Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A young man was hanged for real when a Halloween show stunt went wrong.
Origins: Imitating a grisly death by hanging is an annual feature of many Halloween "haunt" shows, usually implemented by securing the victim in a harness that supports his weight when he drops from the gallows so that the noose placed over his head doesn't actually snap his neck or constrict his windpipe and prevent him from breathing. Unfortunately, on more than one occasion such stunts have gone wrong and resulted in actual deaths.
One such fatality was reported by the Chicago Tribune in
Teen Dies During Halloween Hanging StuntAnother accidental "hanging gone wrong" story was reported that same month by the Los Angeles Times:
A teenager who pretended to hang from a gallows as part of a pre-Halloween hayride died while performing the stunt.
The stunt had worked on other nights and there was no indication of foul play, prosecutor James Holzapfel said. The gallows was being checked for flaws, and an autopsy was performed Monday.
"He's supposed to have the noose around his neck, but it's not a noose that tightens," said Holzapfel. Jewell would step down about one foot to the ground, making it appear he had been hanged, Holzapfel said.
During the ride, about 40 people are driven past several Halloween fright exhibits. The stunt went off without problems earlier Saturday. But the tractor driver became concerned later, when Jewell failed to give a speech he normally made as the wagon passed.
A 15-year-old staging a gallows scene at a Halloween party accidentally hanged himself when the noose somehow tightened, authorities said today.The Associated Press reported yet another fatal hanging accident in October 2001, this one involving a
William Anthony Odom of
Caleb put the noose around his neck but when he let go of the rope, he apparently was not heavy enough to prevent the branch from whipping back up and choking him, his mother said.Barbara "no noose is good noose" Mikkelson
When he started scrambling to get the double-knotted rope off his neck, fellow workers seemed to think he was acting, she said.
"I think he thought he was safe because his feet were touching the ground," Kathy Rebh said.
Hayride employees and participants tried to resuscitate Caleb, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Last updated: 27 October 2005
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