The Most Beautiful Suicide
On May 1, 1947, Evelyn McHale jumped from the observation deck of the Empire State Building in New York City. On May Day, just after leaving her fiancé, 23 year-old McHale wrote a note that said “He is much better off without me … I wouldn’t make a good wife for anybody,…”. She went to the observation platform of the Empire State Building. Through the mist, she gazed at the street, 86 floors below. Then she jumped. In her desperate determination, she leaped clear of the setbacks and hit a United Nations limousine parked at the curb. Across the street, photography student Robert Wiles heard an explosive crash. Just four minutes after Evelyn McHale’s death, Wiles took this photo. The photograph was featured in the May 12th edition of LIFE Magazine, and is often referred to as “The Most Beautiful Suicide” because of the serenity of Evelyn’s body amidst the wreckage of the car.