It turns out some people take the phrase “gone but not forgotten” to a whole new level. We gotta admit, doing research for this piece on the weirdest reasons people faked their own death we ended up feeling like we’ve stepped into Pandora’s box. There’s a freaky world out there guys!
1. Attention seekers
In unusual cases, individuals have faked their deaths as a form of extreme attention-seeking behavior, drawing sympathy and concern from friends and family.
Here we have TikTok creator David Baerten who in June 2023 faked his own death. He decides to pull off the ultimate stunt – faking his own death and then swooping into his own funeral in a freaking helicopter. I mean, seriously, who comes up with this stuff? David does, apparently. Mr. Baerten spills the beans to his fam about this wild plan, and they’re all in on it, even dropping fake RIP messages on social media. David spills the tea to The Times, saying he did it to school his wider family about the importance of staying connected. He felt left out, unappreciated – you know the drill. He wanted to show them you don’t wait until someone’s pushing up daisies to reconnect. The emotional reunion clip, though? TikTok gold. Friends and fam rush over, hugs, tears, the whole emotional rollercoaster. David’s buddy Thomas spills the tea, saying they love him despite the fake-out. Drama level: EPIC.
As expected, in rare instances, people have faked their own deaths out of pure revenge.
Small warning though, this is a bit of a wild ride: Sohan Lal, 32, from New Delhi, went as far as killing someone that somehow resembled him and along with his father, brother and a friend, tried to pass the blame onto his wife. Apparently she had been unfaithful and rather than breaking up he decided to go all CSI. In a plot twist that no one expected, his father, his wife and her brothers were arrested. Sohan ended up marrying the sister of the guy his wife has been unfaithful with. And he did so the night his family killed the poor doppelganger.
3. Romantic deception
Faking one’s death to escape a romantic relationship or to test a partner’s loyalty might sound odd but it happens.
Ann Gray, 29 and from the UK, stumbled upon what she calls a “bad date”. They met on an online dating site and by their third date she knew they weren’t a match so she decided to call it quits. Well, the guy didn’t seem to mind the fact that she wanted out. “He continued to message me and the day came when he sent me one stating ‘I think we need to have a date tonight! I will be around your house in 30 minutes.” Enter the next phase, where she pretends to be her sister letting him know she’s very sick and therefore unable to chat. He then decides to visit her in the hospital so more lies had to be told. Fast forward, she’s forced to pull out the big guns: he’s informed she’s dead. The messages stop but when he discovers her again on the dating site he ends up sending some very upsetting messages. Last we heard from Ann, she was “currently engaged to be married and not dead.”
4. Avoiding marriage
With arranged marriages still being a thing, people have been known to fake their deaths so they could avoid them. And we kinda understand that, to some degree. But what about marriages where they both decide it would be a great idea to spend the rest of their lives together?
Tucker Blandford enters the chat. British Alex Lanchester and American Tucker Blandford, both 23, were ready to get married. Everything was going according to plan up until the moment Alex got a call from her fiance’s dad – which was in fact Tucker using a voice changer – telling her Alex is dead. But surprise, surprise, the truth comes out. I can only imagine the epic showdown when Alex discovers her “dead” fiancé is actually chilling somewhere. Tucker’s reaction was priceless: “I know I shouldn’t have told her I was dead, but I didn’t know what else to do.” Dude, ghosting is so last season.
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Is faking your own death illegal?
Apparently, in most states/countries this isn’t considered illegal but the things you have to do in order to appear dead might be. Things like filling a police report, having your close ones lie to the police, and so on.
What are other reasons people fake their death?
This one is a common one. Some have gone to great lengths to create their own scenarios, staging accidents or claiming to have drowned were too easy for them.
To escape debt
Some people fake their deaths to escape overwhelming debt, hoping creditors will stop pursuing them after their supposed demise.
Occasionally, people fake their deaths as a way to start over with a new identity, often due to a troubled past or legal issues.
Avoiding legal consequences
Some people fake their deaths to avoid legal consequences, like criminal charges, lawsuits, or outstanding warrants.
This is for eccentric personalities. They may stage their deaths as a social experiment or artistic performance, testing the reactions of those around them.