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Three Teenage Boys Accidentally Hang Themselves«»William Anthony Odem, Caleb Rebh, and Brian Jewell were just trying to make some kids cry from fright. The tears came, but not from the patrons of the haunted attractions employing the three.
In October of 1990, Jewell, 17, was working as part of a Haunted Hayride attraction in Lakewood, NJ when he decided to up the scare factor for patrons of the park. As part of his portrayal of a hanging victim, he was meant to stand on the gallows at the Hangman's Scene and recite a chilling speech to the carts that came by as part of the ride. Sometime during the night, the noose that was supposed to hang limply around his neck became cinched and choked the young man to death. He was discovered by a tractorful of patrons, dead, standing on the deck of the gallows.
Six days later, in North Carolina, 15-year-old Odem was working with friends in his aunt's home to construct a haunted house in the basement. Among the fake spider webs, cauldrons, and other Halloween milieu was a noose, meant to be strictly decorative. When Odem playfully slipped the noose over his own neck, it tightened and killed the boy.
Over a decade later in Sparta, MI, 14-year-old Rebh ended up in a scene that the Universe had worked very hard to keep him away from. Earlier in the day, his mother, Kathy, had taken the boy to a local horse farm to see about a job at a haunted hayride. The proprietor said he had filled all the positions and tried to turn the boy away. He begged both the man and his mother to stay, stating he would work for free. The two relented and he was placed in a coffin display and told to scare patrons.
Not satisfied with his performance at the coffin, he offered to switch with another worker whose display involved a plastic skeleton hanging from a noose slung over a small tree. In an attempt to be scarier, Rebh took the place of the skeleton in the tree, causing it to snap back suddenly and cinch the noose around his neck. A group of patrons went by as he was struggling to free himself, but took the display for a good show of acting, watching as his body went limp in the noose.
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