Though suicide is a common element in tales of lost love and heartbreak, the subject usually ends it all because of a lover’s death or betrayal. However, there are exceptions. A tortured young woman said to haunt New York City’s Empire State Building took her life for an entirely different reason.
On May 1, 1947, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale leapt from the top of the Empire State Building. Her body landed on a United Nations limousine over a thousand feet below, obliterating the roof of the car and horrifying pedestrians passing by the iconic landmark.
The commotion drew photography student Robert Wiles who snapped a photo of McHale just minutes after her death (right). Though Evelyn plummeted 86 stories, or 1,050 feet, Wiles’ photo reveals a calm, beautiful corpse, eyes closed, fingers still clutching a pearl necklace. McHale looks as if she could be sleeping, but the limousine’s mangled roof and shattered glass tell a different story.