The Evelyn McHale story is a unique and sad one. While her life ended on a tragic note, it also marked the beginning of her fame. Even though it’s been a handful of decades since this maiden purposely ended her life, history has refused to forget her.
Evelyn is widely remembered for what many refer to as a “beautiful suicide”, read on to learn more about her life and why she did what she did.
Who Was Evelyn McHale?
Born on May 1, 1947, in Berkeley, California; Evelyn McHale was just 23 years old when she committed suicide on May 1, 1970. Her dad Vincent worked as a bank Examiner before the divorce with his then-wife, Helen Constance Mchale.
Upon the divorce, Vincent relocated to Tuckahoe, New York after he gained sole responsibilities for the Kids. Evelyn was a tough dreamer, upon her graduation in High School, she joined the Women’s Army Corps and began duty in Jefferson City, Missouri. However, she later left and burned her uniform.
Till her death, Evelyn worked as a bookkeeper at the Kitab Engraving company in Manhattan, she took up the job after relocating to Baldwin, New York. The lovely lady found Love with Barry Rhodes but couldn’t live to walk down the aisle with him.
Why Did She Commit Such A Beautiful Suicide?
Evelyn McHale wrote a beautiful sad note on why she could not live another day. Excerpts from her suicide note read: “I don’t want anyone in or out of my family to see any part of me. Could you destroy my body by cremation? I beg of you and my family – don’t have any service for me or remembrance for me.
“My fiance asked me to marry him in June. I don’t think I would make a good wife for anybody. He is much better off without me. Tell my father, I have too many of my mother’s tendencies.”
Evelyn took her own life on April 30, 1947. She made the decision to end her life just after she returned from seeing her then-fiance Barry Rhodes. As it happened, Evelyn left Barry’s place and headed to the Empire State Building which had 103 floors, on getting to the 86th Floor, Evelyn jumped down and landed on a parked car with her legs intentionally crossed and her hands slightly holding on to a pearl necklace on her neck. She posed for death like a model.
In the quest of knowing what transpired between her and Barry before she reached the scene, Barry told Detective Frank Murry that he had no clue regarding why she would take her life. He further elaborated on how he had kissed her bye and she giggled about their upcoming wedding.
Subsequently, it was concluded that Evelyn Mchale was scared of being like her mom. She also believed she wouldn’t be the perfect wife for Barry. Logically, it rings that her parent’s divorce affected her psychologically as a child. Her mom left her Dad for no obvious reasons and was later diagnosed with mental illness.
Evelyn first hinted at her ill feelings towards marriage at Barry’s brother’s wedding where she tore her dress after serving as a bridesmaid and later burnt the dress.
Many wonder why a horrific event could be termed beautiful, well, Evelyn had the most amazing fall of all times. In fact, a picture of her last moments taken by Robert Miles geared the photography student to fame. Robert’s shot of Evelyn was ranked the picture of the week in the issue of Life magazine on May 12, 1947.
The picture depicts a Lady who intentionally had her legs crossed and her hands on her pearl. Taking a distant look at the picture, it could be assumed that Evelyn was just relaxing or posing for a photo shoot.
Every wish she had on her suicide note was given to her. Nevertheless, the wish of no one remembering her didn’t see the light of the day. She became popular after her death with her photograph painted and rebranded by a lot of artists.
Evelyn Mchale’s death has geared legacies for her, her photograph has been a theoretical example for analyzing death causes, it has been viewed by Malcolm Wilde Browne and compared with the death of Tich Quang Duc, a monk who took his own life by burning himself. The picture inspired Andy Warhol work titled Suicide (Fallen Body) and Saccharine Trust’s album cover for Surviving You, Always. Also, it is said that the incident inspired David Bowie’s single, Jump They Say.