Unusual Things People Leave At The Graves Of 16 Historical Figures - And Why

Voting Rules
Vote up the most fascinating items left at the graves of historical figures.

It's common to leave items at the graves of loved ones, notable figures, and even total strangers. They serve as symbols of love, respect, and admiration. Graveside gifts also allow the living to establish an enduring connection with people who have passed.

In some cultures, food and drink are a regular part of honoring the dead, while flowers, candles, and stuffed animals are among the most traditional things left at graves. Some final resting places have become repositories for more unusual items, ones that may give you pause. Out of context, these graveside offerings seem odd, but they often have a unique - and fascinating - story behind them.

Vote up the items left at some historical figures' graves that may never look the same again. 

Photo: SK49 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 3.0

  • 1
    1,765 VOTES

    Bananas Sit Atop Miss Baker's Grave

    Miss Baker wasn't the first animal sent into space, but she was one of the first to come back alive. In 1959, she and another monkey (named Able) were launched into the Earth's orbit aboard a Jupiter rocket. Their time in space amounted to 16 minutes, and their safe return marked a major milestone for the space program. 

    Able died soon after their return, but Miss Baker lived until 1984. She was buried outside the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL, where visitors leave bananas to honor her. 

    1,765 votes
  • Sergei Diaghilev is considered one of the most influential figures in the world of dance, credited with reviving ballet in Europe and Russia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Diaghilev was a patron of the arts in general and established the Ballets Russes in Paris in 1909, but was never a dancer himself.

    Diaghilev died in Venice, Italy, in 1929, where he is buried. His grave is adorned with toe shoes to honor his legacy. 

    1,294 votes
  • At the gravesite of Susan B. Anthony, a pioneer in the women's suffrage movement in the US, individuals used to leave small tributes to her efforts each Election Day - their "I Voted" stickers.

    Anthony is buried in Rochester, NY, at Mount Hope Cemetery where, in 2020, local officials ended the practice by covering her tombstone with a plastic shield. This was done to protect the grave marker from glue and materials used to clean it.

    In lieu of directly placing stickers on the headstone, visitors now stick them on the shield instead. 

    2,123 votes
  • Roald Dahl's favorite vegetable was reportedly the onion, which can be found at his grave in Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire, England. The prolific writer of famous books like Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach is also gifted with toys from children (and adults) who adore his work. Naturally, peaches are often left at Dahl's grave, too. 

    1,110 votes
  • 5
    1,147 VOTES

    Douglas Adams Gets Ballpoint Pens At His Grave

    In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, author Douglas Adams wrote these lines:

    Somewhere in the cosmos along with all the planets inhabited by humanoids, reptiloids, fishoids, walking treeoids, and superintelligent shades of the color blue, there was also a planet entirely given over to ballpoint life forms. And it was to this planet that unattended ballpoints would make their way, slipping away quietly through wormholes in space to a world where they knew they could enjoy a uniquely ballpointoid lifestyle, responding to highly ballpoint-oriented stimuli, and generally leading the ballpoint equivalent of the good life.

    To honor Adams, his work, and the color blue, ink pens are left in a container in front of his grave in Highgate Cemetery in London. There are also towels and a nearby sign with the number "42." 

    1,147 votes
  • As the King of Prussia from 1740 to 1786, Frederick II was the longest reigning ruler from the Hohenzollern line. He was a skilled military leader and a patron of scholarship and the arts in Prussia, credited with reforming domestic and foreign affairs alike.

    One of his efforts reportedly involved the introduction of the potato to Prussia, an agricultural gem that provided nutritional and economic benefits to his subjects. As a result of bringing the potato to Prussia, visitors to Frederick's grave in Potsdam, Germany regularly leave spuds as offerings to "Old Fritz."

    1,005 votes