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Fascinating True Stories from the Flip Side of History

Tag Archives: 1931

Dead Man Helps Revive Wife


On October 30, 1931, it was reported that 80-year-old (he was really 79) Llewellyn Hall slumped over in a rocking chair inside of his Cleveland, Ohio home. His wife Emma checked for a pulse but could find none. She contacted the police rescue squad who raced to the scene, but they were unable to revive Llewellyn.

On the way to the morgue, the crew stopped at the hospital so that they could obtain an official death certificate. Physicians there confirmed that there was no heartbeat but opted to try a stimulant to see if they could possibly revive Llewellyn. Suddenly, his eyelids began to blink. The doctors then proceeded to apply artificial respiration and Llewellyn sat up.

“I guess I must’ve been out for a while,” he told the doctors. The police were kind enough to drive Llewellyn back home. Upon arrival, he was surprised to find that mourners had already arrived to offer his wife their condolences. As soon as his wife Emma laid eyes on her husband, she fainted. Llewellyn, the supposedly dead man, had to help revive his wife.

Llewelyn Hall’s death certificate. He passed away at January 6, 1933 at 80 years of age. (Click to enlarge.)

First Tire to Cross the Pacific?


Most people have some familiarity with how Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, yet few ever talk about those who were the first to do so across the Pacific.

That honor goes to Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon.

The two took off from Sabishiro Beach in Japan on October 4, 1931 in their plane that was named the Miss Veedol.

Shortly after they took flight, they purposely jettisoned their landing gear to both gain speed and save on fuel. It didn’t all go quite as planned. The struts failed to separate from the airplane, so Pangborn was forced to climb out on the wings barefoot to remove them.

41 hours and 13 minutes later, the two successfully made a belly landing on a patch of sagebrush in Wenatchee, Washington.

Sixteen months later, the captain of a schooner named the Presho spotted something floating in the water. It was a Firestone branded tire, which was identified by its serial number as having been part of the landing gear that had been jettisoned by the Miss Veedol shortly after takeoff. It had followed nearly the identical path across the Pacific that Pangborn and Herndon had taken, being found just 200 miles (320 km) away from their final landing location.

Advertisement for Champion Aviation Spark Plugs featuring Hugh Herndon (left) and Clyde Pangborn (right).
Advertisement for Champion Aviation Spark Plugs featuring Hugh Herndon (left) and Clyde Pangborn (right). From page 5 of the November 1931 issue of Aero-Digest.

Wrong Man Identified


On September 22, 1931, a 35-year-old painter in Chippendale, Australia named Charles Edmund Kneale slipped off of a ladder that he was working on and fell 30 feet (a little over 9 meters) to the pavement below.

A radio message was broadcast requesting that his wife report to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital because her husband was dying.

Mrs. Winifred Kneale did just that.  Although she was unable to see his face, she was able to identify her husband and he soon slipped away.

Shortly after that, another woman named Mrs. Dorothy Kneale also identified the dead man as her husband, which he really was.

It was an honest mistake.  Both wives had the same last name and were married to unemployed painters, both of whom were living at Hammond’s Hotel, where the accident took place.  And, on top of that, both wives were living in Mosman with different women named Mrs. Brown.