Saturday, 28 January 2023 05:47

Man fakes his own death to see who would attend his funeral

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A Brazilian man sparked the outrage of his friends and family after he faked his death out of pure curiosity, to see who would attend his funeral.

As an experienced ‘ceremonialist‘, a sort of master of ceremonies for various kinds of events, 60-year-old Baltazar Lemos had conducted hundreds of funerals, some of which had been attended by as few as 2 people, others by as many as 500. Recently, he had been thinking about how many of his friends and family would come to pay their respects and bid him farewell when he died, and since he couldn’t really know if he actually kicked the bucket, he decided to fake his deathand see how many people showed up to his funeral.

On January 10, someone posted an ominous message on Baltazar Lemos’ social media, announcing that “At the beginning of this sad afternoon, Baltazar Lemos left us. More information coming soon”. A day before, a photo taken in front of the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo had been posted, implying that the ceremonialist had been admitted there, so everyone assumed the worst.

Lemos’ family was stunned by the announcement, as no one even knew he had been in the hospital. One of his nephews rushed to the Albert Einstein hospital to ask about him, but the staff had no record of a Baltazar Lemos being admitted there in the past few days.

As Baltazar’s online friends started sharing the tragic news of his passing, people started paying their respects in the comments and asking about the cause of death. No explanation was given, but instead, the time and place of the wake and funeral ceremony were posted on the ceremonialist’s Facebook account.

On the 18th of January, friends and family of Baltazar Lemos gathered in a small chapel in his native city of Curitiba for what they expected to be a funeral. At one point, Baltazar’s voice started recounting his life, and some of those in attendance started crying thinking it was a recording of the deceased. Then the altar doors opened and he stepped out in front of everyone.

As you can imagine, the best way to describe people’s reaction to seeing Baltazar is ‘confusion’. Some people started crying, and others were left with their mouths open, but as soon as he explained that he had faked his death to see who would attend his funeral, attendees started accusing him of cruelty.

“You got what you wanted Baltazar, to draw attention. In all the groups of event photographers, people are talking about your ‘death’. Everyone was mourning. What a ridiculous joke! I think you should take a picture with everyone who mourned your supposed death. I don’t know you personally and I hope I don’t ever meet you,” one person commented online after learning the truth.

Baltazar Lemos’ story spread like wildfire on social media, and soon news agencies were contacting him to learn more about his motivation. He explained that he never wanted to cause people grief, but that this was the only way to know who would mourn him after his inevitable passing.

“I had the idea five months ago. I wanted to make it look like I really died. People interpreted it in their own way. The truth is that I wanted to know who would come to my wake,” Lemos said. “I didn’t tell anyone, because I hoped it would work out. I had no intention of hurting, offending, or causing any harm to anyone. I truly apologize to these people.”

The ceremonialist’s apologies mostly fell on deaf ears, especially after people learned that he has a wheelchair-bound mother in her eighties who could have had a heart attack at the news of his death. That’s not to mention the grief in all his family, friends, and colleagues.

“I’ve known him since 2001. I thought the story was horrible. I spent one day sad and the other very indignant. For me, he died on the 17th, when I found out everything. It was in very bad taste,” an event planner that used to work with Baltazar Lemos said.


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