In the age of the internet, everyone has watched a performer as they make their way across a tightrope, strung high above a skyline with no safety net beneath them. The death-defying stunt known as “Skywalking” keeps its audience on the edge of their seat. While you hope you don’t witness the person take a misstep and plummet several stories to their death, your morbid curiosity kind of wants it to happen for just a second before humanity kicks in and you realize you don’t actually want the tightrope walker to die (doubting a video like that would be released anyway). Never the less, watching a person struggle to survive in a highly dangerous situation has proven to be the human race’s favorite pastime. The struggle to remain on a thin string suspended hundreds of feet in the air is only one way we indulge ourselves in this genre of entertainment.
Karl Wallenda, founder of ‘The Flying Wallendas’ was a high-wire artist and one of many unfortunates who have been killed by their career in potentially fatal stunts. His final, fatal skywalk at age 73 was caught on camera by local news station, WAPA-TV in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Karl began performing at age six with his family in Magdeburg, Germany before moving to America in 1928. He broke the world skywalk record of 1,800 feet at King’s Island in Ohio which stood until his great-grandson, Nik Wallenda bested him with a 2,000 foot walk in 2008. Karl Wallenda went on performing well into his golden years and in 1978 was featured in ‘The Great Wallendas’, a documentary on his family’s legacy in the circus world, which dates back to the 1780s. Only 38 days after this documentary originally aired, Karl attempted to cross a wire strung between two ten-story towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan and failed. Due to high winds, Karl lost his balance and his life, falling 121 feet to the pavement below. Unfortunately, many of his family members were in attendance and witnessed his death on March 22,1978. While it is very difficult to watch the video of a 73 year old grandfather and circus legend falling to his death, the bright side is he lived a full life and died quickly while doing what he loved; Not everyone’s passing is so fortunate. Karl Wallenda spent his life on a tightrope, so it was suiting for it to end by falling off one.
Watch the video of Karl Wallenda’s final performance and death by following the link below:
Video contains graphic, disturbing images and mild gore.
Video courtesy of WAPA-TV (San Juan, Puerto Rico), BestGore.com and LiveLeak.com
If anyone who knows Spanish would like to take on the task of translating the narration of the video to English, I will credit you for the work.
From the same demented mind that brought you The Post-Mortem Post: FREAK