Faces Of Death (1978) Movie Script

Paging Dr. Neil.
Paging Dr. Neil.
Dr. Anderson, room 381.
Dr. Anderson, room 381.
Dr. Philips, report to ICU.
Unfortunately, medical science
cannot always have success.
The moment death occurs,
my expertise is called upon.
When this organ ceased to function,
the result was death,
the one reality we cannot avoid.
I'm Dr. Frances Grss.
I work as a pathologist.
And over the past 20 years, I've compiled
a library of the many faces of death.
My travels have taken me
all over the world,
searching for the various situations
that have dealt with our ultimate end.
I've seen with my own eyes
a myriad of experiences
that have led me
to greater awareness of the living.
We have developed a world
that refuses to recognize our own destiny.
Many years ago,
I was plagued
with a recurring dream.
There were only two faces that I could
recognize - a young woman and a priest.
Everything was quiet
and the funeral seemed endless.
I had no reason for this dream.
It had resembled nothing
I had ever experienced within my lifetime,
just the constant
images of death,
existing within a silence
that would not respond to my questions.
I knew that this dream marked a beginning,
the beginning of journey
that would take me around the world
in search of an understanding of death.
My friends thought me
compulsive and insane,
while others said
I was a distorted fanatic.
You will be witness
to what I have discovered.
May you be the jury, but your verdict
will be one of self-conviction.
I know what I have witnessed.
Now it is your turn.
Prepare yourself
for a journey into a world
where each new step may give you
a better understanding of your own reality,
for I am sure you will gain a new
perspective from the many faces of death.
Mother Nature had a surprise for those who
died in the town of Guanajuato, Mexico.
When families could not afford to pay the
rental fees on their loved ones' grave sites,
the dead were exhumed,
revealing that they had been mummified
due to the rich minerals
in the earth.
Men, women and children -
their faces frozen with the final vision.
As I studied these mummies,
I had the feeling that each one
had a different story to tell
about their own death.
Death in sport is another area
I explored during my visit to Mexico.
Like a modern-day gladiator,
a matador's fame
will be determined by
the quickness of his sword.
In another part of this country, I discovered
what could be the most brutal sport of all.
Set in clandestine meeting places
because it is illegal,
pit bull trainers face their dogs
against each other in a battle to the death.
Trained from puppies,
these animals are bred to kill.
A dog fight can last
as long as two hours.
Bets are made
at the beginning of the brawl,
and a trainer can make
as much as $5,000 from a single bout.
A pit bull is capable of surviving
at least five fights within its violent lifetime.
If this appears inhumane, remember,
these animals know only one way of life.
They have been conditioned by man
to declare war on their own kind.
The Amazon jungle
in South America,
one of the last natural frontiers
left on the planet Earth.
Even in this untouched magnificence,
death becomes a mandate of survival.
As I observed
the various creatures of this jungle,
I realized that nature
has endowed each inhabitant
with its own special equipment
to survive.
There is no shelter
for the weak.
Territorial rights
must be observed.
One wrong move
can easily end in death.
When a creature becomes prey in
this wilderness, there is one conciliation -
death occurs in a matter of seconds
and nothing is wasted.
There is a continual balance
that must be maintained in the jungle.
The death of one creature
ensures the existence of another.
Deep within the Amazon basin exists
an Indian tribe known as the Jivaros.
Totally content
within their domain,
these savages have existed
in a world isolated from modern civilization.
They have always fascinated me
because, for them, killing on a daily basis
is their only means of survival.
And, like the animals who are
their neighbors, the Jivaros eat all they kill.
When the women began to make
a potion called chicha,
I knew my visit to their village
would soon be rewarded.
By mixing their saliva with manioc root,
an alcoholic drink is the result.
This marks the beginning
of a very special celebration.
For these Indians do not restrict
their hunting to only animals.
There is a greater trophy
that these warriors seek.
Their quest for revenge
becomes a gruesome ritual.
The severed head of an opposing warrior
ensures them respect
in a land known as the Amazon.
The country of Africa has its own code
of laws that expose another face of death.
During my travel through
the Serengeti plains of Africa,
I became intrigued
with a tribe called the Masai.
Meat for these people is a delicacy,
and the warriors in charge of butchering
the animal were eager to begin their feast.
I found their consumption of blood
an interesting prelude to their main course.
Living on a farm
in the Western world,
a human being chooses
a life of self-sufficiency.
This lifestyle may appear barbaric
to urban dwellers.
Unlike the Masai,
who celebrate the slaughter of a cow,
the death of an animal on a farm
is one chore among many
for this modern-day pioneer.
Watching this rooster writhe in pain
around the barnyard,
the woman assured me
the bird had felt nothing.
Since its death is so sudden,
movement is caused by a nervous reflex.
Viewing this whole process,
I began to question my ability
to survive under these same conditions.
If necessity dictated
that I become my own provider,
I think I'd choose
the life of a vegetarian.
But what about people
who don't live on a farm?
Those of us who live
within the womb of a technological society?
Our carnivorous needs
must also be fulfilled.
To meet this enormous demand,
Western culture has developed
the ultimate killing machine
to feed the hungry masses.
It's called the slaughterhouse.
Life in this profession
begins early in the morning.
The death-dealing process
is an all-day affair.
One of the more grotesque slaughtering
techniques is the method of koshering.
Blessed by a rabbi, then slaughtered
by his hand, the animal bleeds to death.
This is said to be
a purifying process,
but as the cow choked on its own blood,
I could only feel pity.
Since the demand
for this meat is limited,
only a small percentage
is killed in this fashion.
The average American consumes
In a typical month, slaughterhouses across
the country will kill nearly 3 million cows
and 385,000 lambs.
Each individual along the assembly line
has his own specialty.
Day after day, they continue to work
in this environment of death.
When the novelty wears off,
the workers inform me
their job becomes a simple routine,
a way to make a living -
nothing more, nothing less.
Do the animals know
they are going to die?
The men who kill them
claim they don't,
but when the machinery begins to rumble
and the conveyor belts start to roll,
sounds that expedite death
are heard by animal and man alike.
My travels have taught me that modern
technology does have one advantage -
as consumers, we're spared the process
and only deal with the finished product.
The Al Haram Restaurant
in the Middle East presented an experience
that I found most unique.
This restaurant is housed within
stone walls hundreds of years old.
From the moment patrons enter these
premises, they are treated like royalty.
The welcoming music
and finger chimes of the belly dancer
mark the beginning
of this most unusual dining adventure.
When the waiter appears carrying wine
and the special dining implements,
it is a sure sign our tourists will soon
begin the ritual which brought them here.
Feeling that the foreigners
were comfortable within his domain,
the waiter signaled
for the house specialty.
Good evening.
Here's to good food and wine.
As the monkey was brought down the hall
and a toast to prosperity was made,
the waiter presented the men
with their tools of destruction.
Look at that little monkey.
Why don't you touch it?
I know it will be great.
I can't believe this.
Secured in a special trap, the animal
was now ready to become the main dish.
Following a few simple instructions, the
men at the table were prepared for the kill.
No, no. Just use quick strokes.
Just use quick strokes.
- Hit him like that?
- It's easy.
Oh, my God!
That's all I have to do?
That's it.
After a matter of seconds,
the gruesome ritual had ended.
The skull was carved open
for the delicate brains inside.
While this continued, it occurred to me that
in the confines of this elegant restaurant,
people were paying exorbitant prices
to play the role of a hunter.
A definite ritual had been established,
and there was very little difference
between what I had witnessed in this
restaurant and the ceremony of the Masai.
The human being
was killing for celebration,
ready to devour
the animal slaughtered.
Throughout history, it was believed that
by eating the brains of this sacred animal
a new source of wisdom
would be inherited,
bringing those who ate this delicacy
closer to God.
I'm not eating this.
You don't have to eat anything
you don't want to.
Watching a living animal die
before their eyes
and then having to eat
the lifeless remains
caused amusing responses
from each of the tourists.
When I asked the man with the hearty
appetite why he enjoyed the meal,
he replied, "If I can get closer to God
by eating brains, why not?"
Excuse me.
I don't believe this.
The human reaction to death in this
particular environment was instructive.
Flavor became incidental,
taste totally ignored,
for the spiritual human mind
became the savior in this meal of death.
If none of you are going to finish this,
I want some more.
It would be another lifetime before
any of these tourists would visit here again.
The unparalleled beauty of the ocean
is a unique wonder among nature.
Life within this domain
appears sheltered from man,
but when the hunting instincts of man
are directed toward this environment,
the creatures of this world
have little protection.
The man who kills for pleasure,
to feel the power of a gun and nothing else,
is a dangerous threat
to the well-being of this planet.
A professional fisherman
hunts for another reason.
The sharks he kills will be used by society
for a variety of products.
The Pribilof Islands off the coast of Alaska
presented another kind of hunter.
Once a year,
these men work from sunrise to sunset.
They are contracted by the government
to crop their herds of fur seals.
This fulfils
two necessary functions.
Firstly, by performing their duty, a natural
balance is created in the seal population.
the pelts of these animals
provide a lucrative income
to the government.
The only thing I question
is their method of death.
Whether or not the seal feels any pain
is purely a matter of conjecture.
I am convinced that when
these animals are herded,
their instincts warn them
of their final destiny.
A warning which soon
will no longer matter,
as this island is transformed
into a battleground of naked carcasses.
When the sun set that evening
and the final herd was rounded up,
I then decided never to wear
the skin of an animal on my back again.
There is still one more hunter -
he who kills illegally for profit.
These men
are known as poachers.
The valuable skin of the alligator
can bring a high price on the black market.
Although this hunting is totally forbidden
by law because the reptile faces extinction,
these men will kill as many as 20 gators
in a single evening.
They are the murderers of nature.
Although poachers manage to escape
a great deal of the time,
game wardens across the country
are becoming more successful
in apprehending these criminals
who destroy creatures of the earth.
The government has developed
a method of providing society
with the alligators' precious skins.
Breeding farms
have been constructed
where these reptiles
are raised from infants.
Their growth to adulthood
will cost them their lives.
Channel 9 Action News.
I'm here today with Mrs. Ellis.
Mrs. Ellis, as well as
several other area residents,
are having problems with
what they consider to be a menace.
- Can you tell me about that problem?
- Yes, I'm very concerned.
We've got a big alligator off in that lake
and I'm really worried about it.
Mrs. Ellis, do you fear for the lives
of your children as well as your pets?
Yes, I do. The kids can't even
go swimming anymore.
- Is this your daughter, Mrs. Ellis?
- Yes. This is Lisa.
Lisa, how do you feel about going into the
water with a potentially dangerous animal?
Not me. No more.
The alligator seems to pose a threat
to most of the residents.
Animal control officers
have been notified, of course.
Calls like this
are becoming more frequent,
and again, today, I believe the animal
control officials will have their hands full.
- Did you call about a nuisance alligator?
- Yes, I did.
- Where's he located?
- He's over in those weeds.
- Over here?
- Yes.
- How large is he?
- He's gotta be at least 15 feet.
Thank you very much for the call.
Let's take a look right over here, OK, Joe?
This news story presents an ironic
conclusion to the story of the alligator.
Sometimes the reptile
gets his own chance at revenge.
Any good?
Move in on him.
- Oh, my God!
- Oh, my goodness! He's gonna kill him.
Oh, my God! Get him!
Don't drown.
Keep the film camera rolling.
I just can't believe it.
When the game warden
was pulled ashore,
his mutilated body
represented a violent retaliation
from a creature which has suffered
continual abuse from mankind.
Get 'em outta here.
Give me the blanket. Give me the blanket.
Here, here.
Where's the ambulance?
A man hired to defend the alligator lost his
life to the creature he was trying to protect.
This time, when given the chance,
the alligator became the hunter.
John Wilkes Booth.
James Earl Ray.
Lee Harvey Oswald.
Sirhan Sirhan.
La Salle, France. 1968.
There was another member that
I neglected to add to the list of assassins.
Franois Jordan.
One of the unique characteristics of man
is that he is the only animal on earth
that kills for greed.
I had the unusual experience
of meeting the individual responsible
for the assassination
you have just witnessed.
His weapons are the tools of his trade,
while his aim brings him his wealth.
My name is Franois Jordan.
I'm a hired assassin.
When I kill,
it is for business,
not for political,
nor even social value.
But there is
another kind of killer -
the human being
who murders for no apparent reason.
This person
is placed in a situation
where violence
is the only means of dealing with reality.
There are no judgments or morals
behind the crime.
It is an eruption of repression
that manifests itself
by causing the deaths of others.
On July 10, 1973,
Mike Lawrence went berserk.
This remarkable footage is a classic
example of a man's mind that snapped.
We've trapped him up in the house.
I want you guys to go under.
You try and throw the tear gas
along there, OK?
- Come on out.
- Make it easy on yourself.
- No. I'll kill you!
- Come on out with your hands up.
After several hours, Lawrence's
one-man revolt was finally defeated.
But Lawrence was not the only victim
that died on that summer afternoon.
Get outta here.
Come on, move out!
What caused this man
to murder his family?
Is our society to blame?
Perhaps there is a Mike Lawrence
in each of us,
ready to explode
when the time is right.
The primary responsibility of
the county coroner of Los Angeles County
is to investigate and inquire
the circumstances surrounding deaths
of a sudden and unexpected nature,
or by homicide,
by suicide, by accident
or presumed natural causes,
but a diagnosis has not been determined.
This responsibility
is clearly written
by state statute.
The Los Angeles County
coroner's office.
open, for death has no time schedule.
The law states that
when a person is suspected of dying
by other than natural means,
or if death occurs
without medical attendance for 20 days,
the coroner's office must investigate.
Coroner investigators in the field
handle as many as 40 cases per day.
Once their initial inquiry into
the victim's death has been completed,
they accompany the body
to the morgue.
After registering weight, height
and fingerprinting,
exploratory x-rays are conducted.
This homicide victim
had been involved in a gang war.
In this particular case,
after a total x-ray scan,
the bullet that caused death
was located.
The cadaver is then placed
in the hands of forensic pathologists.
These men are medical doctors
who conduct autopsies
determining criminal responsibility
in a death.
As I walked around, I was reminded of
words written by the late Luther Easton.
"In a world with no sound,
their cries go unheard.
"The reality of life
becomes totally absurd.
"The counting of time
is considered a crime.
"And the money one earns,
not worth a lone dime.
"So here they will lie
for the rest of the night.
"Their bodies remain still
in darkness and in light.
"But don't be afraid
for it will happen to you.
"When all will stop
as your body turns blue."
I'm not really sure
why these words came to me.
Perhaps it was from
my feelings of sadness.
I had witnessed many young people
in the prime of their lives
the victims of sudden death.
Obviously it was their time to die,
but was this their destiny?
Had their fate been preplanned?
Did any of these people ever know
they would die by violent means?
Now it was too late.
By the time they would leave this morgue,
the mystery of their death
would have hopefully been solved.
Not all death can be identified
through autopsies.
If the forensic pathologist is still unsure
of the cause, technology intervenes.
Specimens of tissue
are prepared for microscopic study.
What may be missed by the eye will be
discovered by intense magnification.
Aided by an electron scanning microscope,
computers can analyze human tissue
and identify the source of a weapon
used in a crime.
The embalming process is another area
that cannot go unnoticed.
By injecting the body with fluid,
the pathologist is given the gift of time.
Because the workload is so immense,
some victims may have to wait weeks
before their case is solved.
With a preservatory fluid injected,
the cadaver is then refrigerated in
an environment of 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
Having witnessed
the entire process of this institution,
I began to wonder about the people
who comprised the staff.
Being a pathologist,
I am used to the autopsy routine.
But in my work, the patient dies
of natural causes or a specific disease.
The role of a doctor in
the coroner's environment differs greatly.
He is witness
to the atrocities mankind creates.
Intrigued by this kind of pressure, I asked
Dr. Noguchi how he views his own death.
He replied that, for him,
life on this planet is a transitory stop
for the spirit moves on after death.
After thinking about
this man's answer,
I understood how he maintained
his own sense of balance.
A few days after my visit there, I questioned
whether I would suffer a violent death.
Knowing full well that I had little control
over this decision,
it occurred to me how short life really is,
how little control we really have.
In 1974, Larry DeSilva brutally raped
and then murdered an 84-year-old woman.
After a lengthy trial, he was sentenced
to death by means of electrocution.
Because of the general outcry
against the inhumane method of hanging,
the electric chair was the next step
in the development of capital punishment.
Its premier was in New York
during the year 1890.
Larry DeSilva would soon join the list
of criminals that have died in this fashion.
It's time.
DeSilva told me he had read about
the method that would take his life.
When I asked him if he was afraid,
he looked at me and smiled.
But when the guards led him down
death row to the execution chamber,
DeSilva seemed nervous
and totally disoriented.
He finally told me
he was scared to die.
When I asked him if he ever thought about
this possibility as he murdered the woman,
he replied, "All I wanted was her goddamn
wallet and the bitch gave me a hard time."
DeSilva's history in crime
was a lengthy one.
At 34, 17 of those years were spent
in and out of penal institutions.
Beginning with petty theft,
DeSilva finally committed a crime
which would cost him his life.
Good luck, Joe.
Goin' straight to hell right out, man.
Goin' straight to hell right out, man.
The process is simple.
The victim is placed in a chair
where electrodes are attached
to his leg and head.
These two areas are sponged down
beforehand with a brine solution
to conduct electricity.
Strapped to a seat that you will never leave
alive is a situation that I still cannot justify.
A man on death row is in a continuous
battle with time and bureaucracy.
When both fall into the proper alignment,
the condemned knows that death results.
During the final preparations,
those of us watching this man
could feel the fear
being transmitted from his body.
Even though he committed
an inexcusable crime,
I began to wonder
if two wrongs really make a right.
His eyes are taped to prevent them
from popping out of their sockets.
The next step
is the flick of a switch
which sends a current of 2,000 volts
through the victim's body.
Then the current is brought down
to 1,000 volts after a few seconds.
By this point,
the man is unconscious
and the whole process
is repeated as many times as necessary
until the prisoner is proclaimed dead
by the physician on duty.
The room began
to smell like burning flesh.
After a brief examination,
we all knew there was more to come.
The final trickle of blood marked
the conclusion to this grotesque execution.
How much longer will we be
plagued by violence within society
is a thought
I've often pondered.
If this is the only solution,
humankind must stop and question
the whole meaning of justice.
This footage was shot by a Canadian
tourist while on vacation in the Middle East.
I decided to include this
in my study
for it portrayed a barbaric method
of dealing with the criminal.
To this day, I still don't know
the crime this man committed.
It would be curious to know whether
his act was worthy of the judgment.
The one redeeming factor
of holding a public execution
is perhaps it is
a deterrent to crime.
But is that any justification
for execution?
Most people have a desire to gain power
and a better understanding of life.
Religion helps center a person,
supplying answers to the unexplainable.
There is also another alternative for
those seeking answers - the world of cults.
Cults offer their followers
four basic prizes -
a sense of identity, discipline,
knowledge and power.
To attain these levels, each cult has its own
doctrine of laws that must be followed.
On the outskirts
of San Francisco,
a cult existed that promised
its members immortality.
I had heard rumors
about their ceremony.
They believed
the power of everlasting life
was found in the internal organs
of the dead.
After spending weeks searching
for these people, I finally met their leader.
As he explained his beliefs and methods,
I realized I was dealing with a maniac.
After lengthy discussions,
he allowed my crew to film his cult.
He reasoned that it was time for the world
to understand the true path to immortality.
Brothers and sisters,
we have before us a gift.
A gift that is gonna let us
outlive and outlove
any and every
human being on earth.
Bless our souls so that
we may be cleansed and freed forever.
Bless our souls so that
we may be cleansed and freed forever.
This is ours.
This is ours, people.
Feel it. Come on.
Come on.
Touch it.
Touch it.
we are free,
we are there
and we are beautiful.
Go on.
Come on.
Oh, yes!
Their gruesome ceremony
culminated in an orgy.
Even if they had
the answer to immortality,
I felt a great sense of evil
among the members of this group.
From my viewpoint, they were dangerous
individuals whose minds were controlled.
Throughout the hillsides of Kentucky
and Tennessee exists another strange cult.
They call themselves
the Holiness Branch of the Church of God.
Their frightening ceremony is based upon
the actual words from the Bible
found in the 16th chapter of Mark.
"And these signs
shall follow them that believe:
"in my name shall they cast out devils;
"they shall speak with new tongues;
they shall pick up serpents;
"and if they drink any deadly thing,
it shall not hurt them;
"they shall lay hands on the sick,
and they shall recover."
At the height of the ritual, the handlers of
the snakes, or "saints" as they are called,
reach a trancelike,
almost hypnotic state of mind.
At this point, confessions are made
and those who have sinned are purged.
The power of belief was the key ingredient
in this bizarre situation.
Although we may be
the most intelligent creature on this planet,
we are also the most inconsistent.
To find peace within our existence
we sometimes create
a logic that endangers our lives.
Allow me to quote
this cult's basic prayer.
"Once I was a drinking man.
"Once I was a sinner with women.
"But it doesn't matter no more.
"If the serpent bites me today.
"It won't matter
'cause I can get salvation in the Lord.
"Amen and hallelujah."
Later that day, a member
of the congregation died of a snake bite.
I wonder what happened to the Lord
at that moment?
I'm sure their faith
masked any disbelief.
Does a full moon affect
the psyche of a human being?
On the evening of April 22, 1977,
it may have had some effect
on Mary Alice Brighton.
- Which floor is it?
- Sixth.
She's going. She's going.
It's definitely sixth.
In 1978, 35,000 people committed suicide
in the United States,
a rate of 12 per 100,000.
Of the many faces of death I have studied,
suicide is the most perplexing.
Often it has occurred to me that with all
our technical advances in the medical field,
the motivations behind what causes
the human being to take its own life
has still remained a mystery.
There are also those
who seek immortality.
Cryonics clinics have been developed
to meet this demand.
Within 24 hours after
Samuel Berkowitz died of cancer,
his body was prepared
for cryonic suspension.
Once all his blood
had been drained,
a balanced salt solution
was flushed through his circulatory system.
This process completed,
Mr. Berkowitz was now ready
to be connected
to the perfusion apparatus.
A glycerol solution
was placed into his body.
This reduced the freezing damage that
would occur and prevent cell deterioration.
By freezing the dead,
doctors are able to preserve the body
so that sometime in the future,
when a cure has been developed,
the deceased may be
brought back to life.
This procedure can be quite costly.
Just be sure
you provided money in your will.
Since ancient time, man has been
interested in physical survival
and has attempted
to preserve human remains.
The first man
was frozen ten years ago.
Since then, hundreds of others
have chosen the same path.
TRANS TIME in Berkeley, California,
are cryonic specialists.
They sincerely believe
the dead they preserve
will be brought back to life
at a later point in time.
Imagine what it would be like to die in 1980
and wake up one hundred years later.
If science is successful, the future will be
inhabited with humans from the past.
After being placed in a sleeping bag
and wrapped in a special plastic casing,
Mr. Berkowitz was now ready to be housed
in his capsule filled with liquid nitrogen.
From this point on, he will be encapsulated
in an environment 320 degrees below zero.
Good luck, Mr. Berkowitz.
For those who drown in the wilderness, the
chance of seeing the future is very unlikely.
For this unfortunate victim, life ended
when he decided to enter the ocean.
Drinking at a beach party,
a short dip in the water
would have hopefully
brought back some sobriety.
Numbed by the liquor, he was caught in
a vicious undertow which cost him his life.
I find this kind of death
particularly tragic.
It is caused by sheer stupidity.
Often we do things
which later we regret.
Through situations such as this,
I am further able to understand
the fine line between life and death.
When it is a person's time to die, the forces
of nature have little discrimination.
This young man
was at the prime of his life.
Maybe he took too much for granted.
The human being is always seeking
a new sense of excitement.
As the urban dweller turns to
the wilderness to discover different thrills,
accidents and even death can result.
- He's up there.
- When did this happen?
- About 45 minutes ago.
- Let's go. Let's get him out of there.
In this specific case, two boys from
a nearby city decided to explore a cave.
When one of the boys fell off a cliff,
a sheriff's rescue squad was summoned.
As the sheriffs searched the cave,
they informed me
that accidents like this are not unusual.
Even when people realize the danger
inside these environments,
their natural curiosity often blinds them
to the obvious hazards.
Having to rescue the inexperienced
spelunker is the real hazard.
When a person falls
in this kind of situation,
the danger is shifted to the rescuer,
for they must climb to parts of the cave
where nobody goes.
After listening to these professionals,
I grew to admire them.
They have made the commitment
to save the lives of others,
even if it meant
their own death.
The boy had fallen
about 90 feet.
As the sheriffs rappelled down,
I wondered if they too
wouldn't someday suffer the same fate.
Inexperience is a major cause of death
within the wilderness.
Once a person enters an environment
that is potentially unsafe,
he increases the odds of getting seriously
hurt if he doesn't know what he's doing.
I decided to include this story
in my study
because it supports
an unusual human motivation.
Some people place themselves
in precarious situations
even when they're aware of the risks.
Could this be caused
by a latent death wish?
I don't know the answer.
I only know many meet their end
when it could easily be avoided
by using some common sense.
Unfortunately for the victim, this cave
would be his last foolish adventure.
When he fell,
he broke his neck.
Hiking in the mountains is something
I occasionally do to find peace of mind.
Away from the city,
I am able to reflect about my life
and make decisions
about my own future.
But even in this realm of natural solitude
lies another face of death.
Each year, thousands head
to a higher altitude to escape the smog.
Creatures that live in this terrain will often
take advantage of the innocent vacationer.
Although they may appear
docile and tame,
one wrong move
could cause a vicious attack.
Honey, get out some bread.
Let me throw some bread. Come on, bear.
Oh, this is great.
This is great.
Come on, bear.
Look at the size of him.
Come on, over here.
Over here.
The footage you are viewing
was shot by two tourists
who happened to discover the same bear
in a national park.
Here's some bread.
Here's a little more bread.
Want some more bread?
Here's more.
Like that?
Honey, be careful.
Here we are, take some bread.
Here's some bread.
And here's some more.
You want some more?
Bob, be careful.
Be careful, Bob.
Bob, be careful.
Oh, my God!
I find this to be
a particularly unusual face of death,
for the incident occurred
through total ignorance.
It seems to prove a point that perhaps
we're not as intelligent as we think.
Sitting in our comfortable homes, living
in surroundings that meet our every need,
a world of total incubation
provides a perfect way of life.
No matter how safe this may appear,
we still have very little control.
A natural disaster can destroy this planet
at any given moment.
At present, scientists have discovered
When the earth decides
to spew out its molten lava,
death and destruction
are the usual result.
When it begins to rain, the human being
has a tendency to become retrospective.
Memories of the past
blend with hopes for the future.
In 1972 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania,
there was one major problem -
the rain wouldn't stop.
Residential sections were totally destroyed
as floods created millions of dollars worth
of damage and left hundreds dead.
When a tornado and a lightning storm
attacked a small town in Mississippi,
a dual natural disaster was created.
Fire would consume
what the giant twister didn't destroy.
The next day, after the storm passed,
a whole town had been devastated.
Those who survived
had to start from the beginning.
They had no plans
of moving to another area.
This town was their home and they would
rebuild and restore their community,
knowing full well
a new tornado could one day return.
When man tries to harness
his natural resources,
he faces a whole new area of disaster.
When a gas line burst in a giant high-rise,
an uncontrollable fire resulted.
The victims who were trapped
had only one route of escape.
Perhaps the greatest disaster of all
is one that man has created himself.
If nature doesn't destroy the environment, it
is very possible that the human being will.
No more nukes!
No more nukes!
No more nukes!
No more nukes!
No more nukes!
Nuclear energy was thought to be
one alternative to a cleaner environment.
But when radiation began to leak
from a plant at Three Mile Island,
conservationists proclaimed
technology had created
one of the greatest threats
to human existence.
One man thought
he had the answer.
Bob, radiation reaching max on unit 2.
Terminate all units immediately.
Shut down.
By far the greatest crime
committed by mankind is war.
No one will ever know the exact number
of people who lost their lives
during the four years this planet
became the stage for World War II.
When the Japanese launched
a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor,
the United States
chose to enter a war
that would soon introduce the world
to the ultimate horror of technology.
During this time, the world
was also confronted with Nazism.
Based upon doctrines of Adolf Hitler,
the country of Germany, with the aid of
Italy, prepared itself to take over the world.
One man was determined
to change the course of history.
By manipulating human emotions
through fear,
Adolf Hitler sent his troops
on missions of destruction.
The human mind
is an extremely fragile piece of machinery.
When proper psychological methods
are employed,
the most passive
can become the most aggressive.
As the Germans moved through Europe,
the pain of defeat was experienced by all.
Allied forces soon began to halt
the Nazi progression.
Faced with continuous defeat,
Hitler soon lost control not only of his army,
but also of his mind.
The threat of Nazism
was soon erased.
The threat of Nazism
was soon erased.
Only a legacy
of a distorted prejudice remained.
The capacity to hate
is a frightening human reality.
We are always ready
to blame another
if the circumstances can free us
from our own self-guilt.
Hitler found his guinea pigs
in the Jews.
He believed the world would be
a better place if they were annihilated.
His solution
was the concentration camp.
Six million Jews were murdered.
One man had engineered the most
effective killing environment in history.
the first concentration camp was liberated.
Time may heal many wounds.
I wonder if this kind of atrocity
will ever happen again.
Those that survived the Holocaust
believe that it will.
This face of death
is by far the most devastating.
Helpless people were murdered
like animals in a slaughterhouse.
I personally don't know
if this kind of situation could repeat itself,
but if it does,
we all deserve a life in hell.
The greatest killer of all is disease.
Thousands die on a daily basis
from an assortment of illnesses.
The common rat has preyed on man
throughout the centuries.
The carrier of bubonic plague,
this rodent has caused more death
than all the wars in history.
The vampire bat has made its own
contribution to the world of disease.
This blood-sucking creature is one of
the many carriers responsible for rabies.
The disease centers on
the nervous system, causing paralysis.
The victim eventually chokes to death
on his own saliva.
Another fertile ground
for numerous diseases is poverty.
Even though medical science
has discovered cures to many illnesses,
those who cannot afford
the life-saving serums
can only hope their death
will be swift and painless.
When a cholera epidemic broke out
in India, hundreds of thousands fell victim.
When medical supplies ran short,
the untreated waited patiently for death.
Without food,
the human being could not exist.
Malnutrition eventually leads to
one of the most painful forms of death -
With the ever-growing problem
of overpopulation,
the demand for food around the world
can no longer be met.
Unfortunately, this painful reality
has become a way of life
for the people of Biafra.
There is a modern-day plague
which medical science is currently battling.
It is a disease called cancer.
Since this disease is able to attack any part
of the body in many different forms,
research centers have been set up
across the United States
with the hope of finding new cures
to this dreadful plague.
The Rigler Research Center at UCLA in
Los Angeles, California, is one such center.
By conducting surgery
on cancerous dogs,
doctors hope to find new cures
for treating the human being.
This particular animal
has terminal cancer.
In this operation, surgeons will place
a special monitoring device
inside a blood vessel
which leads to the liver.
By studying the flow rate
and volume of blood,
doctors may gain a better understanding
of how cancer destroys this organ.
The results of this operation
will be discussed by a board of scientists.
Hopefully, the knowledge discovered
may bring the world one step closer
to curing this particular form of cancer.
Modern technology
may someday find a solution,
but many of us believe
technology may also be the cause.
Pollution, cigarettes,
the water we drink,
the preservatives in our food
may all be contributors to cancer.
Could it be that cancer
is a man-made disease?
Is this nature's way of warning us that we
must stop and reevaluate our existence?
While disease fighters continue
their explorations into the medical causes,
their findings may proclaim a sociological
change within society is necessary.
If this occurs, a new respect
for both the planet and our own lives
will create an end to a disease that causes
the death of loved ones each year.
The advent of modern transportation has
made the world accessible to every person.
The advent of modern transportation has
made the world accessible to every person.
Man has developed different sports
to take full advantage of his travel toys.
Since many of us have yearned
for the gift of flight,
the sport of skydiving was introduced.
Jumping thousands of feet
dependent upon a parachute
is the risk one takes
if he wants to fly.
there is also the chance of death.
This accident occurred at an airshow
in the Western United States.
The man plummeted to earth from 2,000
feet when his parachute malfunctioned.
I wondered what thoughts ran through
this man's mind as he fell at 80mph.
Doctors later informed me
the man suffered a painless death
for he had slipped into cardiac arrest
before hitting the ground.
After playing this accident back
in slow motion, I disagreed.
It appeared the skydiver
struggled throughout the fall,
trying in vain to prevent
his destined outcome.
This nightmarish death made me question
the role of cautionary measures
necessary to prolong life.
After pondering this possibility,
I realized that no matter how cautious I am,
if it's my time to die,
it doesn't matter if I'm walking down
the sidewalk or jumping out of a plane.
Even in the world of make-believe,
the use of transportation vehicles
can end in disaster.
When a film crew was preparing
to photograph a special car stunt
for a new action-adventure movie,
an unexpected accident occurred.
What was to be a routine stunt
ended in disaster
when a safety cable malfunctioned.
- Camera.
- Rolling.
Hell Raising.
Jesus Christ!
Get him outta there.
Keep rolling. Catch it.
Keep rolling. Catch it.
The driver suffered internal injuries
which resulted in his death.
In the routine work of a stuntman,
the dangers faced daily
are like doing a tango with death.
These daredevils fall off cliffs,
jump from moving cars
and perform any stunt
which makes an actor appear fearless.
Those who work in this environment
have an interesting perception of death.
They believe their job
is as safe as anyone else's
because they are all
carefully trained professionals.
Unfortunately, it was his equipment
and not his expertise
which determined
this man's untimely end.
An ironic conclusion to this tragedy
is that months later,
when the movie was released,
the director decided to include
this sequence in the picture.
The only change - the character
who supposedly drove the car
left the vehicle unharmed
and continued his escape by foot.
One of the many alternatives in the realm
of transportation is the locomotive.
This unexpected accident occurred when
the engine of a passenger train exploded,
causing all the other cars to derail.
Rescue crews
worked feverishly to free survivors.
As blowtorches
burnt through the twisted metal,
lifeless parts of bodies
were all that remained.
The modern traveler
makes a choice
each time he decides to enter
the domain of public transportation.
Although accidents on the rail systems of
the United States are relatively infrequent,
when they do occur, the chance of survival
becomes questionable.
Each year, more than 53,000 people
lose their lives
on the highways
of the United States.
Since this is the most common
means of transportation,
the death rate is also the highest.
When death is caused
by these machines,
When death is caused
by these machines,
the witness can suffer
extreme psychological damage.
In this accident, a woman was riding her
bicycle when she was hit by a semitruck.
Crushed by its heavy wheels,
her body became unidentifiable.
Staring at her remains, I couldn't help
but think that human technology
has once again
created a monster.
Speeding and carelessness
have been the basic code
of most drivers
around the world.
The woman who died in this accident
wasn't even driving a car.
How long will it be before the pedestrian is
banished from the sidewalk and the street?
Since the Wright Brothers
invented the airplane,
the entire planet has become a vacation
ground for those who can afford the fare.
The pilot of this plane
had just been certified.
To celebrate his new achievement,
he took three friends up in a rented aircraft
to show off
his newly acquired skill.
He began doing stunts -
nosedives and huge turns.
In the midst of one of his stunts,
he was going at such an excessive speed,
he ripped the wing off the airplane.
Losing all control,
the small plane crashed in a nearby field.
Arms and legs were strewn
throughout the wreckage.
Nobody survived
this particular stunt show.
We all wish to be recognized
and respected by our peers.
When we turn to our machines to gain
this recognition, as this young pilot did,
disaster is not an unlikely ending.
Abuse can sometimes introduce
the human being to the final curtain.
This certainly was the case
for this novice pilot and his friends.
Lindbergh, PSA182.
PSA182, Lindbergh Tower.
Traffic twelve o'clock.
One mile. A Cessna.
OK, we have it there.
There we go.
How far will you take it in when 182 comes
and traffic's waiting for departure?
- Probably about three to four miles.
- OK.
PSA182 clear to land.
- Tower, we're going down. This is PSA.
- We'll call the equipment for you.
On that warm September day,
there were no survivors.
A commercial 727 airliner
collided in the sky with a light plane
and both came crashing down
in a residential section of San Diego.
Many of those who witnessed the crash
and the aftermath which followed
are still to this day
under psychiatric care.
Living through this nightmare
is an experience one cannot easily forget.
When a woman heard the crash
and went to her door,
a body came flying through the window,
covering her in blood.
It would be a long time before the people of
this area would ever board a plane again.
From the massive impact,
bodies were strewn in every imaginable
area throughout the neighborhood.
The stench of the dead turned this
peaceful community into a virtual morgue.
Screams could be heard
as new victims were discovered.
Viewing the bodies
mutilated beyond recognition,
I had the painful realization this disaster
could be the most gruesome face of death.
Throughout my studies of death,
there was still one theory I had neglected -
the concept
of life after death,
where the deceased had left
this realm and the physical form,
but their souls had remained.
Skeptical of this whole concept,
I went in search of a situation that might
prove the existence of one's immortal soul.
Joseph Binder's remarkable story
presented the perfect situation.
My name is Joseph Binder
and I'm an architect.
About eight months ago, my five-year-old
son Mark was hit and killed by a car.
After that,
about three weeks later,
my wife Diane
committed suicide.
It was a very emotionally rough time for me
and I thought
I was gonna go mad.
But after a few months,
I had begun to pull myself together
when this house
just turned into a living nightmare.
A living nightmare? What was it that
caused Binder, a perfectly sane man,
to hear chilling sounds
echo through his house
or suddenly view
an apparition in human form?
These incidents brought me to the next
step in verifying this man's testimony.
With Binder's approval,
I brought in specialists -
two men trained in the field
of supernatural phenomena.
Utilizing the most sophisticated
equipment available,
the parapsychologists
wasted no time.
They set up their machinery
around areas in the house
where Binder had reported an attempted
communication by his wife and child.
Even with their equipment,
the professionals resorted to techniques
developed by ghost hunters
of centuries past.
Flour spread on the floor was still the best
method of preserving a ghost's footprints.
After two weeks of waiting,
the dead had chosen to end their silence.
Sensitive parabolic microphones
began to record Binder's lost family.
Cameras photographed
apparitions of two ghosts,
while recorders captured
their haunting sounds.
The flour revealed footprints
of an invisible being.
It was now time to bring in a medium,
a willing soul that would allow Binder
to communicate with
the people he missed and loved.
Are you ready, Mr. Binder?
Then let us proceed.
Your hands.
Everything is fine.
I left too soon, Joe.
I tried to make contact with you.
I thought it was you.
But I'm still not sure. Is it you?
The white rose, the one you gave me
the night we found out I was pregnant.
Oh, Diane, I love you.
I love you, Diane.
Daddy. Daddy.
Oh, my God! Mark?
Daddy, I'm scared.
I don't know where I am.
I miss you.
It's OK, Mark. I miss you.
It's all right, Mark.
It's all right.
When I studied the pictures that were shot
of the ghost of Binder's wife and child,
I began to reexamine
my whole outlook on death.
I realized that when we die,
it really isn't the end.
Somehow, I feel the soul in each of us
remains a traveler forever.
During the past 20 years, I know that
my compulsion to understand death
was much greater
than just an obsession.
My dreams
had dictated my mission.
But now it is time
to witness the final moment,
to discover a circle
that forever repeats itself.
The end of the beginning,
or the beginning of the end?
I'll leave that decision to you.