Death in California: The Bizarre, Freakish, and Just Curious Ways People Die in the Golden State

Overview

With details about grim and grisly fatalities, this history of California's arcane deaths encompasses the murders and accidents that at one time shocked the West Coast. The stories of hangings, gun accidents, suicides, crashes, and overdoses of both the famous and obscure offer a bizarre and lighthearted, if sometimes perverse, glimpse into the Golden State's strange past. From the tragic tale of 14 tourists swept to their deaths over Vernal Fall in pastoral Yosemite National Park and the gritty details of Bob ...

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Overview

With details about grim and grisly fatalities, this history of California's arcane deaths encompasses the murders and accidents that at one time shocked the West Coast. The stories of hangings, gun accidents, suicides, crashes, and overdoses of both the famous and obscure offer a bizarre and lighthearted, if sometimes perverse, glimpse into the Golden State's strange past. From the tragic tale of 14 tourists swept to their deaths over Vernal Fall in pastoral Yosemite National Park and the gritty details of Bob "Bear" Hite overdosing on heroin in a seedy Hollywood nightclub to the shocking chronicle of a 10-ton jet crashing into a Bay Area kitchen, this zany collection is delightfully weird and enthrallingly human.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
One of the central paradoxes of human nature is that we are often more fascinated by someone's moment of demise than by the details of their entire lifespan. That strange fixation is nowhere more apparent than in contemplating the fascination that David Kulczyk's book holds. Death in California enthralls us with its factual accounts of strange accidents and weird seizures, its sober renderings of hangings and suicides of the famous and the unknown. Think of it as a bell tolling shrilly for all of us.
From the Publisher
"Once the reader gets into the somewhat voyeuristic rhythm of wondering who's going to 'get it' next and how, Kulczyk's assemblage of well-researched stories becomes very addictive." —"Chico News & Review"
Sacramento Book Review

Tells a story of thirty-one shocking murders and accidents that stunned the very soul of the state and took place between 1852 and 2007.

Midwest Book Review
A quirky compendium . . . an unforgettably compelling account of grisly mishaps, dark twists of fate, and ill luck of the worst kind.
Chico News & Review
Once the reader gets into the somewhat voyeuristic rhythm of wondering who's going to "get it" next and how, Kulczyk's assemblage of well-researched stories becomes very addictive.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781884995576
  • Publisher: Linden Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 956,533
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

David Kulczyk is a historian and author whose work has appeared in the "Chico News and Review, "the "East Bay Express," the "Sacramento News and Review," and the "San Francisco Guardian." He is the author of "California Justice." He lives in Sacramento, California.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

1 The Bowman Incident 1

Monroeville, Colusa County-March 9, 1852

2 A Decade of War 9

Butte County-1860 to 1870

3 The Evilest Stepmother 17

Gridley, Butte County-June 26, 1911

4 The Wheatland Hop Riot 19

Wheatland, Yuba County-August 3, 1913

5 President Harding Is Dead 26

San Francisco-August 2, 1923

6 Vernal Fall 14/Humans 0 32

Yosemite National Park

7 The Ape Boy 38

Wineville/MiraLoma, Riverside County-1926 to 1928

8 Russ Columbo 49

Los Angeles-September 2, 1934

9 The Colossal Liar 54

Oakland-December 7, 1938

The Duchess 59

San Francisco and Sacramento-April 7 and 13, 1940

11 The Lady Killer 65

San Mateo/Palo Alto-1935 and 1942

12 Head and Hands 71

Temple City, L.A. County-December 30, 1945

13 Deportee Plane Crash 77

Fresno County-January 28, 1948

14 The Snake Woman 81

Cypress, Orange County-July 20, 1948

15 The Little Girl in the Well 86

San Marino, Los Angeles county-April 8, 1949

16 Jumped the Gun 90

Santa Barbara-July 7, 1950

17 Penny for Her Thoughts? 92

Daly City-February 1, 1959

18 Paradise Lost 99

Stateline, Nevada-March 1, 1964

19 Suicide Via Airliner 103

San Ramon, contra Costa County-May 7, 1964

20 Bobby Fuller 108

Hollywood-July 18, 1966

21 Death House in Davis 111

Davis, Yolo County-April 7, 1972

22 Death in an Ice Cream Parlor 114

Sacramento-September 24, 1972

23 there Goes the Neighborhood 117

Alameda-February 7, 1973

24 Yuba City Loses a Generation 121

Martinez-May 21, 1976

25 Anissa Jones 125

Oceanside, San Diego County-August 28, 1976

26 Bob "The Bear" Hite 128

Los Angeles-April 5, 1981

27 The Keddie Murders 131

Keddie,Plumas County-April 11, 1981

28 The Caldecott Tunnel Explosion 137

Orinda/Oakland-April 7, 1982

29 Bill Graham 141

Vallejo, Sonoma County-October 25, 1991

30 Talkin' 'bout My Generation 148

Laguna Beach-April 22, 2007

Map 153

Bibliography 155

Index 161

About the Author 169

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