|English: The 1/500 scale model for the Euthanasia Coaster, a hypothetical roller coaster that kills its passengers, made by Julijonas Urbonas, on display at the Trinity College in Dublin during the HUMAN+ exhibition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|Low-resolution photograph of the scale-model of the Euthanasia Coaster, a concept by Julijonas Urbonas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Julijonas Urbonas has designed a euthanasia coaster which is a roller coaster that is designed to kill its riders. Perhaps going out with a thrill might be better than being hung, electrocuted, or shot, but this is certainly a crazy concept for someone to sit around and concoct. Who in the world would come up with such a crazy idea as this? Well, I suppose I might.
When I was young I feared riding roller coasters. At about age six I would watch my younger sister, who was four or five, ride amusement park coasters with my mother while I cowardly stayed behind with my father who was no fan of thrill rides. I felt equal parts of embarrassment and envy as I looked on as she seemed to have no problem with the big scary looking rides. Maybe she was too young to be afraid. Keep in mind this was in a time when there were more lax attitudes toward safety issues. No height or age restrictions on roller coasters and no seat belts in cars.
By the time I was nine or so I felt brave enough to venture onto the Giant Dipper Coaster at Belmont Park in San Diego. After that I was hooked on roller coasters. I would face each ride with a sense of trepidation, but would leave with the exhilaration of the accomplishment after the ride was over. Riding roller coasters and thrill rides became something I would look forward to when summer came each year.
After my family moved to East Tennessee when I was starting high school, roller coasters were essentially a memory for me. There were no amusement parks nearby with a big roller coaster. But my memories often took me back to the fun I had riding that coaster in San Diego--the only coaster I had ridden so far in my life at that time.
When I was in college and often spending leisurely mind-meandering hours with friends, our conversations would at times go off into crazy thinking and my imagination could easily wander into the realms of the absurd. A roller coaster pipedream was one of the wilder thoughts my mind would revisit many times.
My friends and I would spend a great deal of our free time driving and hiking through the nearby Great Smoky Mountains. I developed a real love of those mountains and the spectacular scenery. Somehow at sometime I began to envision a roller coaster that would be built through the Smokies--a ride that would combine thrills with beautiful scenery and go for forty miles or more and last for a couple of hours. This would be an ultimate roller coaster unlike anything humankind had ever known. A wild and crazy yo-yo of a trip up and down mountains through a seeming endless expanse of forest.
Of course I was only focused on the thrill involved and not taking into consideration ecological issues. I was seeing no incongruity of a roller coaster traversing one of the more visited and more beautiful of the national parks of the United States. It was one of those deranged notions of youth. Essentially unproductive conceptually, but promising a great deal of jolting speedy excitement.
Or would a roller coaster like that kill you? Thinking back on this fantastic notion I realize that a roller coaster ride lasting for an hour or more could be very taxing to the body and the mind. There would be no getting off a ride like that once it got started. If the riders didn't die from that sort of a ride they probably would be in great pain.
On the other hand there have been people who have participated in marathon coaster experiences in order to win a valuable prize. If those people survive that experience, why couldn't people also survive a multi-mile coaster through the mountains of a national park?
Oh, the crazy dreams we have sometimes. Some of you might say, "Dreams you have!" pointing at me. Okay, I concede I get some crazy ideas at times. But a euthanasia coaster? I never thought of that.
Not intentionally at least.
Do you like roller coasters and other thrill rides? What is your favorite coaster or thrill ride? Had you heard about the "euthanasia coaster"? If you were going to be executed would you rather ride the death coaster or would you prefer another method? What do you think about a roller coaster ride through a national park or some other extended coaster experience?