5 Amazing Things Accomplished By Dead People

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by Cezary Jan Strusiewicz

The great thing about death is that it takes so much pressure off you. Once you shove off your mortal coil, all you have to concern yourself with is lying in the ground/swamp/backyard of the guy you thought you were buying a TV from, and that’s it. No taxes to pay, no love problems, no pressure to succeed, nothing. Plus, it’s now socially unacceptable for your enemies to talk crap about you in public. At the risk of sounding morbid, it’s a pretty sweet deal. But then a bunch of overachieving buttholes had to go and ruin it for everyone by accomplishing unbelievable things after their deaths. So now, it’s not enough to have simply led an exciting LIFE; you also have to lead an exciting death. For instance ...


A Jockey Dies During A Race And Still Wins

The key to winning horse races, other than a fast horse, is a small, lightweight jockey. If you were to take all the most successful jockeys in history and line them up, they’d stretch from HERE to HERE. We don’t care what size monitor you’re using, we still say that is a fairly accurate measurement. But back to the point: souls. As it turns out, jockeys are the ultimate proof that souls exist and have a lot of mass because a horse jockey once died mid-race, and that sudden weight loss apparently gave his horse enough fast juice to finish the race in first place.

On June 4 1923, Frank Hayes was riding his horse “Sweet Kiss” at Belmont Park in New York. Unfortunately, it turned out that his pony’s name was short for “Sweet Kiss of Death” because Hayes suffered a heart attack mid-saddle, dying instantly. For most people, having someone die atop of them results in instant panic and a lifetime of celibacy/therapy. Not for Sweet Kiss, though. Being freed from the crushing weight of Hayes’ spirit, the horse shot up during the final stretch and actually ended up winning against 20-1 odds. Reports of the other, humiliated jockeys later trying to drown their sorrows in thimbles of booze remain unconfirmed.

An actual photo of his death. In the 1920s, all of existence was a crude cartoon.

Frank Hayes is credited as the first dead sportsman ever to win a race ... while your gym membership card probably still has the gym’s MySpace address on it.

A Guy Who Was Dead For 30 Hours Fathers A Child

Fatherhood is a great responsibility. Sure, you get to wear socks with sandals and convince your kids that the color blue doesn’t really exist, but you’re also responsible for creating and shaping an actual human being. No one should go into it lightheartedly. Or after their death, at least according to the Social Security Administration.

In 1995, Bruce Vernoff tragically died from an allergic response. However, about 30 hours after his death, his wife Gabriela had a doctor extract and freeze Bruce’s sperm. Three years later, she used the frozen brogurt to impregnate herself, eventually giving birth to a healthy baby girl that defied all logic. Not because she was born in an artificial fashion, but because after going to so much trouble to make her, her mother ended up naming her “Brandalynn.”



It means undead child of the damned.

In any case, the mother eventually applied for benefits for Brandalynn (which would be paid from Bruce’s insurance policy). However, the Social Security Administration decided that since it was impossible to tell if Bruce ever wanted children or not, legally he wasn’t responsible for financially supporting her. Off the record, though, they did agree that this totally counted as scoring after death, after which they all looked up into the big green heavens and gave Bruce a final thumbs-up.

Real Dead Bodies Were Used In Movies All The Time

Breaking into the movie business is not easy. You need to take acting lessons, go to auditions, make connections, and deal with “fans” sending you death threats. But it turns out there was an easier way all along: simply die and wait for someone to use your corpse as a movie prop. It’s happened more often than you think.

For example, remember the swimming pool full of skeletons near the end of Poltergeist?

Here’s the thing: those are actual human remains that Spielberg and Co. bought from the Carolina Biological Supply Company. CBSC usually supplies science materials to teachers, which used to include real human skeletons from people who donated their bodies to science (personally, we’re planning to leave our bodies to music so it can make trombones. We’ll let ourselves out.) And, well, back in the 1980s, fake human remains were apparently hard to come by, so the movie simply used the real things. Without telling any of the actors.




At least when prop genius Tom Savini used a real human skeleton in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, he had no idea that he was actually working with the genuine calcium center of a human Tootsie Pop. Yeah, there’s a skeleton early on in the movie that Savini borrowed from a prop collector who later sold it to a costume shop where a policeman finally identified it as human remains. The skeleton turned out to be over 100 years old, though, so no one involved with its prolonged desecration went to jail. Hell, maybe, but not jail.

Getting Married After Death Is More Common Than You Think

Marriage has slowly been falling out of fashion, because when you think about it, it’s a huge gamble. You’re essentially betting half your stuff and your mental health on wanting to have sex with only one person for the rest of your life (more if your S.O. is very open-minded and/or gullible). On the other hand, though, it’s also about more than that. It’s also about the linking of souls and two people becoming one. That’s beautiful ... and also depressing, seeing as there are dead people who’ve managed to do it while you are still so totally and hopelessly alone.

In France, for example, “posthumous marriages” have been legal for the past 60 years in cases of people who were planning to get married but then the universe was all like “WHY DO THEY DESERVE TO BE HAPPY?!” and threw a heart attack at one of them. This is exactly what happened to a woman identified only as Pascale when her fiancé Michael died in 2012. After writing to the President and proving that the couple was planning to wed, Pascale got an OK to go ahead with the wedding and marry her dead boyfriend.

To be fair, weddings of this sort are fairly rare in France. But they are super common in certain parts of rural China, appropriately called the “France but more” of Asia ... by only me. There is a rural Chinese folk custom known as “minghun” or “afterlife marriage” where parents of dead bachelors procure a dead girl and bury the two together so that their son doesn’t get lonely in the afterlife. Where do they get the dead girl, you ask? There is a profession for it. Sort of a corpse bounty hunter, which by the way is an idea that we’ve been pitching to Syfy for months without any response.



You may now ki- wait, you dont have lips ... tooth-bump the bride.

In any case, the joint burial is supposed to symbolically “marry” the deceased, guaranteeing them a happy afterlife. Presumably the parents also bury the newlyweds with a bunch of condoms with holes poked in them because, hey, dead or not, mom and dad are getting those grandchildren.

A Dead Guy’s Corpse Was Put On Trial And Then Executed

Let’s turn back the clock to the late 9th century when two dudes were fighting for the position of the Holy Roman Emperor. Pope Formosus crowned one of them, then got out from the middle of their fight by strategically dying. That’s when the second guy, Lambert, entered Rome and had a chat with the new pope.

Lambert wanted to legitimize his rule and get one over Formosus by retroactively stripping him of his papacy. To do that, he ordered Pope Stephen VI to exhume Formosus and put his corpse on trial in what came to be known as the Cadaver Synod. The ex-pope was accused of perjury and taking the papacy illegitimately but ... seeing as he couldn’t defend himself, they really could have had some fun with it. Did Formosus travel back in time to kick baby Jesus in the shins? Did he write erotic fanfiction about snake-Satan and plague horses? Those are the questions that could have been asked of the dead defendant if someone back then had a sense of humor about putting a corpse on trial.

YOU let the dogs out!

Anyway, Formosus was obviously found guilty and declared a fake pope. A faux pope, if you will. He was then sentenced to death because, sure, why not take this insanity up a notch? The corpse was then cut up and thrown into the Tiber River. In the end, though, the whole thing was re-retconned when Stephen VI was strangled to death and Formosus’ corpse officially pardoned. Aw, we love happy endings!

Like this article? Check out The Bizarre Origins Of 5 Totally Ordinary Things and 5 Laughably Stupid (But Real) Details From Famous Historical Moments.

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