9. Forensic scientist performed twelve hanging experiments on himself… and eventually died from complications of his vocal cords.
Mostly remembered for his research on connections between tattooing and criminal behavior, as well as his meticulous study and self-experiments on hanging, Nicolae Minovici was a Romanian forensic scientist and criminologist who served as head of his country’s anthropometric service. He performed not one, not two, but twelve hanging experiments involving himself as the subject. At first, he put the noose around his neck while lying down and had an assistant put tension on the rope. He then moved on to full suspension by the neck.
Ultimately, he attempted suspension with a slipping hangman’s knot, but the pain was too great for him to continue. He could not swallow for a month. Minovici was determined to surpass the world record set by Dr. Fleichmann of Erlangen, who in 1832, self-asphyxiated for two minutes. Unfortunately, he didn’t even come close to break the record, but this didn’t stop him from publishing in 1904 a 200-page book titled Study on Hanging. There, he described his near-death chokings that led to the appearance of flashing lights, anesthesia, heat sensation in the head, memory loss, mental disorders, and most notably, “excitation.”
Unfortunately for Minovici, his research got the best of him. Minovici died in 1941 from an illness affecting his vocal cords. Many believe his constant experimentation and asphyxiation weakened this area. He died a bachelor, bequeathing his estate, including his home, which was built by architect Cristofi Cerchez, and a collection of Romanian folk art to his country. His home is now an ethnological museum.