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On February 4th 1912, an Austrian tailor named Franz Reichelt was at the Eiffel Tower in Paris in order to test his new overcoat-parachute design. He planned to leap from the top of the 986 foot tower, at that time the tallest man-made structure in the world. The prototype was designed to float its wearer gently to the ground.
At the top of the tower, he stood on a stool at the edge of the balcony, fidgeting with the awkward contraption and looking at the ground far below as he gathered the courage to jump. After many long seconds, he hopped over the rail, and plummeted to the earth like a stone.
The entire grim event was captured as a silent moving-picture for posterity, ending with police officers measuring the dent his impact left in the lawn.
Found on Cynical-C