The year is 1876, and this story details the ingenious suicide machine designed by Mr. Moore who lived in Lafayette, Indiana.
The ax was suspended in such a manner that it was to fall in a certain direction at a certain time. He placed himself in the path of its descent, so that there could be no possibility of avoiding its edge, either by voluntary or involuntary motion. Where the ax would strike, he placed a small box, open on one side, in which his head reposed. He held his head firmly in position and his chin up from his neck by a stick run across the box. He was strapped tightly to the floor with straps, one around the arms and the other around the legs, both straps being screwed to the floor. Thus when the candle which he had placed between the cord holding the ax burned them off, the weapon would swiftly and heavily fall and perform its horrible mission with absolute certainty.
Source - Alabama Beacon July 1876
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer