Saturday, February 21, 2009

Evelyn McHale



A photo of Evelyn McHale who lept for her death from the observation deck of the Empire State Building on May 1, 1947. McHale landed on a UN limousine, fortunately the driver was not in the car at the time of the incident. A few minutes after she landed, a photographer named Robert Wiles snapped this photo of the fallen angel.

From McHale's NY Times obituary, Empire State Ends Life of Girl, 20:

At 10:40 A. M., Patrolman John Morrissey of Traffic C, directing traffic at Thirty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue, noticed a swirling white scarf floating down from the upper floors of the Empire State. A moment later he heard a crash that sounded like an explosion. He saw a crowd converge in Thirty-third Street.

Two hundred feet west of Fifth Avenue, Miss McHale's body landed atop the car. The impact stove in the metal roof and shattered the car's windows. The driver was in a near-by drug store, thereby escaping death or serious injury.

On the observation deck, Detective Frank Murray of the West Thirtieth Street station, found Miss McHale's gray cloth coat, her pocketbook with several dollars and the note, and a make-up kit filled with family pictures.


The photo ran in Life magazine with the caption:

On May Day, just after leaving her fiancé, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale wrote a note. 'He is much better off without me ... I wouldn't make a good wife for anybody,' ... Then she crossed it out. She went to the observation platform of the Empire State Building. Through the mist she gazed at the street, 86 floors below. Then she jumped. In her desperate determination she leaped clear of the setbacks and hit a United Nations limousine parked at the curb. Across the street photography student Robert Wiles heard an explosive crash. Just four minutes after Evelyn McHale's death Wiles got this picture of death's violence and its composure.


Dear Suicide does not encourage suicide, if you are suicidal call 1-800-Suicide or speak to your physician immediately. You are not alone.

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