back to article Church altar smites devout Catholic

A devout Catholic who popped into church to thank God for a his rescue from a lift was crushed to death by a 860lb stone altar, the Telegraph reports. Police spokesman Roman Hahslinger explained that Gunther Link, 45, was "a very religious man and had been scared when he was trapped in the lift and had prayed for release". He …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A real life smiting no less

    Does that make it a Miracle?

    "a very religious man and had been scared when he was trapped in the lift and had prayed for release"

    He can't have been that religious. If I believed there was a God and we all went to Heaven, I'd not be worrying about much really. Unless......I had a guilty conscience. But then most religious people have had guilt burned onto their psyche since childhood.

  2. Andy ORourke



  3. Jay Castle
    Dead Vulture

    Religion claims yet another life.....

    ....but of course you'll get sruck down if you fondle God's mighty column.

  4. Fred 1

    Hail Loki

    Conclusive proof that not only does God exist, but she has a seriously twisted sense of humour.

  5. Eden


    Maybe embracing a stone pillar was seen as worshipping idols and he was stoned as per the book?

  6. dunncha

    Sounds like a story Dan Brown could rip off.......

    Or just maybe the far superior ' Final Destination'

    Haven't seen 'The Final Destination' so can comment about that.

  7. Kevin Campbell

    need "ironic" tag

    Madame Moderatrix, may we please have a new icon? How about a clothes iron with a big "E" or "IC" after it?

  8. Nebulo
    Thumb Up

    God works in mysterious ways

    ^^ That's it.

  9. Brian Miller

    Pulled a "Samson"

    Samson did a similar thing, but it was to deliberately pull a temple down. Religious fervor is good, but be a little moderate with things that obey the law of gravity, OK?

  10. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    @ Fred 1

    "Conclusive proof that not only does God exist, but she has a seriously twisted sense of humour."

    Are you starting a Blasphemous Rumour by thinking that God's got a sick sense of humour?

    Mine's the one with the Depeche Mode logo on the back...

  11. Ray0x6

    jahweh's big iron

    @KC - surely INRI would be better? (at least in this instance)

    just goes to show that attending church is a dangerous thing - i never closed my eyes or bowed my head in school assembly because that is obviously when you are at you most vulnerable.

    terminator - coz this one actually won't be back.

  12. Ian Ferguson

    Can this be nominated for a Darwin Award?

    After all, he was stupid enough to believe an invisible man in the sky released him from his lift ordeal.

  13. Richard Porter

    Obviously god does exist.

    He prayed for release and he was released from all his worldly woes. Perhaps he should have been more specific.

  14. James 5

    Perhaps a case of...

    God thinking "You escaped first time - but I got you second time round!"

    Reminds me of Death in the Discworld..... Almost worthy of a Terry Pratchett story

  15. dunncha

    Would you need a funeral

    Or would it be classed as being called back to God!

    I get my coat with the big thick Bible in it

  16. Reverend Brown

    Crushing belief.

    Proof that a crushing belief in the invisible unicorn is, in fact, rather unhealthy.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. seanj

    I have a theory...

    His name was Link, he was reported missing...

    Therefore the Catholic Church (via act of God, of course) had this small "embarrassment" removed, so as not to give any ammunition to the evolution squad...

    Mine's the one with "On the origin of species" in the breast pocket, coveted like my own personal bible...

  19. Sabine Miehlbradt

    Everbody deserves a second chance

    Even God, I guess.

    He really was itching to get that guy.

    Here's a picture of the altar. Basic table shape and he probably pulled on one of the legs.

    Rest in pieces.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all wrong

    God entombed him in the lift and the stone from the altar was punishment for escaping.

    Oh, and I'd say this is more like a G.K.Chesterton Father Brown story than a Dan Brown one.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Just goes to prove...

    God isn't a Catholic!

  22. Captain Save-a-ho

    @ Fred 1

    Indeed, further proof that the christian god is really a demented, mean-spirited bitch. And I bet this guy thought his wife was bad!

    Mines the one with 666 all over the back to keep the christians away...

  23. raving angry loony


    Why is it that religious types who believe in an omniscient, omnipresent God also believe that they not only have to pray for everything (doesn't IT know??), but that more numbers equals better results? (what, they think life is a voting game now?)

    I'm guessing that someone, somewhere will use this as proof of God's existence. Or something.

    Sigh. The irrationals win again.

  24. Richard 102
    Paris Hilton

    Best story in years!

    I feel bad for Herr Link und seiner Familie, but this is the greatest story I've read in ten years. Even beats the one about Al Gore spending thousands of dollars for gas heating for a guest house.

    Although it still doesn't top that one from 1995 when a liquored-up exectuive, Gerard Finneran, three sheets to the wind and having been denied yet another wine because of his behavior, pinched a loaf on the food cart in first class on a flight to New York. Let us never forget this man. He gave mankind two valuable services: 1) irrefutable proof that a title makes no better than anyone, and 2) the reassurance that no matter what we've done, we haven't embarrassed our moms like that.

    (Unless we've been on a reality tv show, of course.)

  25. Block

    save me!

    Seems not even prayer can protect you from stupidity.

  26. northern monkey

    Perhaps we're seeing the beginning...

    ..of the God delusion correcting itself! Soon there'll be scores smothered by their prayer mats, hundreds drowned in the baptismal font, thousands crushed by falling rocks on pilgramage and eventually I'll get some bloody sleep on a Sunday morning instead of being woken up by the local God-botherers bothering God with their incessant bell ringing !!

  27. dervheid

    "We have found his fingerprints on the pillar"

    Was that ALL there was left? Shee-it!

  28. g e


    This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere, explain to me once more why you need to pray to an all-knowing being or go to a church as the being is omnipresent?

    Sheep bladders & earthquakes are child's play

    Apols to the Pythons :o)

  29. Anonymous John

    Missing title

    Link: "Aisle, altar, hymn."

    God: "I'll alter him."

  30. Flugal

    When will people grow up?

    Pixies, fairies, unicorns, dragons and god.

    Fine for fantasies, but that's all they are. Grown adults believing in any of them should be ashamed.

    And didn't he think perhaps it was the people that saved him from the lisft that, er, saved him, not the made-up sky-fairy?

    We're all fucked given how many people believe this total wank.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Full of the milk of human kindness, you lot.

    Look. Maybe you believe that being an atheist genuinely makes you superior to religious people in every way.

    But let me point out one thing -- it is only the insecure who get smug. What's so lacking in your lives that you take pleasure out of someone's death simply because he had a belief you thought was wrong?

    Note that I'm not calling all atheists smug gits -- just the ones who act like smug gits. Similarly, any religious person who acts like a smug git is a smug git, so when religious zealots smugly gloat about "devine intervention" when an abortionist has a car accident, they too are smug gits, and that smugness masks a deep insecurity.

    Smug is as smug does, and all you smug gits should just smug off and smug yourselves.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Trapped in that lift

    <said the little man> I thought I was going to heaven, but I was rescued

    <Deep Voice> Sorry to disappoint you my boy


    There's little funnier in this world than someone being crushed to death

  33. Chris C

    People are funny

    I will never understand why people who claim to be religious still insist on visiting a specific building in order to "talk to God". If your god is all-seeing and all-powerful like you claim, surely he will hear you wherever you are.

    Keeping in line with the humorous nature of this, I do hope his life insurance policy did not exclude Acts of God.

    Seriously, though, you do have to feel bad for those (if any) this guy left behind. Hopefully there was no one left behind, or if there was, those left behind are just as religious as he was (and thus will use their religion as a crutch to overcome this).

  34. Steve Evans

    Illogical religion...

    It does always amaze/amuse/worry me...

    People are involved in huge vehicle accidents, their entire family is wiped out, but they survive... Then they say something crazy like "God must have been saving me for a higher purpose"...

    Errr, excuse me, he's just wiped out your spouse, child and parents.... So he's either trying to really ruin your life and plunge you into the pits of depression, or he was seriously trying to kill you and just didn't take the airbag into account!

    I still remember when I heard Tony Blair prayed for guidance before deciding to be G Dubya's poodle and invade Iraq... Religion, the only time you can listen to voices in your head, not get given a nice white huggy jacket and still be left in control of a country!

  35. zanto
    IT Angle

    i suppose

    they had wi-fi in the church or the lift was controlled by a compooooter.

    or is this yet another for the "i'm so dull, let me bash religion to prove i've got a brain" series?

  36. LaeMi Qian

    Don't hump...

    ...God's (table) leg like an over-affectionate pet dog.

    God doesn't like that.

  37. LaeMi Qian

    Actually, now I think of it...

    ... maybe I should convert after all. This God is obviously more my type of Deity than those who claim to represent God would claim. Wicked sense of humour and low tolerance for people who behave like complete tossers in Gods name.

    Man: Thank you God for rescuing me from the elevator.

    God: Um, I think that was emergency services - best thank them.

    Man: Thank you God for rescuing me from the elevator.

    God: Don't you think I have better things to to than that - I created humans with complex-problem-solving brains for a reason.

    Man: Thank you God for rescuing me from the elevator.

    God: I am sure I gave humanity complex-problem-solving brains. Why do so many of them abandon my gifts [snif].

    Man: Thank you God for rescuing me from the elevator.

    God: Screw this....

    Heavy stone altar in concert with squishy human body: SPLORCH

    God [calling out across Heaven]: Hey, St. Peter, get out that old Viking hat again: another one on the way we want to tell this is Valhalla and Heaven is further along the infinite road.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    It's a miracle!

    Nobody said miracles had to be nice, did they?

  39. Anonymous Coward


    Don't know why but the only thing that I can think of is:



  40. Peter Gray

    @AC 13:48

    To be fair, while he probably believed he would go to heaven, it might be the form of death that worried him. Dying while trapped in a lift doesn't sound like an easy way to go, so praying for deliverence wouldn't be so weird. Well, other than the whole "talking to the big beard in the sky" weird anyway.

    Pirate icon because... I like pirates.

  41. Steve Roper

    @northern monkey

    How to deal with the Sunday morning God-botherers:

    I used to have this problem with the local fundies. You need to bear in mind that these people have a quota to fulfil; they have to visit X houses in Y time. So I did the unexpected; I invited them in, plied them with orange juice and biscuits, let them put their pitch, and tied them up for the next 3 hours trying to convert them to my own "belief": Agnosticism. I engaged them in an interesting and deep discussion about how God, if such a being exists, must by definition be as far beyond our comprehension as a human being is beyond the comprehension of a skin cell in my little finger. And if we, for all our enlightened knowledge today, can't comprehend God, what chance would a bunch of desert shepherds 3000 years ago have? Etcetera, etcetera...

    Unfortunately I was not able to convert them to Agnosticism (I'm a good lecturer, but a poor preacher!), but because I took 3 hours out of their God-bothering time, they must not have been able to fulfil their quota, because they never bothered me again!

    Other people I know have also effectively solved the problem in other ways:

    My neighbour was watering his garden one morning when they turned up. He warned them off; they didn't take the hint; he hosed them down for their pains. They never returned.

    When my brother was living with his then girlfriend (who was quite the hottie I might add!), when they turned up she answered the door - buck naked - and gave them a sweet smile and a seductive pose. Being a Christian couple rather than being on the make, they fled instantly and never returned.

    When my friend returned from a rabbit-hunting trip, he was skinning and gutting the rabbits when the fundies turned up. He was covered with blood and rabbit guts; carrying his bloodstained skinning knife, he answered the door and informed them that this was the House of Satan. They fled instantly and never returned.

    One of these solutions might work for you! :)

  42. Anonymous Coward

    So, God *is* female then?

    Catholic priests are all blokes. Now if God were male the priest would have heard: "......and make sure you fix the table leg this weekend, it's dangerous.". As God is female, he heard: "......nag, nag, nag, nag, table, mumble, blah.".

  43. Benj
    Paris Hilton

    God, but not the right one

    I think this man was being punished for worshipping false idols.

    Clearly the Flying Spaghetti Monster reached out with his noodly appendages and toppled the altar. Punishment was either being crushed by a big stone or made to walk the plank. Seeing as there wasn't a plank to hand, the stone had to do.

    I think my fellow pastafarians reading this site would agree that the almighty can only have his meatballs pushed so far.


    Paris as i'm sure i've seen her on her knees worshipping columns.

  44. Winkypop Silver badge

    God hates you

    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion.

    Yep...he's* a nasty bugger!

    * He would be if he existed, that is.

  45. Rod MacLean
    Thumb Up

    @raving angry loony

    Sweet. You said it for me.

    If God is all-powerful and created the entirety of existence then why does it matter how many of us worship him? He can still say to the other gods "look what I made guys". If there are no other gods then he can feel proud of his accomplishment.

    If the dead go to heaven then he's got plenty of company and sparkiling conversation without needing anyone here on earth pulling at the hem of his robe and saying "I want this, I want that".

    If he's omniscient then praying is pointless because by definition he knows everything already.

    If god is all powerful then he can kill you whenever he wants and he knows in advance when that will be because he's omniscient. By that logic, he most likely did nothing to get the guy out of the lift - he just say back and thought to himself "the jokes on you fucker, you'll be dead in 20 minutes!"

  46. Steve Swann

    Serves him right....

    For thanking his imaginary friend instead of the people who *actually* rescued him from the lift!

  47. Anonymous Coward


    Maybe he was trying to move the altar to find a passage to a missing piece of the tri-force?

    Mines the one with the Master Sword in the pocket

  48. steogede

    Re: Can this be nominated for a Darwin Award?

    Probably not, Darwin arguably believed in the same "invisible man" (he was probably agnoistic, but there is a big difference between Agnosticism and Atheism). Perhaps we need a Dawkins award.

  49. NT 1


    raving angry loony mentions that "the irrationals win again". I'm just wondering who 'the irrationals' are in this case. Are 'the irrationals' the people with their easy-to-mock belief in some unprovable deity concept? Or are 'the irrationals' the people who find a sorry story of a tragic death hilariously amusing and just the greatest fun, all because the deceased held a belief that they don't share?

    @ Steve Swann: how do you *know* he didn't *also* thank his actual earthly rescuers?

    Okay, I admit: I work in the emergency services, and I've seen people handling difficult situations through humour. My front-line colleagues generally develop a pretty twisted sense of the amusing because they have to. People on a bloody Internet forum probably haven't had to clear up the crushed body of this man, or break the news to his family. Here, it's just a laugh, innit. It's funny 'cos he's religious. Hur hur. Here, it's just malice, stemming - apparently - from the casual, lazy prejudice of the anti-religious: so confident of their own superiority over the benighted superstitious freaks.

    See all the usual staples rolled out: the Invisible Pink Unicorn gets her obligatory mention; and there's the inevitable appearance of the much-abused Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Look, it's not that I expect everyone to take up Catholicism. I'm not Catholic either: to be honest I don't see the sense in it - possibly for many of the same reasons that others here dismiss it. Of course you're free to believe or not believe as you see fit - and if you believe in a vindictive, trickster God (and it's sometimes difficult to know whether people are anti-religious, implying they're atheists, or anti-God, implying they're believers of some sort) then so be it.

    But this guy's dead. It's not a joke for him or his family and friends, and I see no reason why he should be ridiculed when as far as I can see his only 'crime' is in holding a belief that we don't hold. The idea that his life is somehow worth less because he doesn't see things as we do - that's precisely the kind of attitude that drove the atrocities atheists are usually so quick to cite in condemning religion. As far as I can see the only thing this guy did 'wrong' was to go into a church and offer thanks to his god that he'd escaped a dangerous situation. Is that really so wrong that you people truly believe he deserved to die, or that his death can and should be treated as entertainment? I mean, atheists attacking the religious usually claim that they're doing so because of the injustices perpetrated by the religious. So what's the reason here? Do we have any evidence - any evidence at all - that this guy had ever tried to push his religion on someone else? Do we have any reason to believe that he thought atheists were satanists. or that he'd ever tried to get creationism taught in schools? Or are we in fact just mocking him because it's become a habit and it makes us feel good about ourselves?

    I wonder if this guy would have attracted the Register's attention at all - or anyone else's outside his own home town - if he'd been an atheist released from the lift and subsequently run over on the street.

  50. peyton?

    Well, to be fair

    The altar was a larger replica of this:

    In hindsight, he really shouldn't have gone hugging it...

    (I'll hate myself later for joking about this poor sap's demise... on a more serious note, just how *does* a person knock over an 800+ lb anything?)

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @NT 1

    But, you gotta laugh innit?

  52. M Neligan


    What the fuck's going on? A Reg commentard who is NOT a geeky, self-centred, supercilious, infantile, simplistic moron? Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold etc.

  53. Stratman

    You missed a bit

    "When will people grow up? #

    By Flugal Posted Thursday 10th September 2009 16:22 GMT

    Pixies, fairies, unicorns, dragons and god.

    Fine for fantasies, but that's all they are. Grown adults believing in any of them should be ashamed."

    You forgot to add the Higgs boson to your list. After all, lots of otherwise rational scientists believe in it, but nobody has found one. Yet they rely on its unproven existence to 'prove' the rest of their theories/beliefs.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Natural selection.

    Can we send all religious people to this church?

  55. SirTainleyBarking

    @ Steve Roper

    In the case of your brother and his then Girlfriend, I say unto Thee..........

    Pics or it didn't happen ;)

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ malice by NT1

    What? So somehow all life is precious and things are sacred and shouldn't be ridiculed? Climb down off your horse.

    Not taking anything away from the loss his family feel, but there's 6 billion people out there, every single one of whom will die. There is nothing mystical or amazing about this, simply inevitable. It isn't malice to laugh about a tragically comic event like this.

    Everything dies. This is an entirely normal, natural occurence, and nothing to get so excited about. Most people don't die of old age, they die of unexpected causes. Chill out and laugh at it, and yourself.

    When I go, I hope it's in some manner that people hear about and cry with laughter about. Bollocks to all this self-aggrandisement and crocodile tears bullshit. Just another person. Same as the battered cod you eat was just another fish, or the burger was just another cow. Nothing to see here.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like