In 1925, Kentucky caver Floyd Collins was exploring a new tunnel when a falling rock caught his foot, trapping him 55 feet underground. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow the desperate efforts to free Collins, whose plight became one of the first popular media sensations of the 20th century.
We’ll also learn how Ronald Reagan invented a baseball record and puzzle over a fatal breakfast.
Sources for our feature on Floyd Collins:
Robert K. Murray and Roger W. Brucker, Trapped!, 1979.
Gary Alan Fine and Ryan D. White, “Creating Collective Attention in the Public Domain: Human Interest Narratives and the Rescue of Floyd Collins,” Social Forces 81:1 (September 2002), 57-85.
“Floyd Collins Is Found Dead,” Madison Lake [Minn.] Times, Feb. 19, 1925.
Associated Press, “Sand Cave Is to Be Grave of Explorer,” Feb. 18, 1925.
Associated Press, “Floyd Collins Will Be Left in Sand Cave for His Last Sleep,” Feb. 18, 1925.
Associated Press, “Ancient ‘Floyd Collins’ Found in Mammoth Cave,” June 19, 1935.
Ray Glenn, “Floyd Collins Trapped in Cave 35 Years Ago,” Park City [Ken.] Daily News, Feb. 7, 1960.
Carl C. Craft, “Floyd Collins Case Recalled After 40 Years,” Kentucky New Era, Feb. 1, 1965.
William Burke Miller, “40 Years Ago, World Prayed for Floyd Collins,” Eugene [Ore.] Register-Guard, Feb. 11, 1965.
Paul Raupp, “Floyd Collins Finds Final Resting Place,” Bowling Green [Ken.] Daily News, March 26, 1989.
Howard Breuer et al., “Dumb Criminals,” People 81:1 (Jan. 13, 2014).
Ronald Reagan, “Remarks at a White House Luncheon for Members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, March 27, 1981,” The American Presidency Project.
Ronald Reagan, An American Life, 1990.
This week’s lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Stephen Harvey.
Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet — on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. You can change or cancel your pledge at any time, and we’ve set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website.
Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.
If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening!