Home » 5 Insanely Dangerous Theme Park Rides You’ll (Thankfully) Never Experience

    5 Insanely Dangerous Theme Park Rides You’ll (Thankfully) Never Experience

    Cannon Coaster

    Theme park fans are often adrenaline junkies, willing to ride all manner of extreme roller coasters and thrill rides. In the process, their bodies are thrown from side-to-side, exposed to extreme g-forces and dropped hundreds of feet at faster-than-freefall speeds. But it’s all completely safe.

    Every now and then, though, somebody devises an attraction that goes beyond simulating danger, and is actually dangerous. Sometimes, common sense kicks in and the concept is canned before it is even built. Other rides close almost immediately when it is discovered that they pose a risk. However, some death trap rides have managed to operate for years before finally being put out of their misery.

    Let’s take a look at 5 examples of insanely dangerous theme park attractions that you’re fortunate you’ll never experience…

    5. Cannon Coaster

    Cannon Coaster

    Image via Westland.net

    The amusement parks of New York’s Coney Island helped to establish the popularity of roller coasters and other amusement rides in the United States. They hosted a variety of unique and unusual rides – but 1902’s Cannon Coaster stands out as being by far the most ridiculous.

    George Francis Meyer’s design included a gap in its track. The idea was that the train would leap over it, in a thrilling effect that had never been attempted before. Had the park managed to pull it off, the ride would have simulated the “car leaps canyon” seen in innumerable action movies since.

    Mercifully, the “leap the gap” concept was never tested with humans. The train was run through the circuit loaded with sandbags, but several crashes resulted. In the end, the Cannon Coaster opened with the gap filled in. That didn’t stop it being popular, with urban myths of fatalities during the test phase helping to ensure its popularity.

    4. The Giant Bullet

    Giant Bullet (1)

    Here’s one Victorian amusement park design that (thankfully) never became a reality. Dreamed up my Monsieur Charles Carron of Grenoble, France, the Giant Bullet would have seen 15 riders dropping almost 1,000 feet inside a 30-foot-long bullet. At the bottom, this would land inside a champagne-flute shaped, 180-foot-deep well.

    Carron’s invention was covered in an 1891 issue of Scientific American, which described it thusly:

    Mr. Charles Carron, an engineer at Grenoble, has analytically studied the conditions in which the punctuation of the water by such a shell would be effected, and the reactions that the passengers would have to support. The conclusions of this study show that there is nothing, either theoretically or practically, opposed to its construction and to its operation in falls reaching three hundred meters. The accompanying figures give the general aspect of such a shell capable of accommodating fifteen passengers falling from a height of 300 meters…The passengers would be securely seated in arm chairs that exactly followed the contours of their body.

    Giant Bullet (2)

    So, at least you’d have been seated in comfort as you fell to your probable death.

    3. Revere Beach Lightning

    Revere Beach Lightning

    The Revere Beach Lightning was the brainchild of renowned designer Harry Traver. Opened in 1927, it was the first in a trio of similar coasters that were designed to combine sudden drops with sharp, high-speed turns. Ironically, the coasters were known as the Giant Cyclone Safety Coasters – but would prove to be anything but safe.

    The unique layout was made possible by a hybrid steel structure, which enabled steeply banked curves and rapid transitions. Unfortunately, the 100-feet-tall Lightning quick became famous for all the wrong reasons. The first fatality occurred on just the second day of operation, when a girl fell from the train. Incredibly, after her body was recovered, the ride reopened just 20 minutes later.

    A string of other riders suffered serious injuries on the attraction. The phrase “Take her on the Lightning” became popular among young men, as an unconventional solution to an unwanted pregnancy.

    Following the Wall Street crash in 1929, maintaining the Lightning became financially unviable. Riders were saved from the agony that it caused by its enforced closure in 1933.

    2. The Human Trebuchet

    Human Trebuchet

    The concept of the Human Trebuchet at Middlemoor Water Park in Somerset, England was simple. A version of the medieval siege warfare machine was used to sling humans into a giant net, which would catch them safely.

    Unfortunately, the ride proved to be less safe in practice. In December 2002 a student fell short of the net and was killed. You can no longer ride this beast in reality.

    1. The Euthanasia Coaster

    Euthanasia Coaster

    Here’s one concept that only exists on paper: a roller coaster that is designed to KILL YOU. It is the brainchild of Royal College of Art PhD student Julijonas Urbonas, and is designed to give people a thrilling way of entering the afterlife.

    Here’s Urbonas’ description of his unique design:

    “Euthanasia Coaster” is a hypothetic euthanasia machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely – with elegance and euphoria – take the life of a human being. Riding the coaster’s track, the rider is subjected to a series of intensive motion elements that induce various unique experiences: from euphoria to thrill, and from tunnel vision to loss of consciousness, and, eventually, death. Thanks to the marriage of the advanced cross-disciplinary research in space medicine, mechanical engineering, material technologies and, of course, gravity, the fatal journey is made pleasing, elegant and meaningful.

    Euthanasia Coaster (2)

    Image: Justin Pickard

    The project was inspired by John Allen, once president of the famous Philadelphia Toboggan Company. He described the “ultimate” roller coaster as being one that “sends out 24 people and they all come back dead”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, theme parks are not lining up to take the Euthanasia Coaster from concept to reality