A college student from Massachusetts was killed yesterday when the Liberty Bell loosened from its supports and fell on top of the man, trapping him underneath. Despite the half-hearted efforts of rescue personnel, the three-ton copper dome could not be moved and the man died inside some three hours later, quite unhappy. It was Pennsylvania’s first recorded death from Bells Fallsy and the third death this week at a national Park.
Witnesses say that Randaford Higgins, 25, of Quincy, Massachusetts, entered a restricted area at the Liberty Bell viewing area, grabbed onto the bell’s clanger, and attempted to ring the cracked national treasure.
This riveting eyewitness account was obtained with the help of a Hillbilly translator.
“Serves him right!” exclaimed Charlene Crumall, visiting from Daddylover, West Virginia. “We was a-lookin’ at the bell. Next thing I know, he jumpin’ over the chain and then he’s a-swingin’ on the clanger thing, hootin’ and a hollerin’ then all of a sudden we’s hearin’ a snapping sound and the bell broke aloose and the whole dang thing come-ah crashing down with him underneath it. We tried to lift it offer him but it was too dang heavy.”
The victim’s devoted girlfriend stayed by his side for the three-hour ordeal, stopping only to take a lengthy lunch break. “I was able to get a couple sticks of gum slid through the crack in the bell. He loved chewing gum. He had his harmonica in his pocket and played for a while but I guess he tuckered himself out or ran out of air. I’m so upset ’cause they’re telling me I might have to pay to rehang the bell.”
So far, 227 people have died this year at National Park sites, up from 136 in 2010. Many of the deaths are purely accidental, while some are simply meant to look that way. However, the National Park Service attributes many of the deaths to an extreme multi-state scavenger hunt called Ruins,that has become popular with college kids. Many participants have been killed or injured during the game, sparking an investigation and nothing more.
In 2011, the highest number of deaths at national parks was 82 at the Grand Canyon. “Most of victims were what we call ‘good-lookers’,” said Teresa Brattlebury at the National Parks Service. “These are folks who want to get a ‘good look’ and step too close to the edge and fall in. We also had 19 people die from boredom at the boyhood home of President Lincoln in Indiana. We had two colored folks drown while swimming in the Washington Monument reflection pool and 14 people died of rabies from squirrel and chipmunk bites at other locations.”
Another 17 people have fallen to their deaths at Mount Rushmore. “Touching the mustache of Eleanor Roosevelt is part of this so-called game that these stupid kids are playing,” says Brattlebury. “The Ruins website lists all the challenges, including corn-holing the saber-toothed tiger at the Museum of Natural History; drinking beer out of Lincoln’s stovepipe hat at the Smithsonian; and having sex with Paris Hilton.”
“Most guys start with the Paris Hilton challenge because it’s the easiest one,” said Stamford University student Nick Peterson. “Then they work their way up through the 26 challenges, past Lincoln’s hat, past the Old Faithful bidet, and finally onto to the most difficult challenge—securing employment.”