Unspeakable Times
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The Euthanasia Coaster - The Killer Roller Coaster You’ve Never Heard Of

Updated September 23, 2021 270.8k views12 items

Even the scariest roller coasters have a low risk of causing amusement park deaths, regardless of what some thrill-ride detractors or official records say. Safety is always the priority when planning and constructing a roller coaster meant to thrill, terrify, and entertain people - well, except in the case of one killer coaster.

The Euthanasia Coaster is the brainchild of a roller coaster designer and artist named Julijonas Urbonas. The idea behind the coaster is to kill thrill-seekers in a painless experience intended to also bring them joy in their final moments. Though never constructed, the coaster's design had enough details and planning to give insight into its operation. It's possible to decipher how the coaster would theoretically work, and why it is perhaps more humane than other methods of euthanasia.

  • Photo: RicHard-59 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    It Was Designed And Made Into A Scale Model As A Pitch In 2010

    Lithuanian artist Julijonas Urbonas constructed a "kinetic sculpture" model of his idea for a Euthanasia Coaster in 2010. He designed the device to assist those wishing to end their lives by providing an allegedly euphoric way out. Urbonas consulted with Dr. Michael Gresty of the Spatial Disorientation Lab at Imperial College for the specifications, as well as Paulius Vitkauskas to create the model. 

    A full-sized Euthanasia Coaster would drop its rider 500 meters (over 1,600 feet) before sending them into seven back-to-back loops. The coaster would then hit 100 meters per second (nearly 224 miles per hour), and reach g-forces of 10, causing loss of oxygen to the brain, unconsciousness, and death. Urbonas pitched the concept as art and a solution to overpopulation.

  • It Was Made To Deprive The Brain Of Oxygen

    Pointing to the g-forces and sense of euphoria experienced by pilots for mere seconds at a time, Julijonas Urbonas believed the more-than-1,600-foot drop would put riders "close to... terminal velocity" before stopping and leaving them "supported by an air pillow." The first of seven 360-degree loops would come next, pushing on the rider's organs and making breathing more difficult. Each successive loop would intensify the pooling of blood in the lower extremities and decrease oxygenated blood in the brain. 

    After one or two times regaining consciousness, the rider would die and take on the remaining loops as "insurance":

    The rest of the ride, six or five loops, proceeds with your body being numb, ensuring that the trip ends your life. You die, or, more accurately put, your brain dies of complete oxygen deprivation, a legal indicator of death in many jurisdictions.

  • Photo: Julijonas Urbonas / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5

    Experts Theorize Riders Would Be Sick, Not “Euphoric,” Before They Died

    According to neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, the coaster's design is not guaranteed to provide a painless, euphoric final moment for its riders. He argued they would instead suffer "nausea and discomfort" through the drop and loops of the ride.

    Further, Damasio described the piece as "not fun at all as art, and... preposterous as a technical device. Curiously, it does work as provocation, regardless of intent. So be it. Mostly it is sad, sad, sad."

    Dr. Peter Saunders of the UK-based organization Care Not Killing added:

    The life of a human being cannot ever be taken "humanely with elegance and euphoria"... and with this method the last sensation would more probably be one of overwhelming vertigo and fright.

  • Someone Created A Video Showing What It Would Be Like To Ride The Coaster

    Video: YouTube

    Building the Euthanasia Coaster would venture beyond questionable taste and budget. As Laura Secorun Palet of Ozy pointed out:

    The Euthanasia Coaster would be more than three times the height of the world’s tallest roller coaster, the Kingda Ka, which took 18 months and $25 million to construct.

    Instead, several individuals created computer simulations of the coaster and uploaded them to YouTube. After all, even if the attraction were real, no one who rode the Euthanasia Coaster could review it afterward.