How Clothes Have Killed

– [Narrator] You’ve all heard
the phrase beauty is pain, but what about beauty is death? (lighting strikes) (upbeat music) Beginning in the 1730s and
through the 19th century, mercury was used in men’s felt hats. Think top hats. The mercury was brushed onto rabbit fur to help it form that felt feeling. One big problem. Mercury is toxic. Hella toxic. It’s literal poison. Sadly, the most common victims were the hat makers themselves since the lining luckily
protected the hat wearers. If you didn’t die, mercury had some other
lovely side effects, paranoia, tremors, and tooth decay to name a few. Ever heard the phrase, mad as a hatter? Yeah, now you get it.
(electricity sizzles) Arsenic was once used to dye dresses, stockings and artificial flowers a brilliant green color. Sadly, as with the hatters, the people dying the garments
were often the most affected. In 1861, 19-year-old Matilda Scheurer, who made artificial flowers, died in spectacular fashion
from arsenic poisoning. She began to convulse, vomiting green bile. Not only had the arsenic reached her lungs, liver, and stomach, but her fingernails and the whites of her eyes turned green. (electricity sizzles) You’ve seen a hoop skirt. Think Scarlett O’Hara. Hoop skirts were large stiff garments expanded by, you guessed it, hoops. It seems glamorous, but for some, it down right deadly. In the summer of 1865, a young woman named Kate Degraw, was arriving home one night, and stepping down from her carriage. Suddenly, the horses became spooked, and started to run at full
speed down the street. Poor Kate’s skirt got caught
in the runaway carriage. And she was dragged two miles to her death before anyone could stop the horses. (electricity sizzles) When 42 year old Mary
Halliday of Niagara Falls mysteriously died in 1903. No one could figure out why. She was relatively young and healthy. Finally, an autopsy
revealed the cause of death, two pieces of corset steel
had pierced her heart. Doctors couldn’t figure out how long the steel had been in her body or how they had got there. Had she swallowed them? Stabbed herself? Had someone used the steel to murder her? No one ever found out. (electricity sizzles) The hobble skirt is popular
in the early 20th century, and was named for the way
the tightness near the ankles caused women to, well, hobble. As you can guess from the mere
name of this fashion item, it turned out to be a really bad idea. Not only did it literally hobble women, but it also caused several deaths. Like that of 18 year
old Ida Goyette in 1910. Ida was walking across a bridge when her hobble skirt
caused her to stumble. She teetered, losing her balance, and plunging over the bridge to her death. (electricity sizzles) Scarfs are elegant, chic,
and sometimes fatal. In 1971, a young woman
was wearing a long scarf while on a ski holiday. She jumped on a ski lift
to head up the mountain when a passing chair caught her scarf. She was ripped from her seat, and strangled to death hanging
from the moving ski lift. These deadly outfits
give a whole new meaning to the phrase fashion victim. (electricity sizzling) (upbeat music)


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