The Washington DC mortuary of W.W. Chambers caused a scandal when it issued a calendar for 1948 featuring scantily-clad models to advertise its embalming business. Tagline: Beautiful Bodies by Chambers.
Time magazine (Jan 12, 1948) criticized it as "frank vulgarity." Although that didn't stop them from reprinting a page of the calendar (below) for the benefit of its readers.
Having recently got religion, and consequently filled with the fire of faith, young Albert Strate decided that "God would not let him die." So he took strychnine to test the theory. The coroner pronounced it suicide. Give Albert a Darwin Award.
October 2, 1964: One minute Veronica McConnell, 22, was happy and carefree. The young American woman had just arrived in Paris the night before on vacation and was visiting Notre Dame Cathedral. It was the first stop on the city bus tour.
After seeing the inside of the cathedral, she stopped to buy some candles at a stand in the plaza. Having made her purchase, she began walking back towards the tour group. The next second she was dead, killed by suicide jumper Denise Rey-Herme, 37, who had leapt off the cathedral's north tower. Rey-Herme was despondent, having learned that because of chronic ill health she would never achieve her ambition of becoming a nun.
Goes to show that death can strike at any moment, anywhere.
Note: there's some confusion about McConnell's age. Different accounts of the event list it as either 21, 22, or 24. The NY Times says she was 22, so I'm trusting they were right.
As people enjoy the beach this Fourth of July weekend, the Ocean City Beach Patrol would like to remind everyone to beware of killer umbrellas.
About five years ago (on June 30, 2010), Lynn Stevens was sitting on the beach, minding her own business, when an umbrella came plummeting out of the sky and impaled her leg. Here's her account of the incident:
"It was a very windy day and the umbrella was lifted straight up in the air. It came straight back down and went through my thigh. The pole went into my leg about four inches and it just missed my femoral artery. It didn’t tumble like you see them do so often. Instead, it went straight up and came straight down... It took four men to hold the umbrella steady in the wind to prevent it from doing more damage. They literally sawed off the pole right there on the beach and left about a 12-inch length of the pole sticking out of my leg. They took me to PRMC and the rest of it was taken out in the operating room. It was a little unnerving because the nurses and doctors looked a little astonished to see the umbrella pole sticking out of my leg because I figured they had probably seen everything."
That's pretty terrifying. The worst part is that there's not much you can do to prevent randomly being attacked by an umbrella that falls silently from the sky, because it's other people's umbrellas (improperly set in the sand) that are going to get you. You're at the mercy of their stupidity.