And You Thought YOU Were Having a Bad Day
* A fierce gust of wind blew 45-year-old Vittorio Luise's car into a
river near Naples, Italy, in 1983. He managed to break a window,
climb out and swim to shore -- where a tree blew over and killed him.
* Mike Stewart, 31, of Dallas was filming a movie in 1983 on the
dangers of low-level bridges when the truck he was standing on
passed under a low-level bridge -- killing him.
* Walter Hallas, a 26-year-old store clerk in Leeds, England, was so
afraid of dentists that in 1979 he asked a fellow worker to try to
cure his toothache by punching him in the jaw. The punch caused
Hallas to fall down, hitting his head, and he died of a fractured
* George Schwartz, owner of a factory in Providence, R.I., narrowly
escaped death when a 1983 blast flattened his factory except for one
wall. After treatment for minor injuries, he returned to the scene
to search for files. The remaining wall then collapsed on him,
* Depressed since he could not find a job, 42-year-old Romolo
Ribolla sat in his kitchen near Pisa, Italy, with a gun in his hand
threatening to kill himself in 1981. His wife pleaded for him not
to do it, and after about an hour he burst into tears and threw the
gun to the floor. It went off and killed his wife.
* In 1983, a Mrs. Carson of Lake Kushaqua, N.Y., was laid out in
her coffin, presumed dead of heart disease. As mourners watched,
she suddenly sat up. Her daughter dropped dead of fright.
* A man hit by a car in New York in 1977 got up uninjured, but lay
back down in front of the car when a bystander told him to pretend
he was hurt so he could collect insurance money. The car rolled
forward and crushed him to death.
* Surprised while burgling a house in Antwerp, Belgium, a thief fled
out the back door, clambered over a nine-foot wall, dropped down and
found himself in the city prison.
* In 1976 a twenty-two-year-old Irishman, Bob Finnegan, was crossing
the busy Falls Road in Belfast, when he was struck by a taxi and
flung over its roof. The taxi drove away and, as Finnegan lay
stunned in the road, another car ran into him, rolling him into the
gutter. It too drove on. As a knot of gawkers gathered to examine
the magnetic Irishman, a delivery van plowed through the crowd,
leaving in its wake three injured bystanders and an even more
battered Bob Finnegan. When a fourth vehicle came along, the crowd
wisely scattered and only one person was hit-Bob Finnegan. In the
space of two minutes Finnegan suffered a fractured skull, broken
pelvis, broken leg, and other assorted injuries. Hospital officials
said he would recover.
* While motorcycling through the Hungarian countryside, Cristo Falatti
came up to a railway line just as the crossing gates were coming
down. While he sat idling, he was joined by a farmer with a goat,
which the farmer tethered to the crossing gate. A few moments later
a horse and cart drew up behind Falatti, followed in short order by
a man in a sports car. When the train roared through the crossing,
the horse startled and bit Falatti on the arm. Not a man to be
trifled with, Falatti responded by punching the horse in the head.
In consequence the horse's owner jumped down from his cart and began
scuffling with the motorcyclist. The horse, which was not up to
this sort of excitement, backed away briskly, smashing the cart into
the sports- car. At this, the sports-car driver leaped out of his
car and joined the fray. The farmer came forward to try to pacify
the three flailing men. As he did so, the crossing gates rose and
his goat was strangled. At last report, the insurance companies
were still trying to sort out the claims.
* Two West German motorists had an all-too-literal head-on collision
in heavy fog near the small town of Guetersloh. Each was guiding
his car at a snail's pace near the center of the road. At the
moment of impact their heads were both out of the windows when they
smacked together. Both men were hospitalized with severe head
injuries. Their cars weren't scratched.
* In a classic case of one thing leading to another, seven men aged
eighteen to twenty-nine received jail sentences of three to four
years in Kingston-on-Thames, England, in 1979 after a fight that
started when one of the men threw a french fry at another while they
stood waiting for a train.
* Hitting on the novel idea that he could end his wife's incessant
nagging by giving her a good scare, Hungarian Jake Fen built an
elaborate harness to make it look as if he had hanged himself. When
his wife came home and saw him she fainted. Hearing a disturbance a
neighbor came over and, finding what she thought were two corpses,
seized the opportunity to loot the place. As she was leaving the
room, her arms laden, the outraged and suspended Mr. Fen kicked her
stoutly in the backside. This so surprised the lady that she
dropped dead of a heart attack. Happily, Mr. Fen was acquitted of
manslaughter and he and his wife were reconciled.