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The Beast Decapitation


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Today, I talked to a person who was there the day it happened. He said it was around the time The Beast first opened in 1979, a man stood up and got decapitated. 

 

This is not the first time I have heard this. I have heard from a ride operator that it did happen but they covered it up. 

What are your thoughts?

 

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Today, I talked to a person who was there the day it happened. He said it was around the time The Beast first opened in 1979, a man stood up and got decapitated. 
 
This is not the first time I have heard this. I have heard from a ride operator that it did happen but they covered it up. 
What are your thoughts?
 
rumor

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Even in 1979 prior to social media, a death at an amusement park would have made the news.

I suspect someone is telling tales or mixing up the Eiffel Tower incident with The Beast.

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For posterity, I was a Beast Crew member (many, many moons ago) and can tell you we were all made aware of the potential hazards with the ride when in driver training.  We were given examples of accidents that HAVE occurred in its history, so we knew what to look for and how to handle.  Not once, in my time working there - or in training -  was there ever any mention of someone being mortally injured by The Beast.   However we were warned that people HAVE hit their heads on the trains, broken fingers and hands in the helix, busted lips, had heart attacks etc.   Unfortunately, those types of things DID happen (rarely) while I was on crew.  I saw and handled a couple of those types of instances personally.  However, with the exception of one case, the injuries occurred to people that ignored and challenged the safety warnings.  They were all treatable and relatively minor injuries. 

Perhaps the story is confused with another?  In the 1980s a young teenager did get partially decapitated on a coaster at Kings Dominion when they stood up on the Galaxi.  It made national news.   

(Side note:  the growing issues and concerns with persons standing on the coasters (not just The Beast) is why the individual orange lap bars took the place of the buzz bars on PTC trains at many parks.  But this was after many, many years of operating without them.  The more recent addition of seat belts also was a result of concerns about guests breaking rules while riding.)

FYI - I've never personally understood the fascination with these types of hearsay "stories." 

I once had a barber SWEAR he was at KI in the late 1980s on the day The Bat crashed into a concrete pillar, fell off the track, and killed people.  He was adamant that it happened.  There was so much wrong with his story, but when I tried to correct him - he got very defensive.  You would have thought I had killed his first-born.  After that, I learned to just roll my eyes and not engage with such stories when they are told directly to me.  There's no use arguing.

 

 

 

 

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I have a memory of reading a newspaper article (in the late ‘80s) on coasters or coaster safety that made a passing mention to this Beast decapitation story.

It might have been worded something like “a man died on The Beast when he stood up and hit a tunnel “.  My memory of the exact words is admittedly fuzzy, but I do remember that I was surprised and suspicious.  I’d never heard of this incident before, and could not confirm it (with the sources available to a teen in the late ‘80).

Given how closely Kings Island has always been covered by local media, I can’t imagine any incident of major public interest (like a ride-caused fatality) going unnoticed.

In any case, sometimes these false “stories” are spread by legitimate news sources. Perhaps an honest mistake, or something else.

My guess is that this all originated with some guys getting off the ride and commenting on what would happen “if” someone stood up. We ALL thought it because the speed combined with all those tunnels certainly captures the imagination.
 

Because of that potential image,  I didn’t need the lap bar or any restraints to convince me to “Sit on it”.   :^) 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Buckeye Brad said:

I have a memory of reading a newspaper article (in the late ‘80s) on coasters or coaster safety that made a passing mention to this Beast decapitation story.

 

Interesting.  Any idea if it was a local article or something printed through AP?

On a related note, I personally can recall a large article on coaster safety that appeared in Popular Mechanics in the 1980's that featured coaster accidents.  It covered, in great detail, information about the West Edmonton Mall Schwarzkopf derailment, the Lightning Loops incident etc.  I still have it somewhere in storage.  When I was a teen, that article was the trigger for me to understand that those sorts of tragic stories sell.

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On a hunch I dug though some old papers and found it.

USA Today, 1988

The pictures are out of order but the entire article is there. The section in question is highlighted.

5436173D-C20D-4117-BFAE-2F93D14BCDC1.jpeg

988CE636-D6A4-46DF-AFB1-E934591B95B4.jpeg

D152E6A6-4DDB-4852-8A9F-899DCAFFBC62.jpeg

AC92D872-231F-41B3-ADB1-E973A67316E2.jpeg

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I did when I was a kid. 
My dad would save them for me too.

In the pre-internet days we had to be creative and observant.   :^)

It’s not a big collection, maybe 20 or so articles and brochures I stuffed in a tote between other newspapers about the Reds and Bengals championships.

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Re-reading this article, there are all kinds of errors and exaggerations:

-Beast being a “white” coaster

-Ninja being the latest coaster “twist”(8 years after the first suspended coaster)

-Racer being the USA’s only dual tracked coaster (Colossus is even mentioned later in the article, not to mention Rebel Yell, Gemini, etc)

-100 million riders on Arrow coasters in 1987? That sounds off by a few...

 On the other hand, the Louisville Sporting goods guy they interviewed sounds legit. We should track him down and get the real story  :^) 

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11 hours ago, Shaggy said:

I once had a barber SWEAR he was at KI in the late 1980s on the day The Bat crashed into a concrete pillar, fell off the track, and killed people. 

Could he have been thinking of the Mindbender accident at Galaxyland? It happened in the 80s, it crashed into a concrete pillar, it partially derailed, and it killed 3 people. That sounds very similar to what he was describing. Weird that he insisted that happened at KI and specifically on The Bat though.

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Cool find @Buckeye Brad. It is amazing that USA Today would have so many errors in one of their articles. Especially with KI's PR team. USA Today could have gotten the correct info with a simple phone call. 

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One would think that Kings Island PR would have demanded an immediate correction.

Maybe someone with access to USA Today back issues (microfilm at a library perhaps) could look at issues from the following days and see.

I’ve seen so many errors in coaster articles and TV news over the years that have always made me cautious about believing everything I see. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, coaster sally said:

Did what the OP said actually happen?  The only evidence so far is a newspaper article from a respected publication.

It definitely didn’t happen.

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Disclaimer:

I’ve never believed that this incident was true in any form. I posted the article to make the point how easy it is for these stories to spread, even in the mainstream news. Just making that clear as this thread develops.

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Yeah, its pretty evident there was mis-information in that USA Today article.  I'm glad it got shared, because its a good example of how the press can misconstrue their reporting about parks.

Bottom line, there's no factual information that any such thing ever occurred on The Beast.

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2 hours ago, Buckeye Brad said:

Disclaimer:

I’ve never believed that this incident was true in any form. I posted the article to make the point how easy it is for these stories to spread, even in the mainstream news. Just making that clear as this thread develops.

@Buckeye Brad you should bring that article to coasterstock q&a.

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I acknowledge the misinformation in the USA Today article, but "a man killed riding The Beast when he stood up and hit a tunnel wall" is an odd line to just insert without any facts attached... unless the author was being incredibly irresponsible and reciting a rumor he heard and was assuming as truth? The Colossus death he referenced is based on fact, and it's also odd that the following line in the article references the Consumer Products Safety Commission and its data... which is a factual, reliable source.

I tried finding any additional information on CPSC's website, but it seems that most of their data shared is for 1987 onward... that USA Today article is from 1987, which means the supposed incident was likely 1986 or earlier. The oldest injury statistics report on the site is from March 1995, but the link is unfortunately wrong and takes a user to information on bathtub and shower injuries. And a search on Newspapers.com isn't turning anything up.

It's just a bizarre statement to make and I wonder if it's irresponsible reporting based off rumors, irresponsible reporting getting rides mixed up (and if so, which one it was)... or actually true?

Edit - I was able to get in touch with someone who worked at Kings Island's First Aid / Fire Department from 1980 onward. He doesn't remember there ever being a death on The Beast, which puts a lot of weight to the journalist getting their facts wrong. I'm still very curious if that accident occurred on a similar ride or what though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Fox News tells bigger lies every hour than that USA decapitation story so my advice is to take everything with a "grain of salt".

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/12/2021 at 11:22 AM, Shaggy said:

Perhaps the story is confused with another?  In the 1980s a young teenager did get partially decapitated on a coaster at Kings Dominion when they stood up on the Galaxi.  It made national news.

Holy crap! I feel like partially decapitated is worse than fully decapitated.

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On 4/13/2021 at 11:14 PM, TombraiderTy said:

I acknowledge the misinformation in the USA Today article, but "a man killed riding The Beast when he stood up and hit a tunnel wall" is an odd line to just insert without any facts attached... unless the author was being incredibly irresponsible and reciting a rumor he heard and was assuming as truth? 

That happens fairly often, even in major publications. Last year, LIFE published a JAWS retrospective with a sidebar perpetuating an oft-stated myth that a shot of the little boy (Alex Kintner) being devoured by the shark was removed because "Spielberg thought it was TOO terrifying to be in the film."

In actuality, the shot IS in the film, the majority of it at least, albeit as a "blink and you'll miss it" rapid fire shot, and while the actual CHOMP didn't make it into the film, there is little evidence to suggest it was trimmed for violence (in the shot, the boy was portrayed by a mannequin, so lingering on it would make it less scary, not more -- plus the scene is quite horrifying as it is). However, Spielberg DID comment on trimming down the pond scene (where the fisherman, who is quickly dispatched in the film, is dragged in the shark's jaws, spewing out blood towards Mike Brody) because it was too gruesome and "in poor taste." But since the myth has been told so much, it's often been presented as bonafide fact.  (Cue narrator voice: "It isn't")

I imagine this sort of thing also happens with the KI ghost stories and sinking Vortex myth. 

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