Until recent years a free fall in space of any considerable distance was always the result of either an accident or an attempt at self destruction. Since these falls invariably ended in instant death, it was impossible to get any information as to the subjective sensations experienced. It was assumed that a fall of more than 100 feet produced unconsciousness, and it was even thought by some that death occurred before the ground was reached.
The development of the parachute and its use by aviators exploded these theories and it was soon established, by accident at first, that a free fall in space produces neither unconsciousness nor death. This fact was capitalized by individuals who made delayed parachute jumps as an exhibition before public gatherings. Other delayed parachute jumps have been made unintentionally in which the jumper had difficulty locating his ripcord or other similar troubles. Unfortunately, the subjective mental
ARMSTRONG HG. SUBJECTIVE MENTAL AND PHYSICAL REACTIONS TO A FREE FALL IN SPACE. JAMA. 1935;105(14):1107–1110. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760400023006
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