Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weird Funeral News from Vietnam

A Vietnamese man dug up his wife's corpse and slept beside it for five years because he wanted to hug her in bed, an online newspaper says.

The 55-year-old man from a small town in the central province of Quang Nam opened up his wife's grave in 2004, moulded clay around the remains to give the figure of a woman, put clothes on her and then placed her in his bed, Vietnamnet.vn said.

The man, Le Van, told the website that after his wife died in 2003 he slept on top of her grave, but about 20 months later he worried about rain, wind and cold, so he decided to dig a tunnel into the grave "to sleep with her".

His children found out, though, and prevented him from going to the grave. So one night in November 2004 he dug up his wife's remains and took them home, Vietnamnet reported.

The website carried a photo of Van with the figure of his wife, which is still in his home.

The father of seven said neighbors did not dare visit the house for several years.

"I'm a person that does things differently. I'm not like normal people," he was quoted as saying.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Family Cremated Mother on BBQ

CORNING, Calif. - Authorities said relatives of a deceased Tehama County woman cremated her remains on a makeshift barbecue and continued collecting her retirement checks.

Ramona Allmond's daughter and grandson were arrested Sunday on suspicion of embezzlement, elder abuse and disposing of a body without a permit, among other charges. They are being held at the Tehama County Jail in Red Bluff on $30,000 bail, with arraignment set for Thursday.

Sheriff's Capt. Paul Hosler says the 84-year-old Allmond likely had died of natural causes, though investigators are still trying to determine the cause of death.

Hosler says her daughter, 50-year-old Kathleen Allmond, and her grandson, 30-year-old Tony Ray, told investigators they left the body on her bedroom floor for a week before cremating the remains in their backyard fire pit. They then covered the pit and remains with soil and planted a tree on top, according to investigators. The family's home sits in the midst of a 10-acre olive grove, remote from neighbors.

Skull added to necklace?
Detectives say the daughter also fashioned a two-inch piece of her mother's skull into a necklace. Hosler said Ray took a photograph of Kathleen Allmond wearing the necklace, as well as a beaded wire tiara that she believed would ward off radio waves, to post on a social networking Web site.

"It gets really weird when you have a piece of mom's skull hanging around your neck," Hosler said. "I'm not aware of any religion that allows you to burn your family members in the backyard and collect their pension."

Investigators said they kept collecting her monthly retirement checks amounting to more than $25,000 since the elderly woman died in December.

Detective Richard Knox said they may have been trying to honor the woman's desire to die at home and be cremated.

Deputies arrested the pair after the dead woman's son asked deputies for a welfare check because he had not heard from his mother since December. Hosler said his suspicions were further aroused last week when he called and Kathleen Allmond pretended she was the 84-year-old woman.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Weird Funeral News from Podgorica

A Montenegrin man made an unsuccessful suicide attempt in front of shocked funeral home staffers after he purchased a coffin, climbed in and shot himself.

Milo Bogisic paid cash for the casket at Palma Funerals in Podgorica before he wrote out his obituary and climbed into the coffin. He then put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

The 52-year-old man survived the blast when the bullet passed through his chin and nose, missing his brain, Ananova reports.

Police said Bogisic was having family problems and was even more devastated when he “hadn’t managed to end it all.”

To add insult to injury, the funeral home refused to give him a refund on the coffin.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Why did you have to die?

A man placed some flowers on the grave of his dearly departed mother and started back toward his car when his attention was diverted to another man kneeling at a grave. The man seemed to be praying with profound intensity and kept repeating, "Why did you have to die? Why did you have to die?"

The first man approached him and said, "Sir, I don't wish to interfere with your private grief, but this demonstration of pain is more than I've ever seen before. For whom do you mourn
so deeply? A child? A parent?"

The mourner took a moment to collect himself, then replied, "My wife's first husband."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dad's Ashes Sprinkled on to Golf Course

Under the trees at Dunedin Country Club, Chris Long poured his dad into a golf shoe. At the 10th hole he sprinkled the ashes next to the sand trap. "Dad was always good around the green,'' Long said.

For a half century, Jim Long was a fanatical golfer who played every day if he could. He was especially good with short irons from the rough or sand trap.

"We called him Houdini,'' one of his oldest friends, Phil Desreaux, said from the lip of the green. "If he got into trouble, he could always escape.''

Almost always. On Sept. 7, as he got ready to putt for a birdie, Jim Long dropped dead. He was 70.

A few days later, his family and hundreds of friends gathered to say goodbye at the golf course. They told stories about how he drew faces on his golf balls and always carried a bottle of Jim Beam in his bag. They wept, laughed and toasted his memory.

A few spoke in reverent tones about his new set of Adams golf clubs with the graphite shafts.

"He didn't tell me he bought them,'' his wife, Joann, was telling people. "I just noticed them one day. He'd put them on the Master Charge. Kind of sneaky.'' In the endless chess game called marriage, she considered running over to Macy's and buying herself a new outfit in revenge.

They had met in 1984. A Canadian, Jim was on a Florida golf vacation. He was divorced. So was she. At a nightclub he asked for a dance. They married four months later. He owned an architectural hardware consulting business in Canada but was happy to move to Florida and its year-round golfing climate. She was okay with her role as golf widow.

Jim was funny, and he was good to her, but he wasn't perfect. Joann fussed at him whenever he reached for a Marlboro. Riding a golf cart was his primary source of exercise. He ate too much Breyers vanilla ice cream and watched too much TV. On the night before he died, she fixed him his favorite meal: grilled chicken and fresh corn cut from the cob. Even after one heart attack and a pacemaker, he feared no pat of butter.

On Sept. 7, a Sunday, he drove his personal golf cart from the house to the golf course two blocks away to meet Whitey Williams and Billy Turner, the other members of his regular threesome.

Jim double-bogeyed the first and second holes. He usually shot in the low 80s, but today his game was off.

On the seventh, he told his companions his latest story:

"A long-married couple are fighting because hubby has forgotten their anniversary. Wifey tells him there had better be something waiting in the driveway tomorrow morning — something that can go 0 to 200 in six seconds.

"Next morning, she sees a package on the driveway. Must be the keys to a new sports car. She can't wait. With shaking hands she opens the package and discovers — a bathroom scale.''

Jim bogeyed the 364-yard, par-four ninth. He was starting to play better, but he complained about an aching back and a cold sweat. His friends suggested a cool drink and a rest. Jim didn't want to miss any golf.

His drive exceeded 220 yards on the par 5, 477-yard 10th hole. His second shot, with a 3-wood, floated to the edge of the green. Now a graceful 9-iron left him 8 feet from the pin — and a birdie.

He grabbed his putter and climbed onto the green.

He fell right next to the hole. In life, he never believed in mulligans; Billy Turner's attempts to revive him failed.

Last Friday at dusk, while the memorial was still going strong at the clubhouse, Jim's family and closest friends headed quietly for the 10th green. A slight breeze rustled the Spanish moss hanging from the oaks. The cicadas sang a requiem.

Jim's son, Chris, sprinkled more ashes from his dad's size 10 FootJoys. "There's still plenty of Dad left to go around,'' Chris said, handing off the shoes to Tom Shores and Phil Desreaux.

Shores, Jim's son-in-law, lifted the flag. Desreaux, Jim's old friend from Canada, poured in the ashes.

Hole in one.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Murderer to be Turned Into Fish Food

A convicted murderer on death row will have his body turned into fish food and fed to goldfish, all for the sake of art.

Gene Hathorn, 47, who was convicted of killing his father, stepmother and stepbrother in 1985, has given his consent to artist Marco Evaristti to use his body as an "art installation" in part of a wider project on capital punishment.

Should Hathorn's final appeal fail, Mr Evaristti would deep-freeze Hathorn's body and then turn it into fish food which visitors at the exhibition could feed to goldfish.

Mr Evaristti, a Chilean-born artist living in Denmark, hopes to begin work within a year if Hathorn is refused an appeal for the third time.

The pair met when Mr Evaristti was researching the longest serving inmates on Texas' infamous death row.

He first visited Hathorn in April this year and when he first suggest the idea to Hathorn, he apparently agreed immediately.

Mr Evaristti said: "Gene Hathorn's story is a powerful one but it is not his story that is as important for me as the system that exists in a society such as America's in such a vulgar and primitive way, the system, of killing people like this. I wanted to raise awareness of the fact there are people killed legally in our Western civilisation."

He added: "He wants to be a part of this art. It's the last thing he can do for society and he views it as positive."

There are doubts Mr Evaristti will be able to use Hathorn's remains in such a way but he is prepared for legal proceedings.

In the meantime, he is helping raise £125,000 for an investigation into events surrounding the circumstances of Hathorn's conviction, in the hope it may lead to an appeal, and has so far raised £52,000 through drawings produced by Hathorn.

The artist said details such as the sexual abuse Hathorn experienced at the hands of his father, an alleged Ku Klux Klan member, was not included in court proceedings leading to his convictions.

Mr Evaristti has been involved in a number of controversial exhibitions in the past. He first gained notoriety for a museum display in 2000 when he placed goldfish in electric blenders filled with water and invited visitors to turn them on.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Crashing Funerals for Free Food?

A fake mourner who repeatedly gatecrashed Wellington, New Zealand funerals was so keen on the food that he brought along tupperware containers to fill up and take home.

The "grim eater" attended up to four funerals a week during March and April before he was stopped.

Harbour City Funeral Home director Danny Langstraat said the company eventually grew concerned enough to take a photograph of the man and distribute it to its branches.

"He was showing up to funeral after funeral, and without a doubt he didn't know the deceased."

The man, thought to be aged in his 40s, went to different churches and venues around the eastern suburbs, including Miramar, Rongotai and Kilbirnie.

"We saw him three or four times in a week. And certainly he had a backpack with some tupperware containers so when people weren't looking, he was stocking up."

The man was "always very quiet and polite, and did as the rest of the mourners did in paying his respects".

He dressed casually, but that was not unusual at funerals, Mr Langstraat said.

"[It was] not like this person might live on the street or this person has sanitary problems."

But he may have had mental health issues as he was not discreet about taking the food.

Funeral directors quickly alerted families to what was going on. Some had no problem with him being there, but one confronted him and asked him to leave.

He stopped coming after one staff member took the man aside, telling him he could still come to funerals but could not take food home with him.

The man was not the only person to gatecrash funerals organised by the company, but he was the hungriest. "I've been here for 17 years and this is the first time that's happened. It's on the far end of the scale."

The food on offer at funerals usually included quiches, sausage rolls, club sandwiches, biscuits, muffins and pikelets – "all finger food easily dealt with".

Funeral Directors Association president Tony Garing said such cases happened in the industry from time to time.

But it was difficult to stop people from coming – or call their behaviour theft – because funerals were usually public events, he said.

"If it's in a church, or even in a funeral home, if a notice has been published in the paper, it's essentially a public event. That makes it a bit hard to keep people out."


Monday, March 1, 2010

Dead Woman Starts Breathing Again in Funeral Home

Funeral workers in Colombia got a bit of a surprise when a supposedly dead woman they were preparing for burial started breathing and moving.

The woman had been pronounced dead hours earlier at a hospital in Cali, in western Colombia, after she suffered multiple organ failure due to complications related to multiple sclerosis.

After multiple resuscitation attempts had apparently failed, the doctors pronounced the woman dead and sent her to the funeral home.

But as the workers began to apply formaldehyde to her body, she started breathing again and began making movements.

Doctors identified it as a case of 'Lazarus syndrome', an extremely rare phenomenon in which the circulation spontaneously restarts after failed resuscitation.

The woman was returned to the hospital, where she remains in a coma.