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13 Historical photos that will strike fear through your heart

11. The Falling Man



One of the more intimate photos of that fateful day (which is now taught in schools as a historical event) is this image of a man who would come to be known only as the Falling Man. Perfectly vertical, the man, whose identity has never been verified, falls to his death from the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

That morning, at least 200 people jumped or fell to their deaths trying to escape the smoke and fire, and the series of 12 photos showing a close look at this man’s final seconds has attracted criticism from people who found it disturbing. It probably always will be. But the most anyone will ever know about this photo is that it was taken at 9:41 A.M. on September 11, 2001 by Richard Drew of the Associated Press.

There are some guesses as to who he might have been (Norberto Hernandez, a pastry chef at a restaurant on the 106th floor, or Jonathan Briley, a sound engineer from Mount Vernon, New York) but no one will ever know for certain. The only truly certain thing about this haunting photograph is that it memorializes the final seconds of one human being, and that is something that is not often captured on film.



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