Fact Check

Eiffel Tower Suicide

Photograph supposedly shows a suicide victim stepping off the Eiffel Tower just before plunging to his death.

Published Nov. 16, 2009

A photograph shows a suicide victim stepping off the Eiffel Tower.

"Last moment of life" photographs hold an especial fascination for many people, perhaps because they serve as chilling reminders of our own mortality yet also as reassuring notices that, whatever tragedies may have befallen others, those of us left behind to view such pictures have (so far) remained safely out of harm's way. Compelling examples of such photographs are relatively uncommon, however, leading to creations that are either fabricated images (e.g., the infamous "Accidental Tourist photo) or real pictures with fabricated back stories (e.g., the "Bull Shot" photo).

The image of an Eiffel Tower visitor about to take a deliberate plunge over the side of that famous landmark displayed above belongs in the former category: It's an entry (entitled "Paris Jumper") submitted to a 2003 Photoshop contest ("Final Photo 2") on the Worth1000.com (now the DesignCrowd) web site, a competition in which contestants were challenged to create images matching the tagline "The last picture you'll ever take ..."

Many people have indeed taken suicide plunges off the Eiffel Tower (a 1966 article placed the tally-to-date at 349 back then), but the installation of preventive barricades has made the practice more difficult in recent years.


Sparks, Ian.   "Teenager Jumps to Her Death from Eiffel Tower."      Daily Mail.   27 June 2009.

Time   "France: Jumping-Off Place."     9 September 1966.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.