Today’s Scalped Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
The defining car crash of the 1960s was the collision that took the life of actress Jayne Mansfield in 1967. After standing in at a nightclub engagement in Biloxi, Mississippi, as a replacement for Mamie Van Doren, the thirty-five-year-old Mansfield was being driven to New Orleans in the early hours of June 29 to be interviewed on a local television show. She was traveling with her current boyfriend (San Francisco attorney Samuel S. Brody), three of her five children, and four pet Chihuahuas. The 1966 Buick Electra was being driven by Ronnie Harrison, a college student who was working as a chauffeur for the summer. The party set off from Biloxi at about 2:30 in the morning. About twenty miles outside New Orleans on windy U.S. Highway 90 – often known as the Spanish Trail – the Buick smashed straight into the back of a trailer that had stopped suddenly behind a city truck spraying the swamps with anti-mosquito insecticide.
The crash was so forceful that the impact sheared off the top of the Buick, which apparently “crumpled like piece of tinfoil after a cookout” – in fact, crash investigators first assumed the hardtop was a convertible. Jayne, Brody, and Harrison were killed instantly, their bodies thrown out of the wreckage and on to the road. The three children, who were sleeping in the back of the car, received only minor bruises. Most accounts of the crash describe Mansfield as being decapitated; author of Hollywood Babylon, Kenneth Anger, recalls seeing a photograph of the actress’s severed head mounted on the front of her wrecked car, “surrealistically transformed into a bloody hood ornament.” Other, less lurid reports claim that Mansfield wasn’t in fact decapitated but scalped by the car’s roof, her blonde wig thrown forward on to the hood of the Buick. However, in the clearest photograph of the wreck, Mansfield’s body, covered with a tarp, lies in the foreground, and it’s clear to see that there is nothing where her head should be. No one, however, will debate the fact that two innocent young Chihuahuas also lost their lives in tragic circumstances.
Culled from: Car Crash Culture