true stories People Who Surprised Everyone By Showing Up To (Or Waking Up At) Their Own Funerals  

Lee Emjay
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When you think of zombies or the undead, you probably think of "walkers" á la The Walking Dead - the exaggerated, lumbering, green-fleshed corpses that still have a hint of agency behind lifeless eyes. But what if, sometimes, the dead really do come back - literally or figuratively - and reenter the world of the living again as if nothing ever happened? It sounds strange, but it's true; there are many bizarre accounts of people waking up in the middle of their own funerals as well as people who attended their own funerals by some bizarre twist of fate.

Whether it's because of a mix-up at the morgue, a narcissistic ploy at eliciting pity from others, or a medical mistake, people have come back from the dead before. Sometimes it's as simple as a case of mistaken identity. Everyone thinks a young man is dead, but he proves everyone wrong by showing up dramatically to his own funeral. Or maybe an older gentleman needs some proof that he'll be missed, so he plans his own funeral just to see who shows up. Or perhaps  - most terrifyingly of all - someone is declared dead and buried, only to "awaken" and show they weren't dead after all.

It can be terrifying stuff, but strange things happen in the world. Whether you think of zombies as movie monsters or not, they are among us, in one form or another. 

A Woman Surprised Her Murderous Husband At Her Own Funeral


The story of Noela Rukundo, a Burundi expatriate living in Australia who married an evil man with a penchant for extreme violence, is one of betrayal, redemption, and sweet revenge. It's almost unbelievable. 

While attending the funeral of her stepmother in Burundi in 2015, Rukundo was kidnapped from her hotel by several armed men. She was taken to a warehouse, where her kidnappers demanded to know what she'd done to her husband Berenga Kalala. They were working for him and intended to kill her at his request. Tied up in a chair and faced with the voice of her husband over speakerphone demanding the men kill her, Rukundo fainted. 

She regained consciousness some time later, still being held by the men. Luckily, the men had a sort of code - they didn't kill women, and they knew of Rukundo's brother. So they let her go. In the meantime, Kalala had told everyone that Rukundo had died in a car accident, and he planned her funeral service. In a shockingly dramatic move, Rukundo showed up to her own funeral, telling everyone the truth. The dumbfounded Belenga thought he'd seen a ghost and admitted to everything. He was given nine years in prison. 

En Route To His Own Burial, A Teenage Boy From India Turned Out To Be Alive After All


Kumar Marewad, a 17-year-old boy from a small Indian village, was rushed to a local hospital after being badly bitten by a feral dog. While on a ventilator, he developed a high fever. Certain he would die, doctors sent the boy home to spend his final moments with his family. Professionals told the boy's family "that if he was taken off life support, he wouldn’t survive."

Once it seemed like Marewad had passed on, his family made hasty funeral arrangements and carted him off to the nearby location of his funeral service. While in transit, though, a miracle happened - the boy began breathing quickly and moving his limbs. He was still alive. His family immediately rushed him back to the hospital, where it was discovered he was suffering from a bad infection due to the dog bite but was totally alive and kicking.

A Case Of Mistaken Identity Led A Brazilian Man To Attend His Own Memorial Service


In 2012, the family members of Gilberto Araújo, a professional car washer from Brazil, were busy making preparations for his funeral. They thought he'd been killed in an accident, and that his body had been disfigured beyond recognition.

As it turns out, Araújo wasn't dead after all - it was a case of mistaken identity. The actual body in the casket belonged to someone else, though Araújo's mother and family were unaware. After a call from a friend, Araújo sought to prove that he was, in fact, alive, so he showed up at his own wake to the simultaneous surprise and terror of his family. Some people even fled the service in panic at his seeming resurrection.

A Man From China Tested His Friends And Family By Staging A Funeral


In what some may consider a ludicrous cry for attention, a 66-year-old Chinese man once staged his own funeral just to see how many people would show up. In early 2016, Zhang Deyang, a man from China, felt that all of his good deeds and accomplishments in life had gone overlooked by people in his community. According to some Chinese traditions, the dead have many of the same needs as the living, so Deyang decided that he'd just test the waters to see just how much he'd be missed if he were really dead. 

While 40 of those he invited did show up to his fake funeral, it seems he wasn't missed quite as much as he wanted to be - 20 of his friends and relatives were no-shows.