Man turns up alive at his own wake
IF THERE’S one sure-fire way to make sure your funeral is remembered, it’s turning up at it alive.
That, at least, was the experience of Gilberto Araujo, a 41-year-old car-washer from Brazil whose unexpected arrival at his own wake reportedly sparked terror and then delight among his family and friends.
Araujo’s family, from the town of Alagoinhas, about 110km (70 miles) from Salvador, had mistakenly identified a body in the local morgue as his and were mourning his death last Sunday night when the man they believed was in the coffin beside them showed up at the front door. “A friend told me there was a coffin and that I was inside it,” he said. “I said, ‘Guys, I’m alive – pinch me’,” Araujo was quoted by the O Globo website.
His appearance prompted some people to faint and others to flee in panic. His mother, Maria Menezes, a shopkeeper, said: “It was a fright. I’m very happy because what mother has a son that they say is dead then turns up alive?”
The mix-up is reported to have stemmed from the fact that another car-washer in the town, who closely resembled Araujo, was murdered at the weekend, and police called Araujo’s brother, Jose Marcos, to tell him they believed his brother was the dead man. The brother wrongly identified the body. “Police called my husband and told him that his brother had been killed and his body was at the morgue,” Jose Marcos Araujo’s wife, Ana Paula, said.
Araujo said he had learned of the mistake from an acquaintance, who told him his family was setting off for his funeral. He had tried to tell them he was still alive by telephoning, he said, but his call was dismissed as a cruel prank. There seemed nothing for it but to turn up in person.
– (Guardian service)