Thursday, May 27, 2010


We have all heard the legend of a penny being thrown from a high place and landing on someones head can kill them. Every area of the world has their "place" in the US it's thrown off the Empire State building or Sears Tower, in France it's the Eiffel Tower, and so on. Yet we have never heard of someone actually dieing or for that matter ever being hurt by a penny from these places. Are people just too scared to try? Most people believe this myth and when 20/20 investigated and attempted to run an experiment the buildings wouldn't let them in fear of someone getting seriously injured. The truth is when a penny is thrown from a height it is unable to reach terminal velocity because of its weight and shape. Therefore it is more like a sail catching the wind. A penny is more comparable to a leaf falling off a tree than a dangerous piece of metal falling from the sky. Something with a more aerodynamic shape and a little more weight could potentially hurt someone. But not a penny.

This is the 20/20 experiment that clears up the myth in a short explanation



  1. I always wondered about this urban legend and actually thought it could be true. It seemed reasonable that a penny, although light in weight when held, could pick up enough speed when dropped off the Empire State Building to really injure someone! After seeing the youtube, I guess I'm mistaken. Good topic!

  2. Wow! That was interesting, since I did believe that someone was killed in New York from a penny being thrown on their head...