The first person to actually do it was Robert Emmet Odlum. Here is part of his story, crazy as it is.
Robert Odlum, the first man to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, to prove that people did not die simply from falling through the air.
The first person ever to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge was Robert Emmet Odlum. Robert had no intention of committing suicide; he simply wanted to show that a person does not die from falling through the air.
He did this to encourage other people to jump into nets when trapped in a burning building. Besides this, he desired fame and money, which served as additional motivations for his deed. Unfortunately, he did not survive the jump.
Robert was eager to perform a jump from the newly built Brooklyn Bridge, so in 1882, he sneaked to an unfinished part of the bridge. Before he could perform the stunt, the police caught him and sent him back to Washington. Three years later, he finally succeeded in his plan.
On 19 May 1885, Robert went back to New York well prepared. The NYPD was well aware of his plans, as the story of Robert’s intentions had spread throughout the city in the weeks leading up to the event. They tightened the security on the bridge, but Odlum managed to create a distraction. He sent his friend James Haggart to the bridge in a cab while he was hiding in another car. James served as a decoy for the police, pretending that he was the jumper. While the policemen were busy with the fake jumper, Robert stepped out of the car he was hiding in. Already in his swimsuit, he jumped off the bridge at 5:35 pm, before the eyes of a witnessing crowd watching from a boat.
Robert fell in the freezing water at a speed of approximately 60 miles per hour. He hit the river surface at an angle, hitting it with his feet and hip. The disastrous outcome of the jump was caused by the strong wind blowing at the time. The lifeguard, who had been hired by Odlum himself, failed to act, so Paul Boyton jumped into the water and took Robert’s body out. After he was taken to the boat, Robert regained consciousness for a short time, asked if the jump was good, and became unconscious again. Blood started flowing from his mouth, and he died at 6:18 pm from internal hemorrhaging. The ambulance summoned by his friend did not arrive in time to save his life. The coroner stated that Robert’s liver, kidneys, and spleen were ruptured and 3 of his ribs were broken. It was concluded that concussion was the official cause of death. Robert was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Like I said, I think it was a crazy idea and the man had to be a little unbalanced to even try it. Still, folks are still trying insane stunts in this day and age. No accounting for some folks action. If yo want to read more of this guys story, you can find it at this link.
Coffee inside again this morning. Temps are still too uncomfortable to be outside.