What runs through the minds of people who have faked their own death?
Maybe people think they can get away with faking their own death because it becomes romanticized in literature, films, and TV shows. Time and again it proves impossible, and authorities reveal their identity. We have brought together a list of 7 regular and famous people who faked their own death.
1. Ken Kesey
Most famous for his novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey became deeply involved with drugs after taking part in the notorious CIA’s LSD experiments. After being arrested for possessing marijuana in 1965, he decided to create an elaborate plan to fake his death.
With the help of friends, Kesey staged what appeared to be a drowning suicide, and they pushed his truck over a cliff. He hid in Mexico for eight months before returning to the US, where he was immediately arrested and given a 5-year jail term.
2. Alison Matera
27-year-old Alison Matera went to absolute extremes to avoid being in her church choir. Rather than just quit, she decided to tell the other choir members that she was dying of cancer. Matera even gave them updates on her treatment throughout the following year.
Eventually, her tale became more elaborate as she pretended to be a nurse, and her own sister, reporting from hospice care, and ultimately reporting that she had supposedly died. She even attended the church memorial service as her “sister.”
This aroused suspicions and police later found her alive and healthy in her apartment. Authorities ultimately did not arrest her as her actions were the result of having a severe attachment disorder.
3. Philip Sessarego
Disappointed with failing to become a member of the SAS, this military man wished to still live within his James Bond fantasy when he faked his death by supposedly stepping on a Bosnian landmine. Changing his name to Tom Carew, he put all of his fantasies into a book called Jihad! Additionally, this book also became serialized by the New York Times.
The day before 9/11 it was released as a paperback. Due to the timing, he took part in interviews as he purported to be a terrorist tactic expert. His children recognized him, and the game was up.
He eventually died alone in an Antwerp garage in 2009, a complete recluse.
4. Harry Gordon
The former multimillionaire Harry Gordon claimed that dangerous liaisons with the Russian mafia drove him to fake his death. A coroner’s inquest declared that they assumed he was dead after his boat was found washed aground of the Karuah River, in Australia. In reality, he had juggled an elaborate ruse that had him hide in numerous countries, and led him to commit bigamy.
Eventually, his brother crossed paths with him on a hike, and he convinced Gordon’s first wife to go to the police. Finally, she admitted to knowing he had faked his death, and authorities charged her. He ultimately returned to Australia and was also arrested.
Gordon eventually wrote a book while he was in prison entitled The Harry Gordon Story: How I Faked My Own Death.
5. Lord Timothy Dexter
An eccentric fellow, Timothy Dexter was born in 1748 in Massachusetts. He proclaimed himself a Lord and became a self-made man, despite never being educated. He even published a book with hideous spelling, which contained no punctuation. Strangely it became hugely popular.
Out of curiosity, he decided one day to fake his own death, as he was curious to know what people would say about him at his funeral. And because his wife showed no tears or sympathy, 3000 mourners turned up to grieve him. He decided not to reveal the truth. He later beat up his wife for not crying over his death.
6. Clay Daniels
Many wished that Clay Daniels had really died. Even at his fake funeral, his best friend called him “an asshole” during the eulogy.
Daniels was an unemployed 24-year-old sex offender. Recently, he had been sentenced to a month in prison with an additional ten years probation, after molesting his 7-year-old cousin.
He decided to set up a convoluted death scene. Daniels tried to make it appear that he had driven off a cliff and burned to death. However, five months later police realized the charred body in Daniel’s car was, in fact, a woman, when the DNA tests came back.
Police decided to follow Daniel’s girlfriend 24 hours a day. Very soon, authorities revealed that her “new boyfriend” was, in fact, Daniels with dyed hair. Molly was given 20 years in prison for covering forRecentlyniels was given 50 years in total for the original crimes, plus the faked death.
7. John Stonehouse
After committing countless acts of forgery, theft, and fraud, this British Labor MP decided to reenact the popular TV program of the time. The program was called The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. Stonehouse set out to make it appear that he had drowned off the coast of Miami, in 1974.
Later he was discovered living in Australia with his secretary. Furthermore, he had been using the identity of a former constituent who had previously died. After he had returned, he refused to resign his MP role. This was even when spending time in Brixton Prison. He even addressed the House of Commons in 1975 when released on bail.