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Carradine's passing and other confounding deaths

Something sounds oddly familiar about the recent death of "Kill Bill" actor David Carradine in Bangkok.

Why? Because there's a perception in Thailand that an unusually high number of foreigners' lives end here in odd suicides.

Several months ago, the Thai press published front-page photos of a man's head dangling from a rope fixed to one of the city's most-trafficked bridges. Suicide? Murder? Theories drifted back and forth — and police eventually settled on suicide.

The nearby seaside town Pattaya is thought to have lots of "jumpers," lost souls who leap from the resort city's high-rise condos. Often, these tales are told with an undercurrent of suspicion — a hunch that that the "suicides" involve something more sinister. (See blogger and Thailand veteran Bangkok Dan's musings on this here.) After a fellow journalist nearly witnessed a Pattaya suicide firsthand — in a public bar — she said she was told "it happens all the time."

So what happened to Carradine, reportedly found by a hotel worker in a closet with cord tied around his neck and genitals? The first reports said suicide. Newer reports touch on the possibility of auto-erotic asphyxiation. His friends and family insist Carradine wouldn't have killed himself — and question the absence of a suicide note.

Honestly, I haven't seen any figures to substantiate this perception about foreigners dying in Thailand. (Have you? Please comment below.) But the belief that foreigners die here under odd circumstances — true or not — is likely stronger after Carradine's death.

P.S. The "Kill Bill" series features Carradine at his late-career best. It's a shame that we'll be cheated out of seeing him in "Stretch," the film he was filming here in Thailand.