life:

April 30, 1945: Hitler commits suicide.In the spring of 1945, LIFE’s William Vandivert was one of the first photographers to document the ruins of Berlin and the burned-out bunker beneath the city where Hitler and Eva Braun spent their final hours.
In his typed notes to his editors in New York, Vandivert described in detail what he saw. For example, of the sixth slide in this gallery he wrote: 

“Pix of [correspondents] looking at sofa where Hitler and Eva shot themselves. Note bloodstains on arm of soaf [sic] where Eva bled. She was seated at far end … Hitler sat in middle and fell forward, did not bleed on sofa. This is in Hitler’s sitting room.” 

Remarkable stuff — but, it turns out, only about half right. Historians are now quite certain that Braun actually committed suicide by biting a cyanide capsule, rather than by gunshot — meaning that the blood stains on the couch might well be Hitler’s, and not Eva Braun’s, after all.
Read more here.

life:

April 30, 1945: Hitler commits suicide.

In the spring of 1945, LIFE’s William Vandivert was one of the first photographers to document the ruins of Berlin and the burned-out bunker beneath the city where Hitler and Eva Braun spent their final hours.

In his typed notes to his editors in New York, Vandivert described in detail what he saw. For example, of the sixth slide in this gallery he wrote:

“Pix of [correspondents] looking at sofa where Hitler and Eva shot themselves. Note bloodstains on arm of soaf [sic] where Eva bled. She was seated at far end … Hitler sat in middle and fell forward, did not bleed on sofa. This is in Hitler’s sitting room.”

Remarkable stuff — but, it turns out, only about half right. Historians are now quite certain that Braun actually committed suicide by biting a cyanide capsule, rather than by gunshot — meaning that the blood stains on the couch might well be Hitler’s, and not Eva Braun’s, after all.

Read more here.

Leipzig Suicides. Photograph by Margaret Bourke-White, 1945. Source: LIFE Photo Archive, hosted by Google.

Leipzig City Council deputy mayor Dr. Lisso, member of Nazi party since 1932, lying dead while seated at his Town Hall desk, a suicide from cyanide, along with his wife and daughter, as American soldiers enter the city at the end of WWII.

Leipzig Suicides. Photograph by Margaret Bourke-White, 1945. Source: LIFE Photo Archive, hosted by Google.

Leipzig City Council deputy mayor Dr. Lisso, member of Nazi party since 1932, lying dead while seated at his Town Hall desk, a suicide from cyanide, along with his wife and daughter, as American soldiers enter the city at the end of WWII.

Today’s Links

Here you go. The first one is really important:

  • Morbid Anatomy Library needs your help after severe water sprinkler damage following a fire in their Brooklyn building. They are accepting donations of money, time, talent, books, and artifacts.
  • Titanic vs. Lusitania: Who Survived and Why?”: Smithsonian takes a look at the two maritime disasters (from 1912 and 1915, respectively). Interesting: “The passengers of the Lusitania had less than 20 minutes before their ship sank, and in such a life-and-death situation, social scientists say, ‘self-interested reactions predominate.’ It didn’t matter what the captain ordered. […] The Titanic, though, sank slowly enough for social norms to hold sway.”
  • This is very sad: “Taiwan Woman Commits Suicide While on Facebook" (via Order of the Good Death on, well, Facebook): “Lin’s last Facebook entries show her chatting with nine friends, alerting them to her gradual asphyxiation. One picture uploaded from her mobile phone depicts a charcoal barbecue burning next to two stuffed animals.”
  • Related: “On the Challenges of Studying Suicide" (via Maria Popova/Brain Picker on Twitter)
  • Fascinating post over on Life and Six Months about handling the preserved, tattooed skin of a long-dead person: “What appears here as ‘goose-flesh’—a skin sensation associated with both surface feelings of cold and visceral fear or horror —is frozen in the moment of death through the speedy preservation of the excised fragment. What I am actually seeing and feeling as I examine this skin is the presence of a very familiar living skin-sensation—except in this case it is caused by rigor mortis of the arrector pili muscles in the dermis. My own skin prickles at the thought. This specimen was likely removed in haste, soon after death and under rudimentary surgical conditions.”
Past Horizons: Kill to Be Killed in 18th Century Denmark

Article from Past Horizons on the phenomenon of “suicide murder” in 18th-century Denmark:

Civil courts sentenced suicide murderers to be pinched five times with red-hot tongs on their way from the prison to the scaffold. Then their hands were chopped off, followed by the head, after which the dead body was displayed on a big wheel as a warning to others.

Image: The Royal Library, Copenhagen; via Past Horizons.

obitoftheday:

Obit of the Day (Historical): Virginia Woolf (1941)
On March 28, 1941 English author Virginia Woolf put on an overcoat, placed stones in her pockets and walked into the River Ouse outside her home and drowned herself. Woolf, who had a history of depression, had only recently finished her final novel, Between the Acts.
Woolf, considered an innovator in the use of stream-of-consciousness, published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1915. Before she took her life she would publish eight more novels including To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando and Flush: A Biography, a biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel which mixed fact and fiction. (For Virginia Woolf’s complete bibliography click here.)
Woolf was 59 when she died. This is the letter she left her husband Sidney Woolf, to whom she was married for 29 years:
Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ‘til this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.
Virginia Woolf’s body was recovered on April 18, 1941. You can read her original New York Times obituary by clicking on the link at the top of the post.
(Image of two-year-old Virginia being held by her mother Julia Stephen, 1884, is courtesy of the Smith College Libraries. Here is the full citation: Reproduction of plate 36f from Leslie Stephen’s Photograph Album Original: platinum print, 20.0 x 14.0 cm. Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College)

obitoftheday:

Obit of the Day (Historical): Virginia Woolf (1941)

On March 28, 1941 English author Virginia Woolf put on an overcoat, placed stones in her pockets and walked into the River Ouse outside her home and drowned herself. Woolf, who had a history of depression, had only recently finished her final novel, Between the Acts.

Woolf, considered an innovator in the use of stream-of-consciousness, published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1915. Before she took her life she would publish eight more novels including To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando and Flush: A Biography, a biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel which mixed fact and fiction. (For Virginia Woolf’s complete bibliography click here.)

Woolf was 59 when she died. This is the letter she left her husband Sidney Woolf, to whom she was married for 29 years:

Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ‘til this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.

Virginia Woolf’s body was recovered on April 18, 1941. You can read her original New York Times obituary by clicking on the link at the top of the post.

(Image of two-year-old Virginia being held by her mother Julia Stephen, 1884, is courtesy of the Smith College Libraries. Here is the full citation: Reproduction of plate 36f from Leslie Stephen’s Photograph Album Original: platinum print, 20.0 x 14.0 cm. Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College)

io9: Graveyard Life: The hottest new real estate market in Hong Kong? Haunted homes

Many Hong Kongers believe that the ghosts of people who died violently, thanks to an accident, murder, or suicide, haunt their former residences and bring bad fortune to the new occupants. As in the US, Hong Kong home sellers are required to disclose whether the previous resident died in the home, and potential buyers do rigorous background checks less they get stuck with a vengeful spirit. The superstition is so pervasive that prices on haunted homes can be 20-40 percent below market.

pytynia:

Faith Bacon
Ziegfeld Follies of 1931
As a burlesque dancer, she used such aids as ostrich fans, flowers and bubbles, all against an often smoky spotlight. In 1933, Bacon competed with Sally Rand as fan-dancers at the World’s Fair.
Death: Shortly after midnight on September 26, 1956, she was walking down the stairs of the hotel between the fourth and third floors and suddenly opened a window. As a friend grabbed at her skirt, she tore loose and jumped out the window. Her body landed on the roof of a one-story saloon next door. She was 46 years old. Her friend told reporters that Bacon “wanted the spotlight again. She would have taken any kind of work in show business.”
Her effects reportedly comprised “Miscellaneous clothing, one white metal ring, train ticket to Erie, Pa., and 85 cents,” and a pair of rented fans.
When relatives could not be located, the American Guild of Variety Artists claimed her body and arranged for burial.

pytynia:

Faith Bacon

Ziegfeld Follies of 1931

As a burlesque dancer, she used such aids as ostrich fans, flowers and bubbles, all against an often smoky spotlight. In 1933, Bacon competed with Sally Rand as fan-dancers at the World’s Fair.

Death: Shortly after midnight on September 26, 1956, she was walking down the stairs of the hotel between the fourth and third floors and suddenly opened a window. As a friend grabbed at her skirt, she tore loose and jumped out the window. Her body landed on the roof of a one-story saloon next door. She was 46 years old. Her friend told reporters that Bacon “wanted the spotlight again. She would have taken any kind of work in show business.”

Her effects reportedly comprised “Miscellaneous clothing, one white metal ring, train ticket to Erie, Pa., and 85 cents,” and a pair of rented fans.

When relatives could not be located, the American Guild of Variety Artists claimed her body and arranged for burial.

(via timetravelteam)

Vice News: Aokigahara Suicide Forest

Check out this video from Vice News.

The Aokigahara Forest is the most popular site for suicides in Japan. After the novel Kuroi Jukai was published, in which a young lover commits suicide in the forest, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year. The site holds so many bodies that the Yakuza pays homeless people to sneak into the forest and rob the corpses. The authorities sweep for bodies only on an annual basis, as the forest sits at the base of Mt. Fuji and is too dense to patrol more frequently.

Found via The Order of the Good Death’s Facebook.



Image: Photo of Aokigahara Forest by ajari on Flickr.

youbes:

Another adorable suicide valentine by pageofbats on Flickr.

ofpaperandponies said: That story of Joyce Carol Vincent in interesting on their own, but it also provides an interesting perspective on the recent death of David Carter. Well, recent discovery. He committed suicide four years ago in West Allis, WI. The cases are rather dichotomous in the end, but the reactions of those around the cases are so similar on the familial front, yet on the community front, they're so different. No one seems to care here, even though he was supposedly a "good and honest person" in life.

I’m really glad you brought this up.

Interestingly, I found the article about Joyce Carol Vincent about five minutes before I stumbled on the story of David Carter (via this Jezebel post, which characterized the discovery of the body as someone’s “worst day at work ever”—I’m not sure how I feel about that).

For those who haven’t heard this story: Here’s a more detailed article about David Carter.


Photo by Angela Peterson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This is Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. He had a way with the ladies. (Allegedly, he showed up at his own wedding with a lover as his date.)
No one’s exactly sure of the circumstances of his death, but it appears that on the night of January 29, 1889, he shot himself in the head after shooting and killing his mistress, a teenaged baroness named Mary Vetsera, in a hunting lodge. He was 30. The white bandage you see in that picture is there to cover up the gunshot wound. 
Mary’s body was smuggled away and buried hastily, to avoid a scandal. Rudolf, on the other hand, lies in the Habsburg Imperial Crypt in Vienna. His father pulled some strings to get him interred there: special arrangements were necessary because his death was a suicide.
His death left his parents—Franz Josef I, Austria’s emperor, and Elisabeth of Bavaria, cousin to King Ludwig—without an heir and likely caused their already shaky marriage to collapse. His mother—whose extreme fasting and exercise regimens, by the way, remind me of the the fads of a century later—also died a violent death. She was stabbed with a needle file by an anarchist in 1898.
You can read more about the (alleged) murder/suicide here and here.
Image source: Wikipedia.

This is Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. He had a way with the ladies. (Allegedly, he showed up at his own wedding with a lover as his date.)

No one’s exactly sure of the circumstances of his death, but it appears that on the night of January 29, 1889, he shot himself in the head after shooting and killing his mistress, a teenaged baroness named Mary Vetsera, in a hunting lodge. He was 30. The white bandage you see in that picture is there to cover up the gunshot wound. 

Mary’s body was smuggled away and buried hastily, to avoid a scandal. Rudolf, on the other hand, lies in the Habsburg Imperial Crypt in Vienna. His father pulled some strings to get him interred there: special arrangements were necessary because his death was a suicide.

His death left his parents—Franz Josef I, Austria’s emperor, and Elisabeth of Bavaria, cousin to King Ludwig—without an heir and likely caused their already shaky marriage to collapse. His mother—whose extreme fasting and exercise regimens, by the way, remind me of the the fads of a century later—also died a violent death. She was stabbed with a needle file by an anarchist in 1898.

You can read more about the (alleged) murder/suicide here and here.

Image source: Wikipedia.

Dead bodies stored in cupboards on the Tube
The bodies of people who commit suicide on the London Underground network are often stored in cleaning cupboards and store rooms until an undertaker can collect them, a new documentary has revealed.

(Source: xmorbidcuriosityx)

Let’s, let’s be dignified. If you’ll quit telling them they’re dying, if you adults will stop some of this nonsense…Adults, adults, adults, I call on you to stop this nonsense. I call on you to quit exciting your children when all they’re doing is going to a quiet rest.
The New Yorker: The Story of a Suicide
Two college roommates, a webcam, and a tragedy.

Skeletons, mummies, bog bodies, exhumations. The dead, and what happens to them.

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