Unusual methods adopted by suicide victims, compiled by George Kennan for a report in McClure’s Magazine, 1908:

  • Hanging themselves, or taking poison, in the tops of high trees
  • Throwing themselves upon swiftly revolving circular saws
  • Exploding dynamite in their mouths
  • Thrusting red-hot pokers down their throats
  • Hugging red-hot stoves
  • Stripping themselves naked and allowing themselves to freeze to death on winter snowdrifts out of doors, or on piles of ice in refrigerator-cars
  • Lacerating their throats on barbed-wire fences
  • Drowning themselves head downward in barrels
  • Suffocating themselves head downward in chimneys
  • Diving into white-hot coke-ovens
  • Throwing themselves into craters of volcanoes
  • Shooting themselves with ingenious combinations of a rifle with a sewing-machine
  • Strangling themselves with their hair
  • Swallowing poisonous spiders
  • Piercing their hearts with corkscrews and darning-needles
  • Cutting their throats with handsaws and sheep-shears
  • Hanging themselves with grape vines
  • Swallowing strips of underclothing and buckles of suspenders
  • Forcing teams of horses to tear their heads off
  • Drowning themselves in vats of soft soap
  • Plunging into retorts of molten glass
  • Jumping into slaughter-house tanks of blood
  • Decapitation with home-made guillotines
  • Self-crucifixion

“One would naturally suppose that a person who had made up his mind to commit suicide would do so in the easiest, most convenient, and least painful way,” Kennan concludes, “but the literature of the subject proves conclusively that hundreds of suicides, every year, take their lives in the most difficult, agonizing, and extraordinary ways; and that there is hardly a possible or conceivable method of self-destruction that has not been tried.”