Death, dying and disappearing in the 1980’s

Death, dying and disappearing in the 1980’s

As Shakespeare once said: ‘We all have our exits and our entrances.’

This is a collection of news stories from the 1980’s. They are real news items from around the world. The one common factor is that they all have a reference to death.

Not just deaths of people and animals and the strange ways some have met their end but wills with eccentric clauses, misbehaving ghosts and the end of inanimate objects like rail routes.

Some of these stories are sad, some amusing, some quite odd. There is no comment on any item and the news is printed exactly as was reported. They have been kept in scrapbooks throughout the 1980’s decade.

At the time they fascinated the author, made him smile or brought a tear to his eye. The intention is not to offend but to bring a rarely discussed subject to a wider audience.

You can read this book from first chapter to last but it is intended as something to pop into haphazardly; a potpourri, a farrago, a brush with serendipity.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – We all have our exits
Cure for toothache • Cliff hanger • Shortage of alcohol • Playing the ace • Petrol rationing • Sex slaves • Drowning • DIY • Hand made guillotine • Coffin • Out of order • (S)mothered • Killer whale • Crushed by piano • Blown up • Double trouble • Mistaken identity • Clubbing • Cess pit • Top secret • Friendly fire • Boiling mud • Electric fish • Fatal kiss • Lightning strikes twice • Eaten by snake

Chapter 2 – The last days of …
Sixpence • Melbourne Mercury • Turtle island • Heat drives out villagers • Last of the Organ Grinders • Mongol Lord • Lake disappears • Mucking

Chapter 3 – Ghosts
Ghostly miner • Council house ghost • Hitch hiking ghost • Prison ghost

Chapter 4 – Facts and figures
Deadlegs • Killer brollies • Running out of time • The quiet guest • DIY • Carved in stone • Tramp embalmed • George V • Dead Sherriff elected • Card playing • Life members • Drive through funeral parlour • Halifax gibbet • Booze missile • No smoking • Heaven and Hell • Green land • Beating the odds

Chapter 5 – Murder
The Evil Bass • Contract killing • Parking tickets • No return • Manhattan murder • Moustache King

Chapter 6 – Obituaries of the not so famous
Leslie Welch • Queen Modjadji IV • Peter Cavanagh • Jane Comfort • ‘Professor’ Patrick Cullen • Chief Lame Fox • Tom Keating • The Skating Granny • Man dies aged 157 • Albert Hirst • Stella Walsh • Fred Hill

Chapter 7 – Suicides
Suicide forest • Failed again • Kills three • Re-united • Final success • Football fanatic • ‘I will return’ • Oldest suicide • Final curtain • Second time lucky • Law suit

Chapter 8 – Wills and bequests
The Jesus bequest • £1.75million to RSPCA • £750,000 for mushrooms • House has to go as well

Chapter 9 – The Animal Kingdom
Lusty bull • Buffalo soldier • Flea circus • Pelican • Hot hippos • Gastric brooding frog • Fish pie • Mobile crematorium • Venus fly trap • Man bites dog • Shark attacks boat • Zebra suicide • False teeth for sheep • Pike

Chapter 10 – The Arts World
Skeleton chair • Playing dead • Ink stand • Ghost writer

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