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-   -   Belly dancer strangled by ceiling fan (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=55658)

snopes 09 January 2010 06:08 PM

Belly dancer strangled by ceiling fan
 
Comment: I heard that a belly dancer in Ann Arbor, MI died by
strangulation due to her scarf getting caught in her ceiling fan at home
while she was practicing a dance. Supposedly in 2001.

JoeBentley 11 January 2010 12:36 AM

Ceiling fans really aren't that powerful. Even heavy duty ones you can stop with your bare hand.

Closest thing I can think of is the infamous death of dancer Isadora Duncan, who got her trademark long scarf caught in the rear axle of a convertible and was violently pulled from the vehicle. But that was a very different scenario, on an entirely different continent, and many decades ago, unlikely to be misheard as a contemporary story such as the OP.

purpleiguana 11 January 2010 02:00 AM

Questions that immediately spring to mind.

How low was the fan?
How tall was the dancer?
How long was the scarf?
Did the dancer throw the scarf in the air while it was still wrapped around her neck?
Was the scarf wound around the dancer's neck in some complex way that, once trapped in the fan*, would be impossible to get out of?
Was no one available to render assistance?

I could add more, but then it would start getting silly.

Singing in the Drizzle 11 January 2010 03:34 AM

The only way I could see it working with typical ceiling fan. Would be for her to stand on something. Then tie scarf around neck and a the other end to the fan. Once that was done, step off what ever she was standing on.

Ceiling fans do not have power to pull with much force, even if scarf got stuck in one.

AzureLion 11 January 2010 03:42 PM

Do belly dancers routinely dance with scarves wound tightly around their necks? I've seen them dance WITH scarves, but not WEARING them, at least not in the manner necessary for the scenario presented in the OP.

I can't even imagine a scenario where a scarf would get tangled up in a ceiling fan in the first place without being deliberately placed there (it would have to wind up and around a blade, otherwise the fan would just push it back out), but even if this happened, a loosely worn scarf would just be whipped off the dancer's body.

Casey 12 January 2010 12:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snopes (Post 1129791)
Comment: I heard that a belly dancer in Ann Arbor, MI died by
strangulation due to her scarf getting caught in her ceiling fan at home
while she was practicing a dance. Supposedly in 2001.

Consider it found in the wild- 1000 Ways to Die, episode 17, Way #146

It's an interesting show. This could be possible, but just barely.

AzureLion 12 January 2010 02:03 AM

Are any of the deaths on that show real, though? I'd guess some of them are, but they've also featured this:

Quote:

A woman suffers from SUNDS (Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome), and dies in her sleep from cardiac arrhythmia, brought on by an intense nightmare she could not wake up from.
...which kind of makes me doubt the veracity of anything else they've featured.

GalateaDancer 12 January 2010 03:02 AM

Do they mean a veil? Because I've never met a belly dancer who wore a scarf as part of their ensamble. Veils are usually 3 yards long, although there are some talented individuals who rock the 4 yard veil quite nicely.

If they are talking about a veil, I would doubt the story strongly. Veils are props, meant to be swished around and manipulated. If the dancer did place it around her neck, it would be done quite loosely, so it could be easily removed and danced with more.

I've never gotten my veil stuck in a ceiling fan, but I did once knock loose one of the blades on one with my cane while swinging it at a gig. :-o

Morrigan 12 January 2010 03:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AzureLion (Post 1131545)
Are any of the deaths on that show real, though? I'd guess some of them are, but they've also featured this:



...which kind of makes me doubt the veracity of anything else they've featured.

Yes, some of the deaths they've featured are real. They featured a death by radium poisoning/induced cancer. Which was real. In the 1920s-1930s, many woman who worked in radium painting factories died from cancer after ingesting radium. Check out the book "Radium Girls" for more info.

Pammierose 27 April 2010 10:36 PM

1000 Ways To Die!
 
Casey,

I saw that same 1000 Ways To Die show and I can tell you there is no ceiling fan of that kind, that would have held her weight.;)

Pammie

tigerkissed_qt 11 July 2011 10:15 PM

I am a belly dancer and my Mama Belly was dancing with a veil in a restaurant and got her veil caught in a ceiling fan while dancing, it ripped it from her hands and wound into the fan jamming it from moving until they were able to detangle it after hours. I suppose it could be possible if the veil were wrapped around the body to some degree that it could get sucked up enough and in such a way to get the dancer tangled in it enough in a position that put pressure on the throat that they could be "hung" and unable to free themselves from it if alone and suffocate. I don't think it's possible for it to literally lift her from the ground though.
Veil dancing could certainly produce a position that could lead to this happening, it is common to twirl and wrap it around the body in between motions.

crocoduck_hunter 12 July 2011 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morrigan (Post 1131620)
Yes, some of the deaths they've featured are real. They featured a death by radium poisoning/induced cancer. Which was real. In the 1920s-1930s, many woman who worked in radium painting factories died from cancer after ingesting radium. Check out the book "Radium Girls" for more info.

They've also had blatantly false deaths, too, like the Tanning Bed Death.

Cervus 13 July 2011 01:04 AM

Due to a gross misjudgement I made when remodeling my house, the blades of the ceiling fans in my bedrooms are only a foot above my head. The light fixtures give 3 inches of clearance. I've hit my head, hands, and even hair on the fan while dancing in the front bedroom. The master bedroom is larger, so I have a little more room to move, but I neglected to think about male friends who might visit. I have one friend who's 6'5" and can barely enter the front bedroom because it's so small and the fan is so low.

Cyrano 13 July 2011 06:57 AM

Was the story (if untrue, as I think it is) inspired by the death of Isadora Duncan?

(Yep, I see Joe Bentley said it before me)
http://www.bukisa.com/articles/14766...isadora-duncan


Quote:

She was known for wearing flowing gowns, dancing barefoot, and wearing long, flowing scarves.

Unfortunately, a scarf was to be her undoing. In 1927, while she was riding as a passenger in a sports car, the scarf she was wearing somehow became entangled in one of the back wheels of the car. She was pulled from the car and dragged behind for several yards; her neck was broken by the force. She died instantly
I'm no expert on ceiling fans, but it would take a very strong motor to strangle someone. Most of the ones I've seen turned quitle slowly, and could be stopped by hand.

crocoduck_hunter 13 July 2011 06:39 PM

Most of the ceiling fans I've seen don't appear like they could support the weight of an adult human female, either- either the whole fan could become detached from the ceiling or the blade would bend or snap off under the strain.

Ceiling Fan 14 July 2011 12:37 PM

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of this thread, but I just couldn't resist:

IT WASN'T MEEEEE!


:fish:

Alarm 14 July 2011 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ceiling Fan (Post 1494207)
I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of this thread, but I just couldn't resist:

IT WASN'T MEEEEE!


:fish:

Do you have an alibi?

chillas 14 July 2011 03:03 PM

Yeah, she was awfully quick to deny it, wasn't she? Say, Ceiling Fan, can you account for your whereabouts on the night in question?

Mad Jay 14 July 2011 03:18 PM

My guess is she was hanging around, shooting the breeze

Alarm 14 July 2011 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chillas (Post 1494292)
Yeah, she was awfully quick to deny it, wasn't she? Say, Ceiling Fan, can you account for your whereabouts on the night in question?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mad Jay (Post 1494312)
My guess is she was hanging around, shooting the breeze

Get the lanterns and pitch forks and let's have us an old fashioned unruly mob!


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