2002 ARCHIVE

Disclaimer: I in no way vouch for the authenticity of any of these stories. If people's lives are so dull that they want to lie about these things, I can't really stop them... but feel free to call them on it.
In other words, please don't lie... or you'll probably be exposed in the end and won't you feel stupid then???


"My Brush With Morbidity" by J.W.

"I am an ER doctor and have had my share of brushes, but I think the best story involves a friend of mine Corrine.We were both working in the ER as medical students when a "triple zero" call came through the paramedic radio. A triple zero is a patient who has been found without vital signs-heart rate, breathing or blood pressure. The man had been without vital signs for a long period of time.

"Attempts to resuscitate him failed. He was very large - 6'2" and about 300 lbs. It is common for nursing staff to clean the person up so family can view the body. My friend Corrine volunteered to help out. While seeing other patients in the ER I suddenly heard Corrine calling for help, but her voice was muffled. Some of us ran into the room and found her on the floor with the dead naked man on top of her! The only thing sticking out were her feet which were kicking furiously.

"We rushed to help her but were laughing so hard it took forever to get him off of her. It turns out that she and the nurses had turned the body on his side with Corrine holding him in front. The nurses left Corrine alone briefly to get a plastic shroud to wrap him in. The man was so big Corrine had a hard time holding him and he toppled over on top of her.

"Corrine survived the trauma and became a family medicine doctor. I stayed in ER because after that incident I knew any profession so entertaining I had to be a part of."

What a mortifying incident - in more ways that one!!!

Posted 12.01.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by James Knipple

"One day, during the summer before I entered my senior year of high school, I was sitting on my parents couch watching TV when one of my neighbors ran into the yard screaming, "Ruth drowned in her pool!" Ruth was my neighbor. She was a bit...wacky. She had some mental problems. Anyhow, she had a swimming pool (only about 4 feet deep), and I figured that she probably had just fallen in and couldn't get out. I was trained in first aid so, in case it actually was serious, I ran to their yard. A small crowd had formed by the time I got to the pool, and one neighbor was already in it, dragging Ruth to the side. I asked what happened, and someone said that they found her on the bottom of the pool. Apparently she had an epileptic attack while cleaning the pool and fell in. I don't know how long she'd been under, but when I helped drag her out, she was cold and bloated and starting to turn black and blue. I checked for a pulse and breathing and found nothing. We started CPR (thank God I didn't have to give breaths to her) until the EMT unit came. I was in such a state of shock that I started blurting out how there was no way she was going to survive, not realizing that her small children were in front of me. Anyhow, she did die. Later that day I had my senior pictures taken, and now everytime I see those pictures, I remember why my smile looks forced."

Posted 10.23.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Deadinmi

"From my freshman to junior years in high school, I was on the school's rowing team. We would go on trips out of our home state of Michigan often, if not twice a month. We were going to the Midwest Junior Rowing Championships during the spring of my freshman year, and carnage was all we saw. On the trip down to Cincinnati, a semi had hit an overpass with its trailer and it had simply come off, taking out several cars until it stopped. This wasn't that disturbing or anything, but that was just the beginning. After a weekend of great racing, we headed home on our bus. After about three hours of traveling, we passed a really bad accident. It was a conversion van that had been rear-ended by a semi. The front of the truck was right behind the front seats of the van. That gave the two kids in the back seat a very slim chance. As we sat right next to this mess, they cut one of the kids out, well, more like the pieces of one of the kids out. After we finally got moving again, we made it almost all the way home. Since we're from the suburbs of Detroit, I-94 was our way home from Ohio, but since it was closed, we took Mack Avenue, a semi-big street. Well, our bus stopped at a red light, but the two guys on motorcycles next to us didn't. The first one just fell and got run over by oncoming traffic. He lived, I think. The second one went out with a bang though. He hit in about the middle of a bus and was launched up through the windows of the bus and out the other side. We all had to stay and be witnesses, and that was all right, but if you've ever been to Detroit you'll understand the rest better. They had the guy who went through the windows of the bus covered with a sheet, well, one of the locals was intrigued and went up and lifted the sheet to see just what this guy looked like. Needless to say, we finally got home after our greatly morbid weekend, which if you think about it, was pretty scary for a 15 year old. Maybe that's why I'm the morbid person I am today."

Okay, I've said it before and I'll say it again: some people have all the luck!!!

Posted 08.31.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Paul

"This happened in downtown Chicago in the Loop.

"I had literally just told my boss to F%$k off and was walking up Michigan Avenue really enjoying the day. As I was crossing the bridge over the Chicago River I saw a group of people looking over the side. Of course I joined them and was just in time to see them pull a body up from the depths of the river on a rope. He was a 20-something male wearing black pants and a white shirt. There's no way this guy could have been alive - the body was completely limp and his head lolled back so far on his neck I thought it would break off. He was also almost, but not quite, the color of a fish's underbelly. Watching the SCUBA diver trying to get the body onto the floating platform kind've reminded me of someone trying to juggle live eels.

"I stuck around for awhile to watch and the story going around the crowd was that he'd lost his job and decided to snuff it. The Chicago River is a good choice for this because even if you don't drown you'll likely contract some exotic disease from all the pollution.

"After the action died down I continued on up the street. It wasn't until I was on the bus on the way home that I realized *I* was wearing a white shirt and black jeans. Since technically I had just "lost" my job (quit, actually) it amused me greatly to think that the fellow in the river could very easily have been mistaken for me by my ex-boss and co-workers. I never bothered to correct them.

"That was one of the best days of my life."

Posted 08.11.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by High Priestess TDW

"I remember I was going to perform in a Holiday concert with my choir one night, and we were crammed in one van on the highway going to Seattle. We were messing around, laughing, and being rowdy, when at one point, somebody yelled 'Hey! Look!' and ahead of us, we saw some bright sparks flying and a semi weaving crazily until it slid over and stopped diagonally across several lanes. Cars were veering away from it, but we were far enough away that we were safe. The traffic slowed, but kept moving, and we inched our way past. The wreckage started about 200 feet away from the semi. Skid marks, bits of tire, axel, transmission case, various fluids. But none of us were really prepared for what we saw when we got to the accident itself. What I assume was the driver of the rig was allright and a bunch of people that had stopped to help were standing around and talking to him. One looked like he was trying to comfort him, and he was leaning on his truck with his face in his hands. Partially underneath the truck, there was was the hidiously mangled remains of a red Honda Accord. The top of the sedan had been sheared off and so had the top of the driver's head. A woman was missing her head from the forehead back. The semi was blocking several lanes, so there wasn't much room to get around, so we had to go pretty close. Close enough for me to see that what was left of her head was folded back over the seat and the white orbs of her eyes and her mouth hanging open. Somehow, her car had become trapped underneath the semi and had been dragged along. All I could think about was her family sitting at home at that very moment, unaware that probably within an hour's time, their lives were going to change forever. Then a guy in the back started singing a dirge for her, and the rest of us joined in."

Posted 07.08.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Barb

"In the mid-nineties, I was waiting, along with a few thousand others, for tickets to see Pink Floyd. It was a lottery type deal. The concert was to be held at the Ohio State University football stadium. We were in line at the stadium with numbered armbands to receive our tickets when people started screaming. We ran to the west side of the stadium and found that a man had jumped or fallen from the top of the stadium. He was lying in a pool of blood and a woman was giving him CPR. He was very grey in color. At the time, I worked in the medical billing department of the university hospital and looked up his ER report the following day. The term given to the condition of his bones I don't remember. I looked it up and it meant, pretty much, pulverized. Afterward they talked to the man's wife, who was also in line for tickets, and she had no explanation as to why he was up there or why he jumped or fell."

Posted 06.22.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Heather

"When I was about 12 or 13, our M.Y.F. group (Methodist Youth Fellowship -- that strange noise you hear in the background is me cringing) went to Hershey Park, in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This was in about 1973, and the park had either recently inaugurated or was on the verge of inaugurating a roller-coaster that did a loop-de-loop - a big deal at the time. I was with a friend of mine, up on a hill or platform of some sort, overlooking the roller-coaster rails. We were saying how cool it was, etc., and observing the workmen in mechanic's overalls who were walking back and forth along a sort of catwalk in-between the pairs of elevated rails. These rails were not conventional railroad rails; rather, they seemed to be tubular. As I recall, compressed air flowed from these tubes, and that was what this new train would glide on. This sleigh-like design made it very difficult to lift off the tracks. These men were working at a point where the tracks leveled out at the bottom of a long incline. In the center of our panoramic view, one worker was standing on the catwalk, doubled over one rail, looking at wiring or something underneath it. To the left were several other workmen walking to and fro along the catwalk, chattering, and moving things about. To the far right was a stopped train. The train, with several cars, was locked into position with what must have been wedges or something to that effect. Suddenly one of the men in the group to the left shouted to the guy in the middle, 'Watch out!' Naturally, the workman bent over the rail looked in his colleague's direction for a second before looking anywhere else, so he didn't see the train. It had come loose and began to slide quickly and silently down the tracks, trapping him underneath, and largely slicing him in two across his back. Since, as I described before, the train couldn't be lifted, he remained there, flopping jerkily (I hope, unconscious) for several minutes, until the life had drained out of him, while his helpless companions raced around, trying to figure out what to do. Just as park employees came in to wave us out of the area, the fire department arrived, and we watched as they began to jack the train up and back it away in order to get him out from under it. It was an amazing scene: hundreds of people strolling around with candy and burgers, trying to choose which ride they'd go on next, completely unaware of this man's suffering and death; the crazy amusement park music and noise in the background; blood streaming down the gaily painted girders holding up the tracks, and we two teenage girls on our Methodist outing standing there and watching it all like a movie."

Heather would like to know: Can anyone else provide more information regarding this accident?

Lo and behold - we asketh, and Keith giveth:

"The man, or should I say boy, that was killed was a high school student working as a Co-Op student. His name Bill Hartel. He was 17, if I recall correctly, and an electrical construction student at the Lebanon County Vo-Tech school. I was in that class with him although he was a few years older than I. Years later I worked at Hershey Park as an Electrician and worked with many of the men who were there that sad day. The passing years and your young age at the time have changed a few of the lesser details. Let me tell you the story with more details: The coaster is called the Super Dooper Looper. It is still running at Hershey Park. It does not ride on air. There are several sets of wheels on each car and each set has wheels on the top, bottom and outside edge. This setup keeps the cars in place while the train is upside down in the loop. It also prevents lifting of the cars as you said. For reasons of cost, work platforms were placed at key locations rather then a full catwalk around the entire ride. (This has since been corrected.) As you said Bill was standing on one of these platforms near the entrance of the loading / unloading station. One train was in the station in the forward position, the other train was stopped on the waiting brake about 200ft away. The brakes squeeze two vertical steel plates that are mounted under the train. These plates take on a knife like look as they wear. The waiting brake holds the train higher than the station and is used to hold a train until the station is cleared. Once the station is cleared the brake releases and gravity allows the train to roll into the station. Bill was on the platform between the two trains. The computer that controls the ride keep track of train position with proximity switches. These are non contact switches that sense a metal object is within about inch of the switch. Bill had set a metal tool on one of these switches. It happened to be the switch that tells the computer that the back of the train has passed and it is safe to release the waiting brake and allow the next train to enter the station. When Bill picked up the tool the computer read that as the OK. The waiting brake released and the train quietly rolled down the grade building speed and momentum. Bill was struck in the back by those two knife-like steel plates. I was told that it cut through flesh, ribs and lungs on both sides of his back. Thankfully, the coroner said that he died instantly. School was not the same again. Hershey Park stopped using Co-Op students and lawyers lined up get a piece of everyone. I should also note that one of the other workers, in an act of desperation, had braced himself against a hand rail and tried to stop the train with his legs. He suffered a broken leg."

Thank you very much for "fleshing out" (so to speak) the details of this extra-gruesome brush, Keith!

Posted 06.20.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by SJD

"I work as a freight conductor for a class A railroad out of Bakersfield, Ca. About a month ago, I was called to work to relieve a crew that had just hit a guy about 30 miles north of town. It's normal procedure to get crews off the train if they've hit someone. My engineer and I arrived with instructions to wait for the local coroner to show up and pick up what he can. We got out of the van and were met by the crew that ran the guy over. The engineer, a friend of mine, asks me 'Want to see a leg?' Me, being the kind of guy I am, said "Sure!" We walked back between the first and second units. I shined my flashlight (it was 3:00 AM) to find a single leg in a very unlikely place. The leg was wedged in a small opening in the snowplow directly under the drawbar. For you civilians, the drawbar is the big horizontal bar that holds the "knuckle". The knuckle holds the cars together. The leg (I couldn't tell right or left) still had on a pair of dirty white pants. Part of the foot was still there because most of the sock was visible. I've worked at the railroad for 6 years now and this was my first experience with human roadkill. I wasn't sure how I would react.- I have yet to score a "kill" of my own. Where was the rest of the poor bastard? I was told he was in pieces somewhere around a half mile to a mile behind of the train. When asked how this happened, the conductor told me as soon as they could make something out on the track ahead of them, they started braking. Visibility was limited because it was nightime - they weren't quite sure what it was. They couldn't stop in time to keep from plowing through the guy sitting between the rails. He was facing away from the train and showed no movement - which was strange because the horns are pretty loud on those locomotives up close. The snowplow hit the guy square on and he crumpled up and rolled underneath the train. They were not going fast, but it didn't matter. I was told he came apart on impact. In case you're wondering, when the plow on the front of a locomotive makes contact with a body (head) it makes a sort of dull gong sound. You know, experiencing this didn't bother me at first. It took about a day for all of it to sink in. It was a sobering experience."

Posted 06.01.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Jeremy

"Somewhere circa 1991 a cousin of mine, his girlfriend and I were walking home from a rock show at a local bar on a Saturday night. We were walking these train tracks that run through Madison, WI that served us as a shortcut for us to get back to where we were going to sleep for the night when all of the sudden there was a huge explosion and a burst of light so bright that it made us turn away. Once we got our sight back, so to speak, we saw a body fall from a huge electrical transformer about 100 ft in front of us. I remember seeing what looked like the hair of the victim on fire and the body convulsing probably due to the electrical current the just ran through his body. We immediately ran to our friend's house to call 911. Following the call we hustled back to the scene where the EMS and fire trucks were already present. Folks at a local bar in the area heard the explosion and called 911 also. I remember the article in the paper the following day saying the victim was up on the transformer spray painting something. What a horrible price to pay for vandalism. The victim lived until that Monday."

I only wish the local vandals could learn something from his experience!

Posted 05.28.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Marie

"A couple of months ago my friend, Tony, was driving around town in his work truck trying to waste a little bit of time before his work day ended. Suddenly he drove by a friend's house of his that use to work with him. He hadn't seen this friend for awhile and decided to stop and check up on his friend, Mike. Well Mike has a long history of alcoholism and Tony usually checked on him on a regular basis but lately that had not been the case. My friend decided to stop at Mike's place to see now he was doing and if he might be interested in coming back to work. As Tony walked up to the door on Mike's duplex he noticed a foul smell. It kept getting stronger as he walked closer to the building. He knew it was the smell of death but chalked it up to being a dead animal somewhere close by. He knocked on the door a few times and never got an answer. At this point he was a bit worried and decided to try to turn the door knob. To his amazement it was unlocked. As he opened the door a thick 'swoosh' of air hit him straight in the face and the smell of decay nearly knocked him over. About the same time he looked down Mike's hallway and there laid Mike on the floor....dead. He was lying on his back with his arms spread out, his skin had turned black and had an almost 'goo-ey' appearance to it and his body was bloated and disfigured looking. When Tony saw this sight he immediately slammed the door shut and ran back to his truck where he proceeded to throw up. After regaining his composure he called the authorities. It was later determined by the coroner that Mike had been dead in his apartment (with no air conditioning and the windows all shut tight) for close to 3 weeks now. His death was alcohol related. So you can only imagine how disturbing of a sight this was, especially for someone like my friend that has no interest in the morbid."

Indeed, I can. You know, I had a neighbor who was not only an alcoholic but also rather elderly, and whenever I hadn't seen him for a few days, I used to sniff about his door - "just in case". I suppose most people would knock on the door, huh? Typical me...

Posted 05.26.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Susan

"I used to work at a Cemetery. We buried the dead and also had a crematory. My first morbid experience came when an old man came to the cemetery with court documents saying he wanted his wife moved from one grave to another. The reason he gave us was his wife couldn't swim and the area she was buried in was always flooded with water from the sprinklers and it bothered him constantly. We opened up the grave with a backhoe, and when we got to about 6 inches above the casket we had to use shovels. There was a sick stench as a black watery liquid seeped up thru the dirt. Two guys ran off, me, a girl, stayed out of pure curiosity. Once actual contact was made with the casket, the smell became almost blinding. It wasn't the initial rotting smell a body makes but it was WORSE! Next we had to raise her up. The casket was a cheap wooden one, particle board I think. One strap was put at the foot, one in the middle and one at the head. Since 2 guys ran off, we only had 4 people, which meant there was irregular stress to weak parts of the casket. On a 1..2..3 we all lifted and the casket fell apart like it was rotted balsa wood. The women was now exposed, grossly ruined by decomposition and I can remember her clothes were dirty but in remarkable shape compared to her face. This is where my job ended and I ran off too. I couldn't go any farther. We had to call in the Funeral home and even they weren't prepared. I watched in a distance as they exhumed her and the remnants of her casket into the back hoe shovel to go bury in a dry spot."

Bravo to you for going as far as you did, Susan! You did us morbid girls proud. :-)

Posted 05.24.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Dragonqueen

"This story happened in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In high school, a bunch of us would hang out at the back of the schoolyard which is at a river's edge during lunch time. We arrived at our usual spot only to find a funeral home truck and some firemen (Yeah, I know... Firemen???). They were fishing out a dead and bloated body out of the water. We arrived there before they put up a blanket to hide what they were doing, so as they pull the body out of the water, I thought the body had no head! But it was because as they pulled it out, the head dropped back as if there was no muscle or bone to prevent this. I guess the neck must've been broken. I noticed that the body had a cord around the abdomen, and seemed to have holes... Gunshots perhaps? Anyway, this body definitely was murdered. The story behind this dead body, to this very day remains a mystery."

The most exciting thing I ever saw at my school was a kid with a bloody scalp wound in third grade... and I got sent to the principal's office for running down the hall with a few classmates and trying to get a better view. Oh, my life is sooooo dull!

Posted 05.23.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Steven

"I was about 32 years old and had never even been to a funeral when I had my first encounter with morbidity and mortality. It was a blazingly bright summer Friday in San Jose with the promise of a quick getaway down the parking lot we call US 101. Normally choked at any time of the day, it was noon and I was off work for the weekend. Apparently, not everyone shared my optimism.

"The traffic came to a screeching halt followed by a rapid three lane snail race. I was not happy as a delay so soon into my journey would increase my time in traffic geometrically for the next three hours. By the time I caught up with the bottleneck, I craned my neck to the right to see what in the world stopped us.

"Turned out there was semi-truck (big flat faced thing!) parked in the slow lane bogging everything up. It didn't look like there was anything wrong except the pile of rags about 50 paces in front of it. It was only 200 yards past it that I realized that pile of rags was a human! The problem was that my mind couldn't immediately make a "human" shape out of what I saw. Imagine this: the man's right leg was lying flat on top of his body with the foot resting on his temple and the other leg was bent behind his body out of view! An unbelievable stomach-turner!

"When I read the paper the next day, they said that the man had checked into the Red Lion, spent the night and had breakfast. At that point, he scaled the chain link fence separating the parking lot (Red
Lion's) from US 101. Witnesses said that he stood at the fence and waited for the biggest truck he could see and dashed for the front of it.

"He won."

Posted 05.18.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Doris

"I visited New Orleans this July for the third time and finally experienced a truly morbid encounter! It began as a beautiful, sunny and typically hot July day, Friday the 13th no less. We had heard about the death of the fonk legend Ernie K-Doe the previous night and even went to the wake at his bar Mother-In-Law's. Now we were trying desperately to find parking so we could attend the funeral at Gallier Hall. There were hundreds of people outside so we didn't make it inside. Too bad! It was said James Brown was to be an honorary pallbearer! To pass the time before the funeral procession started we went to St Louis Cemetery #1. Another typical day of tourists and heat oppressed us as we walked the aisles between the new shinny marbled tombs and the crumbling old tombs, many without legible names. I came upon a very old tomb made of brick about a 2 feet high off the ground. There were palm fronds haphazardly laying on top; a tomb long neglected. Then I noticed a gap in the brick structure and as I peered inside I saw bones! A skull and at least one femur. Despite my sister's hesitations I stuck my hand in the grave and snapped some photos, I could not pass it up. After this discovery we returned to Poydras Street for the funeral procession, replete with brass bands a police motorcade and throngs of funked-out New Orleans natives carrying their lucky umbrellas (more photos included); a truly amazing experience for a lover of New Orleans."

When I was in New Orleans in March, I also noticed that there was plenty of opportunities to sneak peaks into decrepit old tombs. I only managed to photograph a humerus, though I tried putting the camera in the holes at every opportunity. Maybe we've stumbled upon a new hobby? "Gravestone Voyeurism"? Anyone else want to play?

Posted 05.06.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Robert

"I used to work at a medical waste incinerator... which was morbid enough with a lot of daily routine stuff. If a hospital threw it away, we burned it. Anything from sheets and files to body parts and 'sharps'. It was typical for some things to go thru and not burn. We took turns sifting thru the ash to reburn 'raw material'. Most of the time it was either gall bladders or feet that didn't burn, but once I was sifting and a baby slid down the ash chute. We stopped everything and called in a coroner. They traced the shipment to a hospital and found out that it was a 'partial birth abortion'. Most things didn't bother me... but the sight of the baby coming at me will stick in my mind forever."

Posted 04.26.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Sharon

"When I was in the first grade my class went on a field trip to a local bank. The whole class of 30 or so students walked the four blocks to the bank with five teacher's aides and the teacher. It was a wonderful spring day and we were going to be shown the vault. They lined us up at the front door of the bank, which is situated on a highway. The bank had a small side road that ran along side and sitting on that side street at a stop sign was a Dolly Madison bakery truck with a sliding side door that was open. We could see racks and racks of cakes. We were all looking at the Dolly Madison truck as it pulled out onto the highway and in an instant a man on a motorcycle went right into it. The truck must not have seen him! The motorcycle and the rider's body went into the snack cakes and the man's head and helmet went skittling over the top of the truck and down the highway. I thought it was just his helmet until the truck driver jumped out and began to scream. They hurried us into the bank. We never did get to see the vault but it was a day I've never forgotten. To this day I don't ride motorcycles or eat Dolly Madison snack cakes...or any other snack cake for that matter."

Aw, man - why didn't they have field trips like that when I was a kid?

Posted 04.14.02


"My Wish With Morbidity" by Colleen

"A few years ago, there was a jerk on a motorcycle who thought it was really cute to come home from the bars early in the morning and spend 10 or so minutes racing his motorcycle up and down the streets and across people's yards at least twice a week. Of course, by the time you called the cops, he would be safely in his house and ready to do it all again in a couple days. During the week, I would go running in the neighborhood and see his tire tracks cutting divots through lawns and cuss. I really grew to hate him. Anyway, he came down the main street around 4:00 one morning; really gunning it just as fast and as loud as he could. It woke me up and I thought "I hope that bast**d kills himself on that damn motorcycle soon, before he kills somebody else". I gave up trying to get back to sleep, and at 5:00 got up to to go for a run. When I got down the street, I could see red lights flashing and went to see what had happened. The street was blocked off with crime scene tape, but I could see the remains of a motorcycle up against a streetlight right where the street began a slow curve; and worse, the rag doll remains of the rider about two houses up. Since riding his bike into the light had caused it to go out, I couldn't see a lot of detail, but his helmet was about 40 feet from his body and I always wondered it the force of the collision snapped his head off. I also wonder if wishing him dead as he rode by that morning had anything to do with the result, but I don't really worry about it. One less idiot in this world to pass on his genes to the next generation."

I think we can all relate to this one...

Posted 04.09.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Tina

"When I was in middle school in a small town in South Dakota, I lived kitty-korner from a life-long friend of mine. Another mutual friend was over visiting him, and the two of them were hanging out in a dome-tent in the yard. The tent was not for adventure, but to hide the fact that they were huffing gas. (To this day they claim they were cleaning bike parts, but I know better.) Since it was kind of dark inside the tent, the bright young men decided to light a candle. Needless to say an explosion followed. I was outside in my yard and heard the explosion, as did my mother who was inside the house. I ran over there with my mother not far behind me. One of the guys was engulfed in flames and running around crazily, and the other, who wasn't badly injured, hurt himself further getting him down to the ground to roll around. Once the fire was out the badly burned one jumped up (he was very confused and acting extremely erraticly) and ran inside to jump in the bathtub. My mom had already gone to call 911. He pulled off all articles of clothing that would come off. One thing that was still on was his shoes, and his skin had melted off so that it was hanging in these grusome rings around the tops of the shoes, and around his waist and wrists. The police came before the ambulance and actually said they wanted to make sure it wasn't a crank call before sending an ambulance. The boy jumped in the cop car and said 'I'm not waiting for the ambulance. Just take me to the hospital.' Somehow, with 3rd degree burns over 85% of his body and 2nd degree burns over much of the rest of it, he lived through the incident."

I keep waiting for our government to wise up to that one too, but we haven't had our requisite "heart-tugging tragedy" yet...

Posted 04.07.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Jacob

"About 7 years ago, when I was in grade 5, I was with a whole bunch of my school friends on a bus in Brisbane, Australia. At this time, in Queensland, it was not illegal to drive your car and talk on the phone at the same time without hands-free. Anyways... we were on our way to the rock eistedfod and we pulled up in the bus at a zebra crossing ["crosswalk" - American translation] just as an old lady with a zimmer frame ["walker"] was starting across the road. A friend and I were in the front seat of the bus and we watched as she crossed the road. Our looks of boredom soon turned to that of horror as we realized that a man driving a black Saab was racing towards her at quite a speed and he was talking on his mobile and not paying attention to what he was doing... The old woman didn't have time to get out of the way and he plowed into her at about 80 km/hr. She was thrown about 20 metres and then proceeded to slide on her back, head first, another 15 metres along the bitumen where she slammed into a tree on the side of the road. Upon hitting the tree, she rolled onto her front and we caught a glimpse of what it would look like to be rubbed over with coarse sandpaper. She had lost about 3/4 of an inch off the back of her body. We were able to see the bones in her feet, her shoulderblades and the bloodied mess that was the back of her skull: all of the skin on her back had been taken off and she had lost a lot off of her thighs and calves. The man escaped with no injuries other than the cost of the panel-beating on the bonnet and front grill of his car. Just a plug for how sh!t our Criminal Justice System is: He recieved a hefty fine and the lady spent the next 18 months in hospital and 2 yrs of rehabilitation after that. needless to say the "mobile phones in cars" laws were passed soon after... but as with most governments it was a case of too little too late."


I keep waiting for our government to wise up to that one too, but we haven't had our requisite "heart-tugging tragedy" yet...

Posted 03.29.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Sandy

"This was back when I still lived in Australia. Myself and 2 friends were driving back from the west side of Brisbane to the Gold Coast where we lived. We were almost home when a small black Datsun roared past us. (We were going 75 miles per hour which makes this guy going nearly 110+ miles an hour). Roughly a mile down the road after he passed us his car hit the guard rail (yes, those thick metal guard rails on the side of the road), STRAIGHT UP THE MIDDLE OF HIM AND THE CAR, blowing the entire back end of his car out and spearing the young driver. (We found out later he was 22). We were the first on the scene and when we stopped to check on how bad off he was, my friend looked in first only to scream that he was still alive. I then looked while my other friend was running to the gas station on the service road to call the ambulance. He was definitely NOT alive....... but was convulsing from his nerves due to the impact. Being the type of person I am, I tend to make jokes about a situation to lighten the load of what I had just seen....... I called what he had done to himself and the car a "car-kebob". The next day a friend of mine who works at the hospital ER the driver was taken to said that he came in with the guard rail still in him as they could only cut the rail a foot from either side. I can still see in my mind's eye the way he was convulsing. I have seen other fatal accidents before but this had to be the worst! To this day when I see a guard rail I always think of this man and how I NEVER want that to happen to me!!!!!"

Seems like a perfectly well-reasoned opinion to me!

Posted 03.29.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Stephen L.

"Every year around halloween my wife's school, Wayne State University, holds an open house in an eerie environment. It's for all the families of students involved in crime or death related classes, undertakers, funeral directors, etc. The main attraction is a live autopsy. Well we saw that and we were just about to leave when a teacher, a man named Bryce, came running out the door with his camera. Our friend Heather asked him why he was in such a hurry. It turns out Bryce has a second job: he moonlights as a crime scene photographer for the Detroit police dept. and there was a murder about 5 blocks away. He asked us if we wanted to go on a field trip. We all had to put on name tags that said 'Forensic's student' and we drove about 80 miles an hour down a major road, flashing lights, sirens the whole bit. When we arrived on the scene there were a bunch of firemen standing around a burned out Cadillac, still smoking and steaming. Positioned in the back seat was the charred remains of a man who had been beaten to death and placed in his car which was then burned. At the time you couldn't even tell what gender or race the body was. He was still smoking and his intestines and other internal organs were bubbling out of his chest and stomach. One of the firemen looked at me and said, 'Ya don't wanna get too close; sometimes those intestines pop and spray boiling body fluids on ya' which I found totally amusing because he said it with a strange morbid grin. We were so close to the body we could have touched it, and the smell still haunts me today. It was horrible. We hung out for about an hour before the homicide detectives came in and made us leave so they could do their work. After about 40 minutes of measuring and Bryce taking pictures they called in the 'Body snatchers' which was just a large unmarked Ford cargo van with 2 homeless looking fellows (I found out later they earn 20 dollars a body) and they prepared to remove the corpse. The body snatchers had to pull really hard to remove the body because his shoes had melted and merged with the floor of the Cadillac. They dropped him on a gurney as pieces of his charred flesh broke off onto the pavement (imagine a piece of chicken left on the grill for way too long) and they loaded him into the van and drove away. It has almost been a year and this case is still unsolved (60% of homicides in Detroit are unsolved). I found out as much as i could from the local news and the internet. His name was Joseph Silver, he was 62 years of age, with a wife and 1 son. He was a millionaire who lent money to immigrants who wanted to start their own business. He was known to carry a briefcase with large amounts of cash inside; in this particular incident the briefcase was missing."

Link to an article regarding this murder:
http://detnews.com/2000/metro/0010/29/c06-140806.htm

Posted 02.26.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Geoff S.

"Many years ago, as a teenager, I was working with a couple of guys on the construction of a wheat conveyor in a small country town in NSW, Australia. After taking the weekend off, we were driving back to the site at around 3:30 a.m. Travelling at about 60-70 mph we were passed by a newspaper truck which was obviously delivering the next day's papers to the country towns. We were about 50 k's from our destination town at 6:30 a.m. or so, when we came across some flooded sections of the highway. Rounding a bend in the road, we came upon the newspaper truck that had passed us earlier in the morning, In front of the truck was another, much larger (about a 12 tonner) , table-top truck and both vehicles had stopped in the middle of a flooded causeway, in about 18 inches of water. We stopped and got out to see what the problem was, only to discover that the smaller newspaper truck had driven into the tray of the 12 tonner, at what appeared to be very high speed, after the 12 tonner had stalled in the water. The tray of the tabletop was level with the steering wheel of the smaller truck and had rammed the steering wheel into the driver's mid-section, virtually cutting him in half and crushing the cabin and the driver's legs in the process. The driver's lifeless body was still sitting in the cabin, with the seatbelt on, but the face was bloody and unrecognisable as it had obviously hit the windscreen. The force of the impact had pushed the larger truck some 20-30 feet up the road, even though his parking brake was on. An ambulance and a police car had arrived at the scene before us but did not have any tools to remove the body, and they requested our assistance. We had the necessary equipment and in the early dawn light we got to work cutting blood-spattered twisted sheetmetal and the steering column away to get access to the body. Eventually, we were successful and managed to keep the two halves (and our stomachs!) together as we removed the body from the cabin. I found the driver's spectacles some 30 feet further up the road, on the other side of the causeway. What was weird about the experience was the quietness of the scene, deep in the bush, and the golden sunlight as we went to work on the truck... then there was the smell... of death, early in the morning. I'll never forget it."

Posted 02.19.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Trevor

"I had been working with my father at a tire store in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on the weekends in 1982. Being the young fella in the crew I had often been sent to go and get lunches and pop. While walking back from picking up one of the mechanics' lunch, a van turned the corner just in front of me. All of a sudden a Motorcycle raced by at a high rate of speed and crashed into the side of the van. I remember the rider of the motorcycle striking the van like a cartoon character - completely spread-eagled. What I noticed first was that the dent in the van had taken on the shape of the rider's last position. It reminded me of the chalk lines that police draw around bodies on the roads. I was first on the scene and as I approached the man, I noticed his face looked wrong somehow. Upon closer inspection I realised it was completely flat. He had no face guard on the helmet and had struck the van face first near the top of the roof. It was then, as my father started to administer first aid, that I had an opportunity to look at his motorcycle up close. There was something that looked like a red bandana or rag tied to the headlight of the motorcycle. The police and ambulance arrived and had bundled up the patient into the ambulance, but the ambulance was not leaving yet . It was then I overheard the EMT ask one of the cops if he had seen any body parts anywhere. The officer responded that he had seen nothing out of the ordinary around. He asked what he should be looking for and the EMT said the mans scrotum had been removed in the accident. I then realised the bandana was not what i thought it was and reported it to the officer and was credited with recovering the rider's private parts. The rider had one of those dressy crome fuel tank caps and when he had struck the van he slid over it, completely castrating himself. I guess that he mostly recovered because he stopped in to thank my father about a year later for responding so quickly. After describing his recovery and rehabilitation, he responded to a question as to how much more healing he had to do with a tear in his eye: he said that he would never fully recover and that he would never be able to father children. I also heard that a year later his wife left him and that he had hung himself in his garage. "

Isn't that just a cheery way to end the story?

Posted 02.01.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Mary Anne

"I've seen more than my fair share of dead bodies (considering I'm not in the emergency or medical field). The first was a traffic accident in the winter of my freshman year of high school. I was being driven to school, and the traffic on the other side of the freeway was stopped. As we slowed down, I looked out the window to see a flipped pickup truck, and what I eventually found out was a man sprawled on the pavement. He was smashed to a bloody pulp, and the accident had happened so recently that no one had covered him with a sheet yet. My second and third "dead body vistas" happened in college within a month of each other. I was with a friend on a hike up in the mountains. On our drive back down, we hit some traffic. There had been a fatal motorcycle accident moments before. As we neared the bend where the accident had occurred, we saw the dead man crumpled and on fire in the middle of the street. People were trying to put out the flames when we pulled over to see if we could help at all. Aparently he was riding a crappy old motorcycle (going much faster than he should have), started to wipe out, and his gas tank caught fire and exploded right underneath him. Neither my friend nor I spoke for the rest of the drive home. The next weekend I was taking my roommate to the airport when we passed (on the freeway again) another fatal motorcycle accident. This time the body had been covered, but you could still make out the lump of the person's broken body underneath the sheet. And an interesting side note: the same day as this last motorcycle accident, we witnessed an old lady in a wheelchair who had gotten hit by a truck. We were both trained in CPR and my roommate was a nursing major, so we stopped. Luckily the old lady's chair had just been lightly tapped by the truck, and other than a broken arm, she was fine. Still, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm some sort of carnage magnet."

Some people have all the luck!

Posted 01.25.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by B

"When I was still in high school I used to live in Moab, Utah and one of my friends invited me to go with him and his mom to go to Salt Lake City so she could do some campaigning for Jimmy Carter at the Salt Palace. We were walking around the city and decided to go hear the organ concert at the Tabernacle. As we were walking up to the Tabernacle we saw a lady lying face down on the grass in front of the place. I jokingly said, "Maybe she's dead," and we chuckled and went inside. Believe it on not, one of the pieces the organist played was the great "Toccata en fugue in D minor". When we were leaving, I saw a sight that was truly spine chilling! Some paramedics were standing around the woman and had covered her up with some kind of plastic sheet. Indeed she was dead! I turned my head and couldn't get the hell out of there fast enough !!!! It shook both me and my friend deeply."

Moral Of The Story: If you see someone laying face down in the grass in a public place, she's probably not there to get some shut-eye!

Posted 01.13.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Faith

"When I was 18, I got my Emergency Medical Technician License thinking I could make a difference. In many ways and on several occasions, I guess I did. However, there are always those cases in everyone's career associated with the medical field that are helpless. One situation involved a young boy around 17 years old that was in our area with a group from his church assisting elderly people with work around their homes. Apparently, on one of their "free" days, they had gone sightseeing and exploring to a place called Bad Branch Falls in the Eolia area of Kentucky. The falls is approximately a two-mile hike, and although it is more a stream that trickles off an 85-foot-high cliff, it is very beautiful and treacherously captivating. The church group was from one of the New England states, and was not familiar with this area. The young man had somehow managed to get atop the falls which stays wet year-round and is very slippery with moss. He had fallen from the top and landed on a large boulder-like rock at the bottom. I will never forget the sight of him - a young life snuffed out. I can only imagine the terror he felt as he was falling. The view of his body laying there was pitiful - he had apparently landed in a sitted-like position and the height from which he had fallen combined with the speed and force had snapped his back; his back was bent out from the center in a "V" shape. A pool of blood had seeped from his head and other parts of his body and began a stream of its own down over the rocks. I later found out his father, who was one of the chaperones on the trip, had witnessed this tragedy. We silently carried his lifeless shell out of the mountains in a bodybag on a carrier, knowing that accidents happen often in our area to out-of-towners who like to hike and are unfamiliar with the territory."

Posted 01.10.02


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Karen

"In 1980 I was 17 and lived in New Orleans. My parents' home was located on a very wide, very long 4 lane boulevard (2 lanes in each direction with a wide grassy median in the middle.) The boulevard was flanked on either side by giant 200 year old oak trees, heavily draped in Spanish Moss and quite surreal looking. The roadway itself contained many S curves and was a favorite drag racing strip among the high school crowd. Accidents were not uncommon. In the years we lived there, my family was awakened many times in the dead of night by the screech of tires and crunch of metal. One such accident involved a car narrowly missing plowing through my bedroom window by less than a foot.

"Anyone who knows anything about New Orleans, knows it's a party city. Alchohol and drugs flowed freely (at least in the early '80's), and being underage was not a hindrance. It was a typical hot and humid New Orleans summer night, and I had attended a party with about 20 or so high school friends. Having drunk and partied way too much and feeling the beginnings of a hangover, I asked my boyfriend to drive me home. Upon arriving home I quickly settled into bed to sleep it off.

"Around 3:00am I was awakened by the familiar sound of screeching tires. Still feeling queasy and having a killer headache, I rolled over and went back to sleep. Minutes later I was again awakened...this time by the sound of several sirens and loud voices piercing the night. Sensing something was different about this accident, I walked out into the darkness wearing only a long t-shirt and tennis shoes. A heavy fog had rolled in and visability was poor. I could barely make out the flashing red lights several houses away. Quickly I walked toward the lights. Each step I took filled me with dread and a morbid fascination.

"Peering through the dense fog, the first thing I saw was a motorcycle...a vaguely familiar motorcycle...lying on its side near the curb and eerily illuminated by the spotlight of a police car. Walking closer still, I saw Tommy. He had been at the party that night and was the boyfriend of a close friend. He was on a stretcher and was being attended to by several paramedics. I could hear Tommy talking...answering questions asked by the paramedics. I heard the paramedics tell Tommy both his legs were broken. Relieved that he would be okay, I didn't notice at first the activity taking place at the base of one of the 200 year old oak trees or the fact that another spotlight was pointed up in its limbs.

"My eyes followed the path of this second spotlight through the heavy fog and up into the moss draped tree limbs. At first nothing looked amiss. Then I saw it...a figure. Approximately 25 to 30 feet above ground, what looked like a scarecrow was intertwined in the limbs of the tree. Both the limbs of the tree and those of the scarecrow were twisted, broken, and jutting out at unnatural angles. Shreds of fabric hung in the tree limbs among the moss. A single tennis shoe dangled by its laces from one of the broken limbs. At that instant I realized the scarecrow in the tree was my friend, Darcie...Tommy's girlfriend.

"I don't remember much after my moment of realization and horror. I do remember someone's hand on my shoulder. Later, I remember my mother telling me to get some sleep and her turning out my bedroom light.

"It was several days later that I learned the story behind the accident. Tommy had been drinking heavily at the party. On the way to taking Darcie home, a police car flashed its lights at Tommy's speeding motorcycle. Not wanting to get pulled over, Tommy picked up speed and a chase ensued. At a speed of over 100mph, Tommy lost control of the bike on one of the S curves. The bike went into a skid and both Tommy and Darcie were thrown. Tommy landed in the grass of someone's front lawn. Darcie was propelled into the limbs of the giant oak tree and was killed upon impact. Neither was wearing a helmet.

"With time, Tommy's injuries healed, but he never did return to our high school. Darcie simply never returned."

Posted 01.03.02

 


Brushes With Morbidity...