Category:
Death

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 18


Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 15, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, Europe, United Kingdom, Nineteenth Century

LSD Dangers:  The Hotdog

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 09, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Death, Drugs, Psychedelic, Food, PSA’s, 1960s

Guess the genuine suicide notes

The 1957 book Clues to Suicide, edited by Edwin Shneidman and Norman Farberow, contains an unusual quiz in the appendix. It presents the reader with 33 pairs of suicide notes. In each pair one of the notes is genuine and one is "simulated." The reader is challenged to guess which is which.

The genuine notes were all obtained from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. The simulated notes were obtained from "nonsuicidal individuals contacted in labor unions, fraternal groups, and the general community." The individuals were told that by writing the notes they were helping with a scientific study on suicide prevention.

Furthermore, all the note writers (of both the genuine and simulated notes) were "male, Caucasian, Protestant, native-born, and between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-nine."

The authors suggest taking the quiz before reading their book (but not looking at the answers), and then re-taking the quiz after reading it in order to determine if the book has provided "greater perspicacity."

I've pasted three sample pairs below, but I also made a pdf of the entire quiz (with the answer key at the end).

Or you can find the quiz in the book itself which is available to read at the Internet Archive.







More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 24, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, Suicide, Quizzes

Woodbury Rand, cat lover

When Boston attorney Woodbury Rand died in 1944, he left $40,000 to his cat Buster. Out of a $1,000,000 estate, that's not particularly unusual. But what made his will odd was that he disinherited anyone whom he felt hadn't properly appreciated Buster.

Buster was only 8 years old when Rand died, but he died the following year. Perhaps of a broken heart?



New York Daily News - Aug 6, 1944



New York Daily News - Dec 30, 1945

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 11, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Cats, 1940s

Death by Roses

Aug 1979: Mary A. Koch collapsed and died while at work soon after receiving a bouquet of roses as a wedding anniversary gift from her husband. Medical examiners suspected she had a fatal, allergic reaction to the roses.

Detroit Free Press - Aug 30, 1979



While the death from roses was strange enough, it turns out that her mother had died earlier "under similar circumstances."

Waterville Morning Sentinel - Sep 1, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 05, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, 1970s

Beulah’s Tomb

Beulah Acklin of St. Petersburg, Florida died on May 15, 1948, 52 years old. Her husband, mailman Roy Acklin, built a mausoleum for her in Greenwood Cemetery. He fitted up the interior of it to look like a living room. On the wall he hung a blue neon sign with her name, "Beulah".

He spent much of his time hanging out at the mausoleum, inviting the public to view it and sign their name in his guestbook, while he recited Beulah's favorite bible verses through a public-speaking system.

In 1983, Beulah's remains were reinterred in Jacksonville.









Pix magazine - Aug 9, 1952

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 12, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, 1940s

Estate Willed by Talkie

Video wills have become quite common, but they weren't back in 1931. So the unnamed testator described below was breaking new ground by creating one (or rather, a filmed will).

I particularly like the detail that he left instructions on where everyone should sit while watching the film, so that he could look at each person directly from the grave.

Wichita Eagle - Jan 10, 1931

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 30, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Law, Movies, 1930s

The Princess Who Was Murdered by a Moth

The story goes that Princess Caravella of Italy was found dead in her bed, shot through the heart. Her husband was accused of her murder, but during the trial a police investigator convinced the jury that the Princess had actually been killed by a moth that singed its wings on a candle in her room, then fell onto a pistol lying on her bedside table, thereby causing the weapon to fire, shooting her through the heart.

I doubt any part of this story is true. After all, I can't find any historical references to a "Princess Caravella" other than the ones about her strange death. But the story was printed repeatedly in newspapers during the first half of the twentieth, always presented as an odd but true tale.

The earliest account of the story I can find dates to 1895, where it was credited to the New York World. I assume a reporter for the New York World made it up.

Chicago Chronicle - Dec 29, 1895


Here's a slightly shorter version of the story from 1937.

Tunkhannock New Age - Feb 18, 1937


I can't find the story in papers after the 1940s, but it did continue to pop up in books about odd trivia and weird deaths. For instance, below is a version that appeared in the 1985 weird-news book Own Goals by Graham Jones. Note that Jones identified Princess Caravella only as an "Italian wife," making the story seem more contemporary.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 14, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, Insects and Spiders, Nineteenth Century

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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