Sometimes Real Life is Stranger Than Fiction
Where's Murphy When You Need Him??
* 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 skull.
* 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.
* 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, killing 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 laid 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.
* 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.
* An unidentified English woman, according to the London Sunday Express was
climbing into the bathtub one afternoon when she remembered she had left some
muffins in the oven. Naked, she dashed downstairs and was removing the
muffins when she heard a noise at the door. Thinking it was the baker, and
knowing he would come in and leave a loaf of bread on the kitchen table if she
didn't answer his knock, the woman darted into the broom cupboard. A few
moments later she heard the back door open and, to her eternal mortification, the
sound of footsteps coming toward the cupboard. It was the man from the gas
company, coming to read the meter. "Oh," stammered the woman, "I was
expecting the baker." The gas man blinked, excused himself and departed.