Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 6, 2018

Today’s Uncontrolled Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The 1970s saw a significant increase in the number of celebrity car crash deaths. The decade’s casualties include former child actor Brandon de Wilde, who was driving through Denver, Colorado, on July 6, 1972, when his car hit a flatbed truck, killing him instantly. In Britain, the world of pop music was shaken by the untimely death of Marc Bolan, amphetamine sage and lead vocalist of the group T-Rex, who was killed in the early hours of September 16, 1977, when he and his girlfriend, Gloria Jones, were returning from a nightclub. Gloria was at the wheel; Bolan, despite a lifetime’s fascination with cars, had never learned to drive. The Bolan crash took place in Barnes Common, North London; Jones, having just driven over a humpbacked bridge, took a sharp curve and lost control of the car, which came off the road at high speed and crashed into a tree; Gloria Jones survived, but the twenty-nine-year-old Bolan was killed on impact.

Gloria Jones and Marc Bolan during happier, alive-r, times.

Bolan’s car crash, like many later accidents, provoked a considerable media-based frenzy of mourning. The day after the fatal crash, which made front-page news, crazed fans broke into Bolan’s home and stole almost everything they could get their hands on; a hospital worker even tried to sell the blood-splattered clothes the eccentric star had been wearing the night of the crash. The funeral was a circus of grieving fans, and even now the “death tree” on Barnes Common remains a roadside shrine for tender messages and other sentimental ornaments of tribute and grief. 

The death car at the accident scene

The accident site as it looks today

Culled from: Car Crash Culture


Vintage Car Crash Du Jour!

One of my favorite books is Car Crashes and Other Sad Stories by Anaheim photographer Mell Kilpatrick. It’s a collection of car crash photos from the 40’s and 50’s, often with corpses still strewn across the enormous interior (or out of it, since there were no seat belts in those days). It combines my love of old cars with my love of morbidity and is the perfect ambulance chaser book!

Westminster & Los Alamitos

One comment

  1. Fun fact: Bolan’s reckless girlfriend Gloria Jones was herself a singer of note. In 1964 she recorded the original version of the love-kills classic “Tainted Love”

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