Between Two Hells

How does it feel, I wonder,

to go falling from a burning building?

Is there a moment,

twisting and turning in midair,

when you cry back for the

flames, the plummeting ceilings,

for life?

Take me back, I’ve changed my mind!

Do you beg the air to rush in reverse,

to carry you

up, up, up,

the way you came?

Or do you thank it

for delivering you?

God, what a choice.

Between the roaring building

and the approaching ground,

I think I would much prefer

the falling,

the short instant of flying,

that bout of time between


between two hells,

as you go descending into

the world.

Take me back,

take me back –

and it does.

falling man


15 thoughts on “Between Two Hells

  1. I have often wondered this…..and it made me think of the 9 11 people who jumped….this my lovely is very powerful. You have me hooked. Hugs Ceri. X

    1. Thank you Ceri, I’m so glad you liked it. And yes, it was based off those people who jumped during 9/11… it breaks my heart to think of them every time.

  2. It is part of the human condition that the more inexplicable an event is, the more we seek to provide a reasonable explanation for it. On 9/11 we assumed the hundreds of people who left the building via the windows jumped, and so we assume they must have had good reason to jump and so we assume the fires up there must have been, quite literally, unbearable.

    But as someone like Sherlock Holmes might have observed, their shirts and ties were clean, their faces were not blackened by smoke and soot, their clothes and hair were not singed. They appeared to have no burns or other injuries whatsoever.

    The fire fighters had never witnessed anything like it. Perhaps the older ones had witnessed one or two jumpers in their entire career – but only from a survivable height. One fire fighter described the scene at the WTC as “raining people”.

    People do not normally choose to leap to their deaths. If things get so bad in a fire that we decide we’d rather be dead then the chances are we’re already well on the way to being overcome by smoke or flames – in which case we’re already physically incapable of throwing ourselves out of a window anyway. And in extreme ‘life or death’ situations we are full of adrenalin and able to endure much harsher conditions, often feeling no pain at all until hours or even days later.

    Yet these ‘jumpers’ were not on fire, nor were they blackened by smoke. They looked like ordinary office workers on an ordinary weekday – except that they were falling through the air.

    One woman called her husband to say she was OK and that they were all wetting their clothes as a precaution and heading down the (intact) stairwells. Five minutes later she hit the pavement, having suddenly left the building via the window. Should we be asking “why”?

    Or take the case of Melissa Doi. She spent 4 minutes on the phone with emergency services. She was panicking because of the heat and the smoke which she said was everywhere, and she was complaining that she couldn’t breathe….. yet she did not cough once during the entire phone call.

    Here’s the recording of her phone call LINK

    Anyone who’s ever opened the door to a smokey wood burning stove, or walked downwind of a bonfire knows that thick wood smoke causes instant coughing and eye streaming. Acrid smoke from burning carpets and plastics would be even more cough-inducing than wood smoke….. yet she never coughed once in four minutes, despite complaining that she couldn’t breathe. Other callers to the emergency services also reported breathing difficulties, but without coughing once (they’re all on youtube).

    Sherlock Holmes might look at this evidence and ask “Were these people suffering because of the fires or from something else? And did these people really choose to jump at all?”

    I mean, we ASSUME they jumped. And we ASSUME it was because of the fires (even though fires hardly ever cause people to jump from buildings). But what if something else was happening in those towers, something which their nerve endings FELT as a sensation of heat or burning … something which also made it very difficult for them to breathe.

    What if they were driven out of the windows by reflex action, like a hand is driven off a hot stove by reflex action? What if no (conscious) decision was made to jump, just as no conscious decision is made to drop a hot plate or jump back from an electric shock.

    Or to put it another way, what if their conscious desire to remain inside the building was simply not strong enough to overpower their body’s reflex action to escape some terrible sensation? A vivid example of this would be something like the ‘active denial system’ LINK

    Unfortunately Sherlock Homes is a fictional character, and there is no one in society astute enough to ask these kinds of pertinent and insightful questions….. well, that’s not entirely true….. there is one person ….. LINK

    1. Thank you, that is very interesting to contemplate – although I find it hard to believe that people would be acting rationally in this situation. If I were in a building where the unthinkable had happened and I was being engulfed by flames, I don’t think that I would be in a clear enough state of mind to KNOW to go to the bathroom, to KNOW to keep wet clothes on. Remember, it is much easier to consider these speculations as truths when it is not you experiencing them. It had been observed that the temperatures measured of the core of the rubble, five days later, exceeded the maximum temperature for a kerosene fire. 5 days later.

      I find it crucial not to downplay the possibility that these people were indeed suffering, were indeed in extreme temperatures, and were indeed jumping because of those conditions. I find it offensive that Dr. Judy Wood, in your link above, made a joke about the man in the building taking his clothes off. First of all, there is nothing remotely funny about 9/11, much less someone suffering through it. Were I in that scenario, were I living that nightmare, I think I would quite certainly be acting irrational. I would not be thinking through my actions as well as I would now, in the comfort of my cool bedroom.

      And as always, it is important to remember that these people falling from the World Trade Center were just that – people. Not experiments. These were real people, finding themselves in a situation you probably won’t ever find yourself in, in between two true, honest-to-god hells, and doing what in that moment seemed logical to do and what STILL seems logical to do:

      To jump.

      1. “..If I were in a building where the unthinkable had happened and I was being engulfed by flames..”

        Yes but the fact (and it is a FACT, not speculation) that their clothes (and their faces/ hair etc) were not blackened, singed or smoking suggests they were NOT being engulfed by flames.

        The towers themselves were NOT being engulfed in flames.. otherwise they’d have looked like THIS

        Two people (one identified as Edna Cintron) were also seen standing in the middle of the plane shaped hole in the north tower. Her long blonde hair was not singed. So we know it can’t have been that hot there after the jet fuel burnt off. The firemen who made it up to the fires in WTC2 reported “isolated pockets of fire… should be able to knock them out with a couple of lines”.

        On 9/11 Manhattan was full of people walking about with filthy, shredded clothes, covered in dust and many were bleeding or were injured in some other way. One woman with fractured ribs and a collapsed lung walked herself to hospital from the WTC. These people all looked like they’d just been through some kind of hell (and they had)…… yet none of them were suicidal. People who survive ordinary house fires usually look like hell too. But the ‘jumpers’ looked pristine by comparison, in their white shirts and clean ties. There is simply no *evidence* they were being consumed by fire or smoke, and all the evidence suggests they were not.

        “..It had been observed that the temperatures measured of the core of the rubble, five days later, exceeded the maximum temperature for a kerosene fire. 5 days later…”

        There is no evidence of high temperatures in the rubble at any point. There were only a few isolated fires dotted about. Who observed these alleged high temperatures?

        Plastic display items were pulled out of the Warner Bros store in the basement shopping malls unharmed (certainly not melted) and those basement levels were still semi intact. Unburned paper was everywhere. Sixteen people survived at the base of WTC1 inside the tower and none of them were burned and they mostly walked out by themselves within hours. The speculation about high heat was due to the fact that the rubble continued to ‘fume’ for months (and years) afterwards. However this was some kind of cold breakdown of material which looked a bit like smoke/ steam/ heat but was not. The site could not possibly have remained hot for years, yet it was still ‘fuming’ years later.

        Just as with the ‘fire engulfing the jumpers’ theory, there’s no actual evidence of high temperatures in the rubble at ground zero.

        “..I find it crucial not to downplay the possibility that these people were indeed suffering…”

        I wasn’t. In fact I was suggesting they were suffering terribly – just not from smoke, heat or fire. Melissa Doi (see previous link) was obviously suffering badly. She kept saying she couldn’t breathe. But she also never coughed once in four minutes. That tells us she couldn’t breathe for some reason which was not related to smoke.

        “…I find it offensive that Dr. Judy Wood, in your link above, made a joke about the man in the building taking his clothes off…”

        There’s no getting around the fact that the man taking his pants off outside the tower a hundred floors above the ground is completely absurd and diabolical! The guy woke up on 9/11 and thought he was going to have an ordinary day at work and two hours later he was being forced to take his pants off while dangling outside the 100th floor of a skyscraper for some reason. It must have been like a bad dream.

        Dr Wood is just acknowledging how absurd this is. She’s not mocking him, she’s giving him the respect of empathy and clarity. It’s human nature to make light of terrible situations like that. Otherwise we could not cope …. remember she’s been forensically examining 9/11 for over ten years, including all the images of body parts all over the streets etc. Just ask any EMT or soldier if they occasionally make light of the horrors they have to deal with. It’s human nature.

        Dr Wood has said in interviews that she couldn’t deal with the ‘jumpers’ for ages until she realised their actions were communicating something to her, and that was when she made a promise to them to figure out what their actions were saying.

        FWIW she’s the only person who cares enough to actually bother suing NIST (all the way to the supreme court) after they ADMITTED committing science fraud with their phoney 9/11 investigation. She’s sacrificed her career to do this and her student/ co worker was murdered in suspicious circumstances. The ultimate gesture of respect to the dead is to try to get to the truth. Nobody else seems to care….. maybe give her a break? 🙂

        “…And as always, it is important to remember that these people falling from the World Trade Center were just that – people. Not experiments…”

        Right. But being rigorously scientific is often the most humane course of action. Life saving surgery or car safety or new medicines require us to treat people as ‘experiments’. The same is also true in forensic investigations into crimes, like the mass murder which was committed on 9/11. To conduct a poor forensic investigation because our judgement is clouded by sentimentality is to do the victims and their loved ones a terrible disservice.

      1. I was just reading the above speculative comment (but not the links) from Abandon TV and while I was reading I thought hmmm — is this an appropriate place to WRITE something very important that I have been considering for several years now and have attempted to refer to in my poetry — but still feel I need to state it — so here goes: Hey Everybody — I Believe My Word Trade Center Rooftop Painting Self Organizing Galaxy

        (I don’t know how to activate this link — if someone could do it for me I would be eternally grateful — otherwise you can just key in my name Joanna Hyde World Trade Center You Tube)

        Successfully Completed By A Long-haired Blond Western Young Woman, Inflamed The Muslim Factions In Arabia — Who Found Out About My Display When I Mailed A Video Of The Project To My Father In Rhyad In 1984 AND HE NEVER GOT IT. I Suspect It Was Intercepted By The Mail Police. I Honestly Believe The Audacity Of My Creation, And It’s High Visibility — Of It & Me — INSTIGATED 9/11
        INSTIGATED 9/11

        1. Wow Joanna, I don’t even know what to say. Though to me, it seems unlikely that a project like this would set off such events, anything is possible. All I know for sure is that your Self-Organized Galaxy was a beautiful painting that put much good out into the world, and that sometimes, when good is created, bad wants to rise up and meet it. The last thing I would do, though, is blame yourself. Nothing is ever certain – except that your art project was both lovely and inspiring to many people.

          The link works, by the way! Thank you for posting it, it is truly amazing.

Thoughts? I love those.

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