It’s nice to think that someday, if we wanted to, we could quit our job, pack up our stuff, move someplace totally new, and just start over: a clean slate, a fresh start.
But most of us would be happy to just make a change or two in our lives – move to a new city, get a new job – if we’re really feeling some major ennui. For other people, though, that’s just not enough. They don’t just want to start over; they want a whole new life! Here are some people who took the extreme route and faked their own deaths.
1. John Stonehouse.
John Stonehouse was a British politician who decided to fake his own death after some bad finance decisions got him in trouble. He threw some old clothes in the ocean and the British government presumed he had drowned. He was discovered in Australia months later when a banker noticed he was moving money around with two different names. Originally, the British police thought John was another man who faked his death around the same time to dodge jail time for a murder.
2. Fredrich Gulda.
Though he was one of the twentieth century’s most respected piano players, Gulda once felt he had to fake his own death to prove how popular he was. He sent out a press release for a concert saying that he had died and there was to be a tribute concert in his honor. Many people attended and were surprised that Gulda himself played a number.
3. David Friedland.
David Friedland was a democratic senator from New Jersey who faked his own death after charges of racketeering. Friedland dove from a boat off the coast of Grand Bahama and never surfaced. Apparently, he was wearing scuba gear and escaped. Marshals saw evidence of Friedland in Kenya, Paris, Singapore, Venice, and Hong Kong before he was finally caught in the island nation of Maldives.
4. Philip Sessarago.
Philip Sessarago was a British soldier who led his family and the British government to believe he had died due to a car bomb explosion. It turns out Sessarago changed his name, started another life in another part of England, and even wrote a book about Jihad that almost made it to the New York Times Best Seller’s List.
5. Dave Everett.
“Dangerous Dave” was once a soldier for the Australian army, but joined the Karen of Burma for a time. He went on a crime spree and became responsible for one of the biggest explosions in Australian history while raising money for liberation force. While awaiting trial, he faked his own death using a .22 rifle, but was caught after a 12 month manhunt.
While faking your death might seem easy, keeping all the lies straight in your new life would probably drive a person insane. Although I do like the idea of attending my own wake…
6. John Darwin.
Darwin and his wife Anne were plagued with debt, so he decided to fake his own death so she could collect the insurance money. In 2002, he purposefully wrecked his canoe and the British government pronounced him dead. Later in 2007, the Darwins, now living in Panama, came across new immigration laws in their new home that required Darwin to get the permission of the government to prove he was who he said he was. Darwin decided to turn himself in, claiming to the London police that he had forgotten the last five years of his life due to amnesia. The police didn’t buy it.
7. Ken Kesey.
The author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest once faked his own death to get out of jail time after being arrested for the possession of marijuana. He got his friends to leave his truck over a cliff along with a suicide note and helped him sneak into Mexico. He lived there for eight months. When he returned to America, the police found him and he served five months in jail.