by Robert A. Waters
(10) Rudolph Tyner. Bill and Myrtie Moon owned a small store near Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. On March 18, 1978, Rudolph Tyner and a cohort shot-gunned the couple in a daylight robbery. In court, he laughed about how the couple had begged for their lives. Tyner was quickly convicted of the murders and received the death penalty. Tony Cimo, the adopted son of the Moons, figured the eighteen-year-old killer would never be executed. He hired serial killer Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins, also on death row, to murder Tyner. Cimo smuggled a radio containing bomb components to Gaskins. The killer rigged the radio with explosives and gave it to Tyner. When Tyner turned it on, a tremendous explosion shook the prison. Tyner died, having been blown to bits. Gaskins was convicted of the murder and once again was sentenced to death. Cimo was arrested for his part in the murder, convicted, and sentenced to eight years in prison. He served only three, then was released. He returned home, unrepentant. He said: “I think constantly of Tyner laughing while Mama and Daddy begged for their lives. I did what I did, and that was it.” Gaskins was executed for the murder of Tyner.
(9) Delvonte Tisdale. On November 15, 2010, in Milton, Massachusetts, a motorist noticed a body lying on the road. The remains turned out to be what was left of sixteen-year-old Delvonte Tisdale. Investigators discovered that the teen had stowed away in the wheel well of a Boeing 737 commercial jet airliner and fallen to his death. The plane had flown from Charlotte, North Carolina to Logan Airport in Boston. Somehow, Tisdale breached security and climbed into the wheel well for a free flight up north. His purported reason was to return to Baltimore where he had family. Cops told the media that he likely froze to death in the wheel well and fell when the plane lowered its landing wheels. It was so cold at the altitude flown by the jet that a plastic card Tisdale carried had frozen and broken into tiny pieces. A good student and member of the ROTC, the teenager’s death seemed senseless to those who knew him.
(8) Christine Chubbuck. In the middle of her daily newscast, Sarasota, Florida reporter Christine Chubbuck stunned her audience by saying: “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide.” With that, she pulled a .38-caliber handgun from her purse, stuck it behind her ear, and fired. As she fell, her body began to twitch. Before the cameras could stop rolling, thousands of viewers witnessed the entire event. Ten hours later, Chubbuck was pronounced dead at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. It turned out that she had even written her suicide into her news script. According to her wishes, family members scattered Chubbuck’s ashes into the Gulf of Mexico.
(7) Franz Reichelt. An Austrian who became a French citizen, Reichelt earned his living as a tailor. His hobby, however, was inventing and designing parachutes. On February 4, 1912, Reichelt climbed the Eiffel Tower to test one of his inventions. (Reichelt had permission from the Parisian Prefecture of Police to use a dummy, but all along he intended to act as his own guinea pig.) Like a giant bird, with his wings flapping, Reichelt leaped. The parachute did not deploy, and Reichelt dropped like a stone. He was dead before rescuers could arrive.
(6) General John Sedgwick. On May 9, 1864, at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Union General John Sedgwick watched his troops ducking as Confederate snipers fired at them from 1,000 yards away. Sedgwick berated the soldiers, and reportedly asked, “Why are you dodging like this? They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” Within seconds, a sniper’s ball smashed into the general’s face, killing him. Just before dying, Sedgwick agreed that the soldiers should duck.
(5) Clarabelle Lansing. On April 28, 1988, the fuselage of an Aloha Airlines flight from Hilo to Honolulu, Hawaii was damaged due to an explosive decompression. Several feet of the top flew off, suctioning out seats and debris. Flight attendant Clarabelle Lansing was blown out of the airplane at 30,000 feet. She likely fell into the Pacific Ocean, though her remains were never found. Of the 95 passengers and crew, 68 were injured. Was Lansing alive when she exited the fuselage? If so, would she have been flash-frozen? If she happened to exit the plane alive, it must have been a terrifying fall. Investigators blamed metal fatigue for the accident.
(4) Sherwood Anderson. The celebrated author of Winesburg, Ohio loved martinis. Before taking a cruise to South America in 1941, Anderson and his wife celebrated their departure at several parties hosted by well-wishers. As always, the author imbibed until he could barely move. Once he boarded the cruise liner Santa Lucia, he began to complain of abdominal pain. The discomfort grew worse, and Anderson disembarked at Colon, Panama where he was taken to the hospital. After lingering for several days, he died. An autopsy revealed that a toothpick had pierced the lower part of his colon, causing an infection that eventually developed into peritonitis. Biographers claimed that Anderson likely swallowed the toothpick while drinking martinis. Buried at his home in Virginia, the author’s epitaph reads: “Life, Not Death, is the Great Adventure.”
(3) David Carradine. The actor is best known for his television show, “Kung Fu.” Carradine, scion of a famous Hollywood family, made numerous movies in several genres, including martial arts flicks, westerns, and science fiction films. In 2009, ABC News reported that Carradine “was found by a chamber maid at Bangkok’s Park Nai Lert Hotel naked and dead, slumped in a closet with cords bound and connecting his neck and his genitals.” Reports stated that he died wearing women’s stockings and a wig. Police ruled the death an accident, the result of “auto-erotic asphyxiation, the practice of cutting off one’s air supply to heighten sexual pleasure.” Two of Carradine’s former wives told reporters that he was addicted to “deviant sexual behavior.” Carradine’s acting legacy likely will be overshadowed by the weird circumstances of his death.
(2) Sidney Reso. The CEO of Exxon, Reso was kidnapped from the driveway of his home in Morris Township, New Jersey. He put up a struggle and his captors, Arthur and Irene Seale, shot him in the arm. Two wannabe Yuppies, the couple hoped to collect 18.5 million dollars from Exxon. Arthur and Irene forced Reso into a wooden box and nailed down the lid. The box had only a few holes for air, some candy, and water. Reso, still in the wooden box, was placed inside a storage unit as his kidnappers attempted to collect the ransom. A diabetic who needed daily shots of insulin, Reso could not last long. In addition to his medical issues, the summer’s heat made the box unbearable. By the end of his third day in his tomb, he died from heat and exhaustion. The Seales then moved his body, dumping it into Bass River State Park. A few days later, the FBI captured the duo. They were both convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
(1) Jeffrey Bush. Central Florida is the sinkhole capital of the world. These cavernous chasms have been known to swallow cattle and horses, cars and trucks, streets and homes. It’s rare that they take a human life, but Jeff Bush not only fell into a one hundred foot sinkhole, his body was never recovered. Bush was asleep in his Seffner, Florida home when the floor beneath him suddenly collapsed. He screamed, and his brother, Jeremy, ran into the room and watched as Jeff disappeared into the abyss. Jeremy clambered into the hole in an attempt to save his brother, but Jeff was gone. Rescuers soon arrived, but could do little. A few days later, officials demolished the home and covered the place where Jeff Bush vanished. Several neighboring homes were also demolished, and a fence placed around the site. How did Jeff Bush die? Did falling debris kill him? Did he fall all the way to the aquifer 100 feet below and drown? No one knows.