Claim: Halloween hanging stunts goes wrong and hangs a man for real.
Origins: Imitating a grisly death by hanging is an annual feature of many Halloween "haunt" shows and spooky decorative displays, 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
Police said that hayride customers found the body of Brian Jewell, 17,
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.
"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 [that day]. But the tractor driver became concerned later, when Jewell failed to give a speech he normally made as the wagon passed.
William Anthony Odom of
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.
Morlan had been hanging Halloween decorations all day and had just returned home from helping his mom do laundry when the tragedy occurred.
Jordan's mom, Ginger Rodriguez, said he was trying to prank his little sister and her by pretending to be hanging from a noose decoration he put up on a tree in their front yard. The coroner said when he placed the noose around his neck, he became disoriented cutting his brain off from oxygen within
His younger sister discovered him unconscious and Rodriguez rushed to help cut him down, but said she was unable to remove her son.
Morlan was taken to the hospital where he was placed on a ventilator because he was in a coma. Rodriguez says her son's organs started to fail. Jordan died
Rodriguez said her son loved to play pranks and loved Halloween.
Last updated: 14 October 2014
Prichard, James. "Teenager's Hanging Stirs Questions." Detroit Free Press. 23 October 2001. Associated Press. "Youth Hangs Self at Halloween Party." The Washington Post. 22 October 2001. Chicago Tribune. "Teen Dies During Halloween Hanging Stunt." 23 October 1990 (p. 5). Los Angeles Times. "Teen Dies in Halloween Accident." 29 October 1990 (p. P2). WHAS-TV [Louisville]. "Mother of 16-Year-Old Who Died During Halloween Prank Talks About Son." 24 September 2013.