Evelyn McHale: The Most Beautiful Suicide

25 November 2018


Evelyn McHale is arguably the most iconic Empire State Building suicide victim. On May 1st, 1947, the young and pretty woman took a leap from the 86th floor Observation Deck and landed on a United Nations limousine parked on the street below. Photography student Robert Wiles heard an explosive crash and captured this photo of her just four minutes after her death. The car’s metal folded like sheets and framed her head and arms. Everything about the elegance of her pose—from her gloved hand clutching at her pearl necklace to her gently crossed ankles—suggests why her death was given the title of ‘’the most beautiful suicide’’.

In a black pocket book next to her coat contained a suicide note which read:

‘’I don’t want anyone in or out of my family to see any part of me. Could you destroy my body by cremation? I beg of you and my family – don’t have any service for me or remembrance for me. My fiance asked me to marry him in June. I don’t think I would make a good wife for anybody. He is much better off without me. Tell my father, I have too many of my mother’s tendencies.’’

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