It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Feb 26, 2011

Students’ unsuccessful double suicide

Distributed Story

(April 1999) Two students were in love and engaged. Unfortunately all of the parents involved disapproved of the marriage. The parents had threatened dire measures if the students eloped. Caught in an impossible position of choosing between their love and their families, the students decided they would leave the world together.

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"Juliet" told her friend, a pharmacist, that she was having trouble sleeping before exams, and asked her for potent sleeping pills. The pharmacist secured for her a small bottle of pills, plastered with warnings, "Danger! Use strictly as directed! Do not operate a moving vehicle!"

The two lovers locked themselves in a friend's dormitory room and tossed the key out the window. They shared a bottle of wine, made love, and then took the sleeping pills and kissed each other goodbye. Half an hour later, they began to feel curious rumblings in their intestines. Soon they realized that Juliet's friend had given them laxatives, not sleeping potion!

There they were, locked in a small dorm room with the key ten floors below, and no toilets in sight!

The stench spread quickly throughout the building, alerting other residents. A security guard was summoned, who forced the lock and poked his face 'round the door. He quickly swung it shut, nearly overcome by the fumes. The unfortunate couple had to be rescued by the SWAT team, protected by gas masks. They were taken to the hospital and treated for severe dehydration.

It turned out that the friend at the pharmacy was alarmed by the request for sleeping pills with no prescription. She contacted the parents, who conferred with one another and realized that something had to be done. Thus, the outcome: the marriage was belayed, both students were suspended from college, and both sets of parents were relieved.


The story, which is almost exactly following the details of this urban legend, was actually created by a Russian writer Michail Weller, except for the colorful details of the reasons to come to the double suicide decision.  It was motivated, according to the author, by the historical suicide by Jenny Laura Marx (daughter of famous Karl Marx) and her husband Paul Lafargue, as the communist tales were the main source of the love inspiration in the Soviet Union. The ending of the story is also slightly different, when the boy leaves in shame while the girl slowly becomes close to the doctor who gave her the pills.

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Jenny Marx and Paul Lafargue Suicide

In 1911, the elderly couple committed suicide together, having decided they had nothing left to give to the movement to which they had devoted their lives. Paul Lafargue left a suicide note saying:

Healthy in body and mind, I end my life before pitiless old age which has taken from me my pleasures and joys one after another; and which has been stripping me of my physical and mental powers, can paralyze my energy and break my will, making me a burden to myself and to others. For some years I had promised myself not to live beyond 70; and I fixed the exact year for my departure from life. I prepared the method for the execution of our resolution, it was a hypodermic of cyanide acid. I die with the supreme joy of knowing that at some future time, the cause triumph to which I have been devoted for forty-five years will triumph. Long live Communism! Long Live the Second International.

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Lenin spoke at their funeral in Paris. Krupskaya said that Lenin told her, "If one cannot work for the Party any longer, one must be able to look truth in the face and die like the Lafargues”.

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