Every now and then, funerals pack a surprise -- when the person who’s supposed to be dead turns up alive...
Picture the scene: you’re at a funeral, or are in the process of arranging one, when the person who’s supposed to be in the coffin turns up to see what’s going on.
Stuff of imagination? More often than not, yes. But sometimes, it really does happen…
The man mistakenly identified by his brother
Gilberto Araujo, of Brazil, was pronounced dead back in 2012, after his body had been identified at the local morgue by his brother. The 41-year old’s family were alongside his coffin, mourning his passing -- when Araujo turned up at the door.
This was a case of mistaken identity. Araujo worked as a car washer in the town of Alagoinhas, where there had been a murder. That murder took the life of another car-washer, and that’s where the mix-up occurred. Araujo’s brother’s mistake was an innocent one, given the two car-washers were alike in appearance. Hence, the funeral surprise...
The woman who confronted the husband who’d ordered her dead
The story of Noela Rukundo made headlines around the world earlier in 2016. A resident of Australia, she had returned home to Burundi to attend the funeral of her stepmother. Unbeknownst to her, her husband arranged hitmen to take her life whilst she was there, and they duly grabbed her.
However, as the BBC reported, these were hitmen with a heart. When they cottoned onto what was happening, they gave Rukundo her freedom, and she flew home, approaching her husband at her own funeral to confront him about his plan.
Kalala Rukundu was sentenced to nine years in prison at the end of 2015 for ordering the hit on his wife.
The full story is here.
The Chinese man who staged his own funeral
Zhang Deyang was 66 years old when he decided to stage his own funeral. He arranged it himself, curious as to how many would turn up, given that he had never married, and had no children.
Deyang, of China, invited his friends and family to the pretend funeral, worried that nobody would turn up. In Chinese culture, the dead are said to have needs, and their graves are supposed to be visited regularly to ensure those needs are met.
In the vent, 40 invitees turned up at Deyand’s funeral, along with several hundred others. Yet he wasn’t happy: 20 relatives and friends didn’t turn up. “I can’t believe so many relatives and friends don’t care about me,” he was quoted as saying.
The Serbian man who thanked people for attending his funeral
There’s more than one example of someone who arranged their own funeral, just to see who would turn up. Serbian pensioner Vuk Peric posted a fake death notice in his local newspaper, and sent invites to his funeral. He then watched the event from a distance, eventually emerging to reveal that he was, indeed, alive. He thanked the mourners for attending.
This was back in 1997, and in 2002, Peric put his grave and tombstone up for sale, to raise funds.
3-year old girl in the Philippines
Preparations were underway for the funeral of a three-year old girl in the Philippines. The unnamed girl had been suffering from a fever, and was declared dead one Saturday morning, at 9 a.m. Her family thus were preparing her coffin the day after and, when a family friend removed the lid of it, she noticed the young girl’s head move.
The moment was caught on camera.
“I think he’s gone this time”
78-year old Walter Williams of Mississippi, America was pronounced dead on February 26th 2014. As CNN reported, the correct paperwork was completed, Williams’ body was put into a bodybag, and he was taken to a funeral home.
Yet Williams didn’t even make it to his funeral, as when his body was taken to the embalming room, his legs began to move. Then, the coroner noticed him lightly breathing. Williams was alive.
It was, as it turned out, a short-lived reprieve. Just over two weeks later, he passed away for real. They double checked. “I think he’s gone this time,” confirmed his nephew.
The farmer who inspired Old Man’s Day
This one goes back many years. The village of Braughing, in East Hertfordshire, England, celebrates Old Man’s Day on 2nd October. This dates back to 1571, and the funeral of a local farmer by the name of Matthew Wall. On the way to his funeral, though, one of his pallbearers dropped his coffin.
It’s a good job he did, because the jolt promptly woke Wall up. Wall would live for more than two decades more, finally passing away in 1595. His coming back to life, however, continues to be saluted in Braughing.
The bishop who woke up after two days
Nicephorus Glycas was bishop working in Lesbos, when he was declared dead on March 3rd 1896. His body was, in accordance with tradition, left on display in the Methymni church.
It was on the second night of what was known as ‘the exposition of the corpse’ that things took a slight turn. For Glycas sat up, reportedly demanding to know what all the fuss was about. Turned out he’d just been having a long sleep…
The man who turned up drunk at his own funeral
When Ecuadorian man Edison Vicuna went missing for three days, his friends and family assumed the worst. Especially when a body turned up, of a man whose face had been severely disfigured following a car accident. A post-mortem was performed, and the corpse was confirmed to be Vicuna’s.
Only it wasn’t. In fact, come his funeral, Vicuna turned up, drunk, and caused mourners to scream in horror. The funeral, as you might expect, was halted, and the body was returned to the morgue, where it was properly identified at the second attempt.
The woman who woke up -- then died for real
When Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov of Kazan in Russia collapsed at home following a heart attack, she was quickly rushed to her local hospital. But the journey was apparently in vain: she was soon declared dead, back in 2011.
This story, though, has a good and bad turn to it.
The good part? She was alive. A few days later, as she was lying in her coffin at her own funeral, she woke up. She saw the mourners around her, crying and praying for her, and quickly twigged what was happening. She reportedly -- and understandably -- began yelling, and was quickly rushed back to hospital.
However, the shock of what had happened took its toll. As her Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov’s recalled, “her eyes flapped. However, she just lived for an additional 12 minutes in intensive care prior to dying once more, this time permanently.” Heart failure was ultimately registered as the cause of death.
The man who turned up to the last day of his funeral
When a government airstrike killed over 100 people near Damascus in Syria last year, one of the casualties was seemingly Mohammed Rayhan. He had been at the local market, which took the force of the blast, and was seemingly dead, buried under rubble.
That turned out to be half true.
Rayhan’s family and friends organized his funeral, which went ahead a few days’ later. But said friends and family got a very pleasant shock when the man himself turned up at it.
Rayhan had actually been buried under the rubble following the explosion for 36 hours, but eventually managed to free himself. When he arrived at his funeral, he was still covered in the remnants of the rubble, in his hair and beard.
The waiter who returned to life
28-year old Hamdi Hafez al-Nubi worked as a waiter in Luxor, Egypt back in 2012. It was while he was working one day that he had a heart attack, and apparently perished. He was declared dead, and his family took the body home, washed it in line with Islamic traditions, and had it ready for his burial at the end of the week.
The fact that al-Nubi was actually alive was spotted by the doctor sent to sign the final death certificate. He took a closer look at the body when he noticed it was still warm, and discovered that al-Nubi was actually still breathing. He quickly alerted the man’s mother, and what was set to be his funeral turned into a celebration instead. Mental_floss