Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Be the Pumpkin: Human Hurling Trebuchet (Don't try this at home)

Reminder: there are only 87 days until the 3rd Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival on Sunday, October 2nd, 2011.
There was a club in Oxfordshire,
Who wanted humans to fire,
They built a large trebuchet,
Then flung people for play,
Sadly, one poor soul did expire.

This Dangerous Human Trebuchet from Oxfordshire, England was profiled on a MythBusters episode. The episode, number 35, entitled Border Slingshot, was shown during season 3, and premiered on July 27, 2005. MythBusters tested the following myth:
Is it feasible to fly over the frontier? In this episode, Adam and Jamie take on the myth that illegal immigrants are firing themselves 200 yards across the border and into the United States with a slingshot so accurate, it can land the human projectiles safely on a carefully placed mattress. Border patrols are reportedly baffled — can the MythBusters' handbuilt human-sized slingshot solve the puzzle?
Annotated MythBusters:
In 2000 the Dangerous Sports Club launched Stella Young by trebuchet. She hit the net, then bounced onto the ground, breaking her pelvis. In 2002 a 19 year-old died in his attempt to repeat the stunt, missing the net entirely.

The 'Border Slingshot' myth by the way was busted.

The Dangerous Sport Club website adds more details and photos regarding Stella Young's brush with death and other human hurls. However, they do not mention the poor chap who was killed? You would think that information might be provided as part of a full disclosure on the risks involved.

"Scaredevil Stella: Plucky Dangerous Sports Club member Stella Young"

Stella Feeling Anxious

Travelling at 50mph, Stella begins to exit the arc

There was a woman named Stella,
Who wanted to prove she was not yella,
She got hurled long range,
By some folks deranged,
Now poor Stella's pelvis is jella.
This crazy club is still asking visitors, "Are you extreme enough to have a go?"

So, do you feel lucky pumpkin chuckers? Do any of you want to be the pumpkin? No thank you here. Pumpkins serve just fine as trebuchet projectiles.