Claim: A fellow intent upon killing a raccoon manages to launch himself as a fireball out a drainage pipe.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1998]
In rural Carbon County, PA, a group of men were drinking beer and discharging firearms from the rear deck of a home owned by Irving Michaels,
Determined to terminate the animal,
The subsequent rapidly expanding fireball propelled
Amazingly, he suffered only minor injuries. "It was actually pretty cool," Michaels said, "Like when they shoot someone out of a cannon at the circus. I'd do it again if I was sure I wouldn't get hurt."
Origins: The tale of Irving Michaels and his rocketing ride through the air first appeared on the Internet in 1998 and has subsequently been included in any number of "Darwin Award" mailings. No news reports have surfaced to substantiate the tale, which puts paid to
the notion the text quoted above was a newspaper article detailing the event. Folks living in the area also have no recollection of such an
The physics of the matter make the described fireball ride highly unlikely. Granted, the combustible fumes off five gallons of gasoline could give one a right nice little send-off if touched off by a match, but for that drainage pipe to act like a cannon barrel, the man who climbed down into it would have to have been packed in there tightly
Could this have happened? A full-grown man launched in the manner described from a drainage pipe, riding a fireball
An anonymous e-mail sent to the DarwinAwards.com site in 2000 claimed the event happened as described, but to someone named Mike Irving. Its writer dismisses the lack of print corroboration as due to the launched man's not needing medical care, hence no need to involve authorities, thus no police report, hospital records, or news coverage. Yeah, right.
Barbara "coon and the barbarian" Mikkelson
Sightings: This legend appeared in an episode of NBC's Crossing Jordan ("Secrets & Lies,
Last updated: 17 March 2007