Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/329

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A STUDY OF SUICIDE.

tilted out of the window and hung by the ropes which were fastened to the beam. He then, by way of finishing, nailed his right hand to the arm of the cross, but could not succeed in fixing the left, although the nail by which it was to have been fixed was driven through it, and half of it came out on the other side. This happened at eight o'clock in the morning. Some persons by whom he was perceived ran up-stairs, disengaged him from the cross, and put him to bed. By medical care his wounds ultimately healed, but he was ever afterward morose and singular."

A person bent upon suicide will sometimes await a favorable opportunity for months, or overcome apparently insurmountable difficulties by the exercise of ingenuity which, if it were devoted to the accomplishment of a better object, would be worthy of the highest commendation. Dr. Wynter cites the case of a man who was placed under medical observation because he had attempted to commit suicide. He was watched with the greatest care; during nine months all means—so far as his attendants knew—by which he could injure himself were removed. But one morning he was discovered hanging by his neck from the bedstead, quite dead. How he became possessed of the cord was an enigma which was afterward solved by the discovery that he had carefully preserved every piece of string from the parcels that had been sent to him from time to time. With them he had twisted a rope sufficiently strong to accomplish his purpose. The newspapers a few months ago reported the case of a man named Frederick Helbig, of Zanesville, Ohio, who also showed considerable inventive talent. He was blind and disconsolate, and therefore resolved to die, but as none of the common methods were suited to his purpose he made his way to the cellar, broke off a piece of the gas-pipe, and then covering the end of the pipe and his head with a heavy quilt, quietly suffocated himself with the gas.

Another extraordinary case is that of a man who was quite recently admitted to the Buffalo Insane Asylum. He had attempted suicide the day before while in the station-house, and, owing to his dangerous tendencies, he was placed under the care of a special night-watch, who sat outside his door. For three nights all went well, but on the fourth he jumped from the head of his bed for the transom over his window, the only exposed glass in the room, crashing through the panes and seizing the bars on the outside. Before the attendant could prevent it he had, with a bit of glass, cut into his throat, severing the thyroid cartilage. The patient was in a frenzied condition, and it required the efforts of five attendants to keep him from tearing open the wound. The cartilage was united and the wound sewed and dressed. Foiled in his attempts to tear open the wound, he fixed his lips and jaws tightly and exhaled forcibly. He succeeded literally in blowing