Her official cause of death is “Refeeding Syndrome”  which can occur if a malnourished person takes too much too quickly and experiences a kind of “sugar shock”, in which the conversion of the food into glucose overwhelms the system.
10 creepy ironic historical deaths
5 A random anthem
Some songs are far more ironic than anything Alanis Morissette has ever written. 
Born in the United States is an example. The title of the song and the soaring, apparently joyful riff suggest a proud patriotism that binds both candidates and supporters to their homeland. Really makes me proud to be an American … um, wait … what about killing a yellow man? 
Springsteen's 1984 hit tells the story of a Vietnam War, far from provoking pride Veteran who enrolled after struggling in his hometown. When he returns, he finds employers who are unwilling to hire him and the government who can't help him (sounds about right). "I've been burning down the street for ten years," concludes the last stanza. "Nowhere to run is nowhere to be found."
This message of disillusionment is lost to many Americans, including Ronald Reagan  ] Who was President when the song went on air for the first time? "America's future rests in your hearts in a thousand dreams," he said. "It is based on the message of hope in songs by a man so many young Americans admire, New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen." Not quite, Gipper, but it's an easy mistake.
4 Biggies unfortunately exact album
Probably the greatest rapper who ever recorded a microphone has released the most tragic ironic album in hip-hip history.
On March 9, 1997, Brooklyn-born Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls was murdered while driving with a retinue from a Los Angeles nightclub. The assassination-style drive-by shoot took place only six months after Biggie's rap rival, the comparatively talented Los Angeles star Tupac Shakur, was gunned down on the Las Vegas Strip. Given the duo's unsurpassed talent, their murders were seen as the most costly consequence of a deadly feud between hip-hop artists on the east and west coasts.
One reason for her death was such tragedies that both Biggie and Tupac – already the two best rappers in the industry – were so young. Tupac was only 25 years old at the time of his murder; Wallace was only 24 years old. They still had a lot to give.
But it was what Biggie left that made his death particularly cruel: Two weeks after his murder, his ambitious 22-track double album hit the shelves. His title? Life after death.  The hardly posthumous album became the fourth highest rap album ever. Another level of irony: The last title on Life After Death's second CD is the menacing title "You Are Nobody (Until Someone Kills You)".
3 The office is closed.
Have you ever wondered why New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani wandered around Lower Manhattan on September 11, 1965, instead of overseeing emergency operations at a command center? Simple: he had nowhere else to go.
The city's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) was in … you guessed it, the World Trade Center  which is a bit like placing a military field hospital right between enemy lines. Partly tragic irony, partly bad planning, the NYC OEM was founded in 1996. Given that this was only three years after the 1993 bombing  of the fall of the Twin Towers, this is at best a questionable choice for an emergency response agency to deal with disasters.
The office was located in the 7 World Trade Center next to the two towers. On September 11th, this became problematic for two reasons. First, the OEM's communication was based on the antenna at 1 World Trade Center, the first building to be hit by an airplane. This antenna was soon partially blocked because the fire department needed it to control its own rescue operations.
And then of course the towers collapsed. It was ultimately the implosion of the North Tower – the second of the towers that fell at 10:28 AM – that damaged 7 World Trade so badly that the building had to be completely evacuated. It also broke down later that afternoon.
Fortunately, what began for Giuliani as a forced migration northward quickly became a situation in which New Yorkers and the whole world saw a leader at the front.
2 Judges' Day
9/11 has many strange coincidences,  but here is one that turns into true tragic irony: the first person to depict the destruction of the day – about seven years before this fateful September day – has the same name as the first official victim of the day. Almost.
In 1994, one year after the first unsuccessful attempt to destroy NYC's World Trade Center, VICE magazine published an article entitled "What is Al Qaeda?"  The story was a detailed look at the then little-known terrorist organization under the leadership of Osama bin Laden.
For some reason, the main image of the article was a cartoon of Beavis and Butthead, which peaked in 1994. The fool's duo is shown in turbans while – you suspect – planes fly into the Twin Towers.
Beavis and Butthead were created by Mike Judge, who wrote the cult comedy Office Space and the long-standing cartoon series, King of the Hill, in 1998.
On September 11, 2001, Mychal Judge – or rather Father Mychal Judge,  the chaplain of the New York Fire Service – was one of the first to reach Ground Zero. Father Judge drove one of the first engines on the day to give comfort in every possible way. He died when the south tower – the first of the two to fall – collapsed.
His body was quickly taken across the street to a church where countless others had already been killed by the first impact (and the terrible jump) that day, Father Mychal Judge became 9/11 victim 0001,  the first official victim of the day.
1 Pain in the glass
Melvin Henry Ignatow was not a nice person.
The man from Louisville, Kentucky, decided that if he couldn't have his girlfriend Brenda Schaefer, no one could have her. When Schäfer ended their two-year relationship, Ignatow ended their life.
It was a particularly brutal murder. Ignatow and an ex-girlfriend, Mary Ann Shore, carefully dug a grave and soundproofed its house. On September 23, 1988, Ignatow Schäfer brought to Shore's house, took her off, tied and choked her, and then raped her repeatedly. I wonder what Ms. Shore has ever seen in this young man.
Ignatow then tied Schäfer to a glass table – a strange scene for a murder that comes back later – and smothered her with chloroform. The worst part is that Ignatow and Shore got away with it. And we know that the jury misunderstood their acquittal because Ignatow later admitted the murder  during a subsequent investigation into perjury. He was serving five years for being under oath during the murder trial, but could not be murdered again under US law.
Ignatow was released from prison in 2006. Two years later, he fell into his house, cut himself, and bled to death. The culprit? A glass coffee table.  See you in hell, Mel.
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About the author: Christopher Dale ( @ChrisDaleWriter ) writes about politics, society and Sobriety. His work has been published in the Daily Beast, New York Daily News, New York Post and Parents.com, among others.
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