Nothing to see here.
July 16, 2008 8:06 PM   Subscribe

Now, here's something you don't see every day. I found it unlikely, but perhaps he was a copycat suicide.

It isn't suspicious, the BBC says so, repeatedly.
posted by an egg (80 comments total)
 
Huh.
posted by Floydd at 8:13 PM on July 16, 2008


ehr.
posted by wreckingball at 8:13 PM on July 16, 2008


"We were called to the address on Bodmin Road on 5 July at approximately 4.20pm to a non-suspicious death," [the police spokeswoman] said.

Whoever found the body must have some serious sangfroid. "Police? I got a headless corpse here. What? No, nothing suspicious."
posted by DaDaDaDave at 8:15 PM on July 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Maybe he was the guy that dug the pond.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:15 PM on July 16, 2008 [16 favorites]


Time to start wearing one of these.
posted by netbros at 8:16 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


no, if it had been cthulhu, he'd have been decapitated with 8 chainsaws
posted by pyramid termite at 8:17 PM on July 16, 2008


"We were called to the address on Bodmin Road on 5 July at approximately 4.20pm to a non-suspicious death," she said.

Death by buzzsaw?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:18 PM on July 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I've got to stop reading Metafilter just before it's time to get to sleep.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:20 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Careful with that axe chainsaw, Eugene.
posted by not_on_display at 8:22 PM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Want to hear another theory? This Fasil was so upset about the lousy wrestling tonight, that he went down to the garage and in a fit of depression cut off his *own* head!
posted by Justinian at 8:23 PM on July 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


He should have tied helium balloons to the chainsaw.
posted by Sailormom at 8:26 PM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


No no no. Who forget to tell him you're supposed to cut off your foot?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:26 PM on July 16, 2008


They said it wasn't suspicious three times. That makes me suspicious. I mean, why couldn't something like this be staged?
posted by longsleeves at 8:28 PM on July 16, 2008


And this is why being an assasin is really easy. I mean, why bother with elaborate murder schemes when you can just chainsaw someone to the afterlife.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:30 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Somebody must've wished his head would fall off. I hear that happens.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:30 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Police sources have revealed that David Phyall switched on the saw, and put a timer on the socket. He even had a cocktail of pills to knock himself out, and then rested the saw on his neck. When the timer went off, the saw sliced through his neck in an instant.
-A slightly less suspicious article
posted by niles at 8:37 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm desperately trying to remember a story where someone gets possessed or something by an alien or ghost or the devil or something and cuts his own head off to spare the world from ending.

Or something.

Anyone know what I'm talking about?
posted by Kattullus at 8:39 PM on July 16, 2008


Sounds like Mary Poppins Kattullus.
posted by netbros at 8:45 PM on July 16, 2008 [10 favorites]


Oh, man. This is the preface for some sort of ghost-revenge movie franchise if I ever saw one.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:46 PM on July 16, 2008


This could have gone terribly wrong.
posted by tellurian at 8:46 PM on July 16, 2008


That's a short story from Stephen King's Night Shift. It's the one depicted on the cover.
posted by agropyron at 8:49 PM on July 16, 2008


The other tenants also died non-suspiciously, due to multiple impalements in the backs of their heads. Only one non-suspicious bloody axe was found at the scene of the non-crime.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:49 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmm. The Darwin Awards has two stories about people cutting off their own heads. Weird. (A slightly more plausible version of the second story on Snopes.)
posted by Dasein at 8:51 PM on July 16, 2008


Kattullus, I believe you're thinking of The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, by Douglas Adams, which is one of the Dirk Gently novels.
posted by jedicus at 8:54 PM on July 16, 2008


tellurian, the news story you link to is ridiculous. After the second horrible failed suicide attempt, I wouldn't know how to react.

It reminds me of Kondraty Fyodorovich Ryleyev, a Russian revolutionary in the 17th century, who was the victim (beneficiary?) of a botched execution.
On the day of the execution Ryleyev stood on the gallows, the noose around his neck. The trapdoor opened-but as Ryleyev dangled, the rope broke, dashing him to the ground. At the time, events like this were considered signs of providence or heavenly will, and a man saved from execution this way usually pardoned. As Ryleyev got to his feet, bruised and dirtied but believing his neck had been saved, he called out to the crowd, "You see, in Russia they don't know how to do anything properly, not even how to make rope!"*
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:05 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


What a Farktastrophe. A Farkoriffic loss of human life. Farktastic post.
posted by LarryC at 9:06 PM on July 16, 2008


I think what must have happened is that he was having a dream about his head being cut off with a chainsaw and then somebody touched him on the neck. With a chainsaw.
posted by shadow vector at 9:07 PM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Okay, I'm desperately trying to remember a story where someone gets possessed or something by an alien or ghost or the devil or something and cuts his own head off to spare the world from ending.

Or something.

Anyone know what I'm talking about?


Wasn't this how Kindergarten Cop ended?
posted by bunnytricks at 9:07 PM on July 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


But investigators came to the conclusion that Mr. Hickman committed suicide. The first clue was the bundle of white helium balloons, with the gun still attached, found snagged on bushes and cactus near Mr. Hickman's body.

Hahaha. Yeah, it's hard to aim the balloons when you're dead. Should have thought it through a little better. If he'd done it near the ocean, when the wind blew out to sea, it might have worked better.
posted by delmoi at 9:09 PM on July 16, 2008


His body was found by police on 5 July, who said his death was not suspicious.

A spokesman for the coroner said: "As far as we know nobody else was involved. There's nothing suspicious about the death."

A Hampshire Constabulary spokeswoman confirmed his death was not suspicious.

"We were called to the address on Bodmin Road on 5 July at approximately 4.20pm to a non-suspicious death," she said.


a+ fuckin' journalism, fellas
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:12 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


It reminds me of Kondraty Fyodorovich Ryleyev

The end of that story is pretty great, too:
At the time, events like this were considered signs of providence or heavenly will, and a man saved from execution this way usually pardoned. [...] A messenger immediately went to the Winter Palace with news of the failed hanging. Vexed by this disappointing turnabout, Nicholas I nevertheless began to sign the pardon. But then: "Did Ryleyev say anything after this miracle?" the czar asked the messenger. "Sire", the messenger replied, "he said that in Russia they don't even know how to make rope". "In that case", said the Czar, "let us prove the contrary," and he tore up the pardon. Ryleyev was executed the next day on July 25, 1826.
"Damn Brits. Can't even make a bloody chainsaAAWK"
posted by DaDaDaDave at 9:15 PM on July 16, 2008


Sailormom writes "He should have tied helium balloons to the chainsaw"

One has to wonder how many perfect murders are going to be pulled in the next few decades by people making it look like a botched balloon suicide.
posted by Mitheral at 9:20 PM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


That beeb article reads like something from Your Dystopic Future Oppressive Society.

"Today thirty-five political dissidents were found shot to death in the basement of the Ministry of Security GHQ. Their deaths have already been ruled as being completely spontaneous and non-suspicious suicides..."
posted by Avenger at 9:23 PM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


In fact I've read both Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and Night Shift. So no wonder I couldn't get it straight. Thanks jedicus and agropyron.
posted by Kattullus at 9:24 PM on July 16, 2008


Thanks. Thanks a lot.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:43 PM on July 16, 2008


Yeah, DaDaDaDave, but that part depresses me. I like to end where I did and pretend they all go off to have a drink and a laugh afterwards.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:01 PM on July 16, 2008




Fair enough. Nicholas' comeback is pretty perfect, though. And hey, at least Ryleyev got hanged instead of quartered.
posted by DaDaDaDave at 10:10 PM on July 16, 2008


After the second horrible failed suicide attempt, I wouldn't know how to react.

I think if I failed at committing suicide I'd feel so bad I'd want to kill myself.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:12 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Prague - A 32-year-old Czech tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a chain saw but survived after the machine missed his jugular artery and got stuck in his spine, a report said on Wednesday.

This was his second suicide attempt, CTK news agency reported. He had earlier tried to hang himself from a tree branch but the branch snapped and he broke both legs in the fall, it said.


I'm unclear about one thing. Do we classify him as the luckiest or the unluckiest guy in the world?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:13 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


"complete transection of the neck".

I first read that as "complete transition of the neck", and my first thought was FADE OUT.
posted by davejay at 10:15 PM on July 16, 2008


"In that case", said the Czar, "let us prove the contrary," and he tore up the pardon. Ryleyev was executed the next day on July 25, 1826.

In Soviet Russia, people execute Czar.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:17 PM on July 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Gosh, I don't like to laugh at other peoples' deaths, but they make it so hard for a fellow.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:36 PM on July 16, 2008


luckiest or the unluckiest

I'd say unluckiest, but my username doesn't start with 'Pater'...
posted by pompomtom at 10:52 PM on July 16, 2008


This is why Britain needs a Second Amendment.
posted by dhartung at 10:53 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the late 1980's I subscribed to both the Journal of Forensic Science and the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology. This was largely as a result of my interest in autoerotic asphyxia, and pre-dated by a number of years the current popularity of forensic science. Soon I learned that there was a hipster element to this, as I gleaned from reading the Re-Search book on J.G. Ballard. Later I met and befriended Stuart Sweezy of Amok Books, who shared my fascination with medical morbidity.

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology seemed more sensational than the more staid Journal of Forensic Science. I can't recall which journal it appeared in, but I remember reading a report of suicide by chainsaw that involved the victim pressing the end of the chainsaw into his sternum. The weird thing about it was that the chainsaw did not penetrate into his chest cavity. Evidently the vibration alone was strong enough to disrupt the beating of his heart or collapse his lungs or both. The article concluded with a discussion of infrasound, and its potentially negative biological consequences.

Most of the really cool material in the forensic genre is still locked up in dead-tree journals, or else is only accessible by pay-wall subscription. I wonder if there are people out there who file-share this kind of material...
posted by Tube at 10:58 PM on July 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


What a Farktastrophe. A Farkoriffic loss of human life. Farktastic post.

Don't lose your head over it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:08 PM on July 16, 2008


He even had a cocktail of pills to knock himself out, and then rested the saw on his neck. When the timer went off, the saw sliced through his neck in an instant.

So, he was legless before he was headless.

Yeah, ok, that joke is heartless.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:24 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


re: Tube.

Wow, seriously.

I just went to go grab the proper cite but the library website just failed, so I'll just note from memory that this was called something like, or perhaps even exactly, "An Unusual Case of Suicide By Chainsaw," by many authors whose names I didn't memorize, in the Journal of Forensic Science, I think July 2008.

A suicide committed with a chainsaw is a rare event. It is an uncommonly reported incident and the forensic literature comprises few case reports of chainsaw suicides (1–6). Obviously, using a chainsaw for suicide is an exception (6,7) and is considered a violent method. Furthermore, women often prefer passive methods, whereas men use more frequently violent methods (8,9). Deaths with injuries caused by a chainsaw are described in occupational accident cases (10). These injuries almost exclusively involve the neck or the head region, leading to lethal central dysregulation and exsanguination.

...

The head was put under a structure composed of pulleys and bags filled with full water bottles in order to weigh down the chainsaw. These heavy blocks, containing the water bottles, were attached to the chainsaw. The chainsaw rested at the upper part of the structure on two horizontal wood boards sandwiched tightly between two other vertical wood boards in order to guide the chainsaw and avoid vibrations and motion (which could have modified the orientation of the section). The entire structure was approximately 1.5 m high. The chainsaw was allowed to slide slowly due to the pulleys and elastics fixed with clinched nails on the floor (Fig. 1). The whole system was carefully constructed, with evidence of skilled labor. It was clear that measurements had been made to ensure that the joints were square and the beams parallel. An electric command switch on the chainsaw was found in the right hand of the deceased (Fig. 2). It allowed the chainsaw to cut the two horizontal wood planks and slide down the structure in a controlled manner. The deceased laid face down on the floor. Blood stains were located on the floor without splatter on the walls, indicating that the body was not moved after the death.


Figs. 1 & 2 were surprisingly non-gruesome - some blood on the carpet below the deceased was the most gore to be seen.

While I've never happened upon this topic before, I highly encourage everyone to go to the largest library/institution they can associate with and get/scam electronic access to as many journals as possible until Open Access takes over. Since I've come to an enormous institution that pretty much subscribes to everything, it's like I have a parallel, albeit ridiculously fucking clunky and annoying, Serious Business internet.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:43 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Last night, before bed: demonic Grace Jones

Tonight: multiple suicides by chainsaw

Tomorrow night?
posted by tula at 11:44 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, ok, that joke is heartless.

well, if it had been a woman, you could have thrown in a tasteless joke about her being 'topless'.

aside from that, you'll have to work on that heartlessness if you want to match this item in today's news: Decapitated teen's head 'used as bowling ball'
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:49 PM on July 16, 2008


... Decapitated teen's head 'used as bowling ball'

What, you've never done that?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:01 AM on July 17, 2008


...you could have thrown in a tasteless joke about her being 'topless'.

Which, of course, I didn't, since I am (as I'm sure you're quite aware) a man of taste.

Gotta say, though, that does bring to mind the Greatest New York Post Headline Of All Time:

HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:07 AM on July 17, 2008


What, you've never done that?

oh, almost daily.

i was referring to the bit where they borrowed somebody's car to drive off & dispose of the corpse, but there's no mention of them refilling the petrol tank or buying a case of beer for the owner to show their gratitude.

now, that's cold.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:10 AM on July 17, 2008


Most of the really cool material in the forensic genre is still locked up in dead-tree journals, or else is only accessible by pay-wall subscription.
I hear you. This one for example: Death caused by a chain saw: homicide, suicide or accident? A case report with a literature review (with 11 illustrations).
posted by tellurian at 12:56 AM on July 17, 2008


HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR

I was about to post that, but once again you are ahead of me.

*leaves door marked "obvious" open about 3 feet*
posted by Wolof at 1:39 AM on July 17, 2008


Twenty stabwounds to the back - worst suicide I ever saw!
posted by DreamerFi at 1:48 AM on July 17, 2008


What Avenger said.
posted by eritain at 2:58 AM on July 17, 2008


The last line of that article should have read: "We've always been at war with chainsaws," according to officials.
posted by DU at 4:11 AM on July 17, 2008


MetaFilter: Something you don't saw every day.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:47 AM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: We've always been at war, with chainsnarks.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:08 AM on July 17, 2008


That's just nuts... *shudders*
posted by Debaser626 at 6:31 AM on July 17, 2008


Didn't the A&E version of the Andromeda Strain feature a scene with a guy cutting his own head off with a chain saw?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:28 AM on July 17, 2008


When an ER doctor acquaintance of mine did his residence in Las Vegas, he encountered a failed death by misadventure involving the attempt to self-decapitate. Although I was incredulous, I also thought that the method must be so rare to be rarely attempted. The resourcefulness of the human species never ceases to amaze me.

In the Las Vegas attempt, the unsuccessful man did have the good (?) sense to enlist a trusted friend as a spotter. Together, they consumed copious quantities of alcohol. I think the doc said they copped to drinking a half gallon of vodka between them, with the chainsaw artist consuming most of that. Seems that one of the reasons he wanted to go was that his ex-girlfriend accused him of being a raging alcoholic. Apparently, neither had seen Leaving Las Vegas.

Here's a major difference between the FPP and the protagonist in this tale. Gas-powered chainsaw. Made a lot of noise in the motel room rented for the occasion (he didn't want to leave a mess for his ex-gf). And at better than 1 liter of Vodka, straight no chaser, a gas chainsaw can be a hard tool to manage, leading to a devastating but ultimately nonfatal slice to the neck.

The noise of the chain saw resulted in the cops being called while the final preparations were going on--apparently they tried it out in several dry runs, and in a sheer stroke of happenstance, some other occupants complained/called 911, and the New Family Friendly LVPD were on the scene just after our man tried and failed to sever his own head, dropped the chain saw that bounced and cut a huge swath in his upper thigh. (They had rigged a bypass of the cutoff switch in a clever plan ahead moment.)

His buddy was busy tying tourniquets around thigh and neck when the cops busted in on the scene.

The doc said that this was in the top five of his weirdest moments in the ER in Las Vegas, but not the strangest. At that moment, I didn't ask, and I regret it now.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:11 AM on July 17, 2008


There's a picture I once saw from some Faces O Death or Rotten.com type website that showed a guy that had manged to cut himself in half at the waist using some kinda table saw contraption. I only mention it because we're talking about strange suicides, and it's not anything I recommend you try and do a Google Search for.

Also Kottke just posted a link to the most beautiful suicide.
posted by daHIFI at 8:15 AM on July 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


This was one of the symptoms of a slight case of the Andromeda Strain in the recent SciFi channel mini series. A guy walks into a convenience store and lops his own head off.
posted by Gungho at 8:49 AM on July 17, 2008


So; pills, an electric chainsaw, and a timer? This guy was inventive, but not really that committed to leaving a bizarre death scene. He completely forgot about covering the walls with Aramaic writing, and occult supernatural symbols. His note should have said: "I will stop this. It ends with me." And he should have scorched the floor underneath where he was going to die, just to leave whoever discovered his corpse with the impression that something very hot left his body after death.

That's the kind of thing that gets you talked about round the water cooler...
posted by quin at 8:49 AM on July 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ok, after at least 5 years of lurking I have broken down and joined metafilter because I cannot believe that no one else seems to remember this.

Seriously. Weird coincidence? JKF, are you out there?
posted by supermedusa at 9:00 AM on July 17, 2008


We all remembered it, supermedusa, but WE WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO SAY ANYTHING.

Matt, did you forget to send the new user memo again?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:30 AM on July 17, 2008


beelzbubba: His buddy was busy tying tourniquets around thigh and neck...

Wait, what?
posted by Pronoiac at 10:00 AM on July 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Didn't the A&E version of the Andromeda Strain feature a scene with a guy cutting his own head off with a chain saw?

It was near the beginning, when the second set of soldiers are in the town. They walk into the convenience store and see the headless corpse on the ground with the chainsaw laying there. Only after they watch the security tape (which is awesome btw) do they figure out what happens.
posted by Big_B at 10:04 AM on July 17, 2008


Pronoiac:beelzbubba: His buddy was busy tying tourniquets around thigh and neck...

Wait, what?


See: consumed half-gallon of Vodka before commencing to start to begin this process.

Neither of the room's occupants had forsaken a career in rocket-scientry to embark on this journey.
posted by beelzbubba at 10:14 AM on July 17, 2008


I don't think The Bunny Suicides was intended to be an instruction manual.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:21 AM on July 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


There was a story in one of the old EC horror comics (Tales From the Crypt, The Vault of Horror or The Haunt of Fear) about some type of noncorporeal entity that possesses people and makes them kill themselves. Each has its own preferred method of death, and the one in the story uses decapitation.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:02 AM on July 17, 2008


If we're discussing movies, maybe I'll enrage everyone by citing The Happening again.
posted by vsync at 12:19 PM on July 17, 2008


bunnytricks: "Okay, I'm desperately trying to remember a story where someone gets possessed or something by an alien or ghost or the devil or something and cuts his own head off to spare the world from ending.

Or something.

Anyone know what I'm talking about?


Wasn't this how Kindergarten Cop ended?
"

No, because "it's not a tum-ah."
posted by WCityMike at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2008


I bet we get to the end of this story, and find out it's because trees have been releasing some kind of weird chemical that stops you from getting reservations at Dorsia. I hear that happens.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:43 PM on July 17, 2008


Oh man do chainsaws freak me out. I can't even be in the same room as one. This would definitely not be my preferred method of suicide.

Now I am totally creeped out.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 3:56 PM on July 17, 2008


True story: My friend Birdie (who is a horticulturist) had a freak accident involving a chainsaw and his face. It went exactly like this:

*Birdie prepares to cut down a large, knotted tree whose root system is encroaching on the plat where a new home is being built*

(assorted chainsaw noises, then a THWACK of ungodly proportions)

BIRDIE, HOLDING FACE TOGETHER, SPEED DIALS HIS WIFE: "Sarah! Sarah come quickly to the (insert new homeowner's address)!"

SARAH: "What? Why are you shouting?"

BIRDIE: "Baby, just... just hurry. And bring the EMT." (Sarah is a trauma nurse who works at Parkland Hospital in Dallas)

Long story short: Birdie hit a knot with the chainsaw accidentally; chainsaw bounced up, hit him square in the face, and hit him right between the eyes. HARD.

When Sarah showed up, he was holding his face together. He now has a wicked scar that looks like a lightning bolt from the top of his forehead to his chin. I mean, many, many plastic surgeries later. Lucky fucker, that one is.

So do I believe it can be done on accident? Yeah. Cleanly, though? I dunno. I guess you had to be there.

I will admit to being fascinated by the chainsaws on poles you can buy at home improvement stores, though. If you were a real jerk of a serial killer, you could just sort of slide one through an open window in the middle of the night, chainsaw someone in bed, and then retract. Boom! Random murder, no blood on you!

this scenario is in no way related to my hatred of a former neighbor who recently went to a nursing home, thank god, I swear.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:00 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


from ubuRoivas' link:

Roughan is accused of repeatedly punching and stomping on the boy before using a knife to stab him 133 times.

"The body was then dealt with in a barbaric way," prosecutor David Meredith said.


and THEN the body was dealt with in a barbaric way?
posted by msconduct at 4:26 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


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