Joe, Toren, and Kevin take a look at plummeting to your death (and other outcomes) from heights both great and ridiculously small. We go from history’s Gemonian Stairs to the 1912 Eiffel Tower “Parachute Coat” incident to the most impressive falls from planes in recent memory including Alan MaGee, Nicholas Alkamade, and  Vezna Vulović. All this plus a Public Service Announcement on how to survive a bungee jumping accident and pop-culture most memorable falls!

Plus: a special Celebrity Lesser of Two Evils recorded with skeptic-musician George Hrab! He’s not here for the whole episode but we managed to catch up with him while he was in Vancouver to ask him to choose between two horrible fates!

Music: “Everything Alive Will Die Someday” by George Hrab




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Showing 21 comments
  • Neil

    You guys gotta do a podcast on “squirrel suites”. See them on youtube. Neil

    • Joe

      This would have been the topic for squirrel suits but this is Caustic Soda and we don’t cover “whoah, cool” we cover “whoah, gross… and cool!”

  • curtis

    In pop culture, homer simpson falls… a lot. especially into Springfield Gorge.

  • Derek

    What a great ep, guys! It seemed like such an innocuous title too – very amusing and interesting though.

    The first thing I thought of was those first few pages of the Watchmen when the Comedian gets chucked out of his apartment window. Great opening scenes to the film too. I guess there are plenty of films/stories/comics/etc where someone falls out of something (Jackie Chan comes to mind), but those shots of the smiley badge with drops of blood over it kinda stuck in my mind.

    The next thing that occurred to me, when you were discussing the 50% child mortality rate was a story I heard on a RadioLab episode, which, as it turns out, was also about falling, but in a variety of forms (not just literal): There was a small segment about a report by a New York (?) vet about cat injuries they had seen over the years. They found that the worst injuries in cats that had fallen out of windows were from between 4 and 9 floors (I think), and the injuries lessened below that range and, notably, above that range. They’d had cats fall out of the 42nd storey of a building who suffered a fracture and a sprain or two, but had just about walked away. They hypothesised it was to do with cats flipping in the air and maybe gliding a bit like squirrels. Fascinating story anyhow.

    With regard to the Lesser of Two Evils, I wonder whether forcing you to pick a piece of music that you absolutely love might make it all the worse, essentially forcing you to loathe the piece before you finally lose your mind. I think, for me, the worst music I ever heard was a mixtape a kid in my boarding house made, consisting of 10 second snippets of random songs, one after the other, for the full 45 minute side of a blank tape. Listening to that until I went mad wouldn’t take very long.

    Anyway, I’m sure I thought of more things to mention while listening but they’ve left my head for now. 🙂 Will post again if I think of them.

  • Derek

    Oh, the humanity! I just watched that first clip of the guy in the parachute jacket. That just looked like a giant sack being thrown off the tower. Sheesh!

    And now that I’ve seen the second clip, I’m not sure the woman looked out of the lift any time – she walked in looking at the back of the lift, turned to her right, pressed the close button, adjusted her hair in the mirror walls, pressed the close button again and then the doors closed, at which point the doofus in the chair runs in to the door. Frankly, at the speed he was going, if he did make it into the lift he would have run her over – he was, as we say in parts of Australia, “fangin’ it”. Absolute prat to then charge the doors a couple more times. The words “hoisted”, “petard”, “own”, “on” and “his” come to mind.

  • Marek

    Czech here… Oh, come on, Czechs speak russian?! 😀 Even during Czechoslovakia, we spoke Czech or Slovak here (hence the Czechoslovakia thing)… Your accent could do with a bit of Czech lessons… 😛

    • Derek

      You heard his Australian accent? 😉

    • Toren Atkinson

      Hey I’m not disagreeing, what’s my first lesson?

  • Apwoz
  • Taylor

    I bought Dredd the last time it was referenced on Caustic Soda. Ive enjoyed it over and over and over again since.

  • Jon Paynter

    One of my favourite shows was the Sarah Silverman Show and they have an epic fall scene – yes, even God can fall down!

    • Jon Paynter

      Sorry, it was the Sarah Silverman Program, not show.

  • Pavel Lishin

    I’m surprised you left off Felix Baumgartner – the man who broke the soundspeed barrier while diving from the edge of space. Not particularly caustic, since nothing awful happened to him, but still seems worthy of being mentioned in the news segment.

    • thickets

      We’ll talk about him when he dies from necrotizing fasciitis

  • Phav Nosnibor

    If anyone woke up this morning and thought “I’d love to play a computer game on this bright and sunny Sunday morning, but I just can’t think of one that involves much falling”, there’s always Stair Dismount, the entire point of which is to throw a man down a flight of stairs and see how much damage you can inflict. ( There have been subsequent versions for smartphones that add all kinds of nutty and improbable levels to the mix, but nothing quite matches the purity of the original, and its grunts and shrieks are wonderfully evocative.

  • Derek

    If we can pick our own experience of madness for the Lesser of Two Evils, can I pick how that Pyro guy from the Psychosis episode has? That looked like fun. 🙂

  • Jaytheist

    I think this movie is worth a peep and an honorable mention as it hinges on whether the protagonist takes the plunge:

  • Derek

    Not sure what source the guys used, but I found this on Dick Wertheim:
    It states he was a linesman, which would imply he’s just watching the line and not the umpire so wouldn’t be on the tall chair, however it states he was in a chair when he was hit. In any case he fell backward and smacked his head on the ground, never woke up and died several days later. Although his family sued the USTA for over $2m, it was overturned on appeal, so I don’t know if they got much, if anything.

  • funkyjulia

    When you mentioned “that guy with eight legs”, I immediately thought of Yagrum Bagarn from Morrowind. Am I a video game nerd or what? Anyway, I was surprised you didn’t mention Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole.

    • Derek Weber

      +1 for Alice in Wonderland — an excellent book. 🙂

      And of course there’s the sperm whale from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (books, radio plays or the tv series, if you please, not so much the movie).

  • Robert Foster

    Just listened to this – great episode. Talking about falling in Ancient Rome, they had an actual rock that they used to do executions!

    Also, re:movies, I was surprised Disney movies didn’t come up. The falling trope is used to kill off almost all of their villains.