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May 1, 1947: Evelyn McHale, 23, commits suicide by jumping from the Empire State Building observation deck. Photographer: Robert Wiles.
LIFE (May 12, 1947)
In These Shakes
5 years ago
Holy cow (thanks Wikipedia):
Over the years, more than thirty people have committed suicide from the top of the building. The first suicide occurred even before its completion, by a worker who had been laid off. The fence around the observatory terrace was put up in 1947 after five people tried to jump during a three-week span.
On May 1, 1947, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the 86th floor observation deck and landed on a United Nations limousine parked at the curb. Photography student Robert Wiles took a photo of McHale's oddly intact corpse a few minutes after her death. The police found a suicide note among possessions she left on the observation deck: "He is much better off without me ... I wouldn’t make a good wife for anybody". The photo ran in the May 12, 1947 edition of LIFE Magazine and is often referred to as "The Most Beautiful Suicide". It was later used by visual artist Andy Warhol in one of his paintings entitled Suicide (Fallen Body).
On December 2, 1979, Elvita Adams jumped from the 86th floor, only to be blown back onto the 85th floor and left with a broken hip.
5 years ago
One of my absolute favorite photographs, it's perfect.
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