Thursday, April 10, 2014

Homer S. McFarland -- Suicide Interruptus

In a combination of personal persistence and police ineptitude, the 27-year-old Walt Disney Studios artist was able to finally end his life on his second attempt.  On February 18, 1937, a WPA worker in the Coldwater Canyon section of Los Angeles found McFarland slumped unconscious over the steering wheel of his car.  The man pulled a piece of garden hose from the car's exhaust, opened the door, and summoned police.  The groggy artist was taken to the Van Nuys station and questioned about the suicide attempt, which was apparently motivated by financial troubles.  McFarland was ultimately released, but authorities retained the suicide note found in his car.  The artist drove for
some time before parking on Ventura Boulevard in front of the Encino Country Club where he completed his interrupted carbon monoxide-induced suicide.  The note left to his wife read:  "Blanche, Am going to write with every grind of the motor.  I am approaching death -- terrible? -- not so bad.  My own, I love you, but I can't see the whole thing.  I'm perspiring -- HO!  I wonder how long I can keep this up.  I have got much time -- no courage -- terrible?  What!  Do you realize, my lamb, that I am bust?  I'm perspiring like hell.  Imagine what people think of me.  Not much time left.  I love you."  And in an added postscript:  "Bigger and better world I hope, O God.  Will meet after the encore -- heck!  I need love -- no sickness."

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