Franz Reichelt

One has to wonder why anyone who wasn’t suicidal would jump off of the Eiffel Tower. Well, if you’re Franz Reichelt you do it to test out your super neato parachute suit…

Franz. Doesn't he look dapper!

Franz. Doesn’t he look dapper? And that mustache!!

Franz was an Austrian-born French tailor who became known as the Flying Tailor for his parachute designs. Now a few of his first personal parachute suit designs were successful when tested using dummies and thrown from the roof of his fifth floor apartment building. However, some of his following designs were not quite so successful and he attributed this to not having a high enough platform to toss his dummies from. He petitioned the Parisian Prefecture of Police to use the Eiffel Tower for his test. When he was finally granted permission to do this ole Franz did a bit of a bait and switch and stated he was going to test the suit himself in place of the test dummy. That’s a really snazzy suit but I’m not sure I would have the same confidence.

Well… the time came for the jump and friends and gathering witnesses did attempt to persuade Franz from making this jump, or at the very least using some type of safety device like a rope, you know… just in case. But Franz would have none of this instead wanting to put complete faith in his invention. The end result was he jumped, the parachute did not properly deploy and very soon there was a impressive Franz shaped impression in the ground and the Flying Tailor was no more. It went without saying that the jump killed him but he was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Some accounts suggest he died from a heart attack long before the impact bumped soul from body.

This entire event was filmed and widely distributed by the press for the weeks that followed. The entire story and the film itself on Franz’s wiki-page. And while the film is not actually as gruesome as you would think, there are still some things you cannot un-watch. So you are warned Mr. Morbid Curiosity.


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