Weird, Wild or Wonderful Things Buried with the Dead

Many unusual items presently rest with the dearly departed

BOGIE_MALTESE_FALCON.jpg
Humphrey Bogart in a scene from "The Maltese Falcon," 1941. Photo © Warner Brothers/Archive Photos/Moviepix/Getty Images

After years of searching the sands of Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter finally thrust a lit candle through a small hole in a doorway leading into King Tutankhamun's tomb on November 26, 1922, and described his first glimpse of the treasures buried with the boy-king 3,000 years earlier as "wonderful things."

While few people are buried with such grandeur today, that doesn't mean the items surviving loved ones choose to bury with the deceased (called "grave goods") lack meaning or can't prove just as memorable as the treasures found in King Tut's tomb.

This article offers 13 surprising examples of the weird, wild or wonderful items actually buried with the dead.

Humphrey Bogart

Already thrice-married, Hollywood legend Bogart allegedly fell quickly and deeply in love with his eventual fourth (and last) wife, Lauren Bacall, in 1944 during filming of To Have and Have Not, their first movie together. In the film, Bacall's character "Slim" utters this immortal cinematic line to Bogart's character: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." After Bogart's death on January 14, 1957, his cremated remains were interred with a gold charm bracelet whistle he'd given Bacall bearing the inscription "If you want anything, just whistle."

David Brenner

The comedian and frequent guest and guest host on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson died March 15, 2014. Ever the funnyman, Brenner was buried with small bills totaling $100 tucked into his left sock, "Just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going."

George Burns

The famous vaudeville, radio, television and movie comedian -- who portrayed the title deity in the 1977 film Oh, God! -- managed to live to age 100 despite smoking 10-15 cigars "on any given day" for most of his life. When Burns finally succumbed to the inevitable on March 9, 1996, he was buried three days later next to his beloved wife, Gracie (who'd died in 1964), bearing -- what else?

-- three of his favorite cigars.

Whitney Houston

Following her death by drowning in a bathtub on February 11, 2012, and her subsequent burial, the family and friends of singer Houston worried that "ghouls will plunder her resting place." According to reports published following her death at age 48, not only was the singer interred in a "gold-lined coffin worth tens of thousands of [British] pounds" on February 19, but she was also buried "wearing up to £300,000 of jewels and designer clothes." As of March 12, 2015, that's equivalent to nearly $447,000.

Michael Jackson

In addition to farewell notes written by Jackson's three children after the iconic pop singer's death on June 25, 2009, he was buried with a single white sparkly glove -- the same garment immortalized in his various music videos from the 1980s.

David Kime Jr.

Ignoring warnings from his doctor to improve his diet, Kime still "did what he wanted and ate what he wanted." Chief among the World War II Army veteran's vices was his predilection for Burger King fast food so, fittingly, when Kime died on January 20, 2013, at age 88, his loved one's incorporated his burger-love into his final farewell.

While transporting his body to the cemetery, the entire funeral procession passed through the drive-thru window of a Manchester Township, Pennsylvania, Burger King to pick up one of 40 Whopper Jr. hamburgers the family pre-ordered. And following the burial service at York's Prospect Hill Cemetery, one of those burgers was lovingly placed into Kime's casket.

Bela Lugosi

Born in Hungary in 1882, Lugosi achieved cinematic immortality by playing the title role in Universal Picture's 1931 horror film Dracula. Forever linked with the blood-sucking vampire he portrayed, Lugosi was buried wearing a replica of his Count Dracula cape after his death on August 16, 1956. (In 2011, the actual Count Dracula cape Lugosi wore during filming, which he'd given to his son, failed to sell despite pre-auction expectations that it would fetch roughly $2 million.)

Bob Marley

Buried May 21, 1981, legendary reggae musician Marley was interred in his home country of Jamaica following his death from cancer 10 days earlier. Believing marijuana was the "herb of life," Marley was buried with his "...red Gibson Les Paul guitar, a Bible opened at Psalm 23, and a stalk of ganja [marijuana] placed there by his widow."

Harland Sanders

You might not recognize his name, but you've probably enjoyed the culinary legacy he created as "Colonel Sanders." He founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise, and while his military rank title might have been honorary, fast-food entrepreneur Sanders clearly knew how to cook a tasty bird, resulting in the rapid expansion of KFC franchises after the first one opened in 1952. Following his death on December 16, 1980, Sanders was buried wearing the "uniform" he'd worn and made famous since 1950 -- an all-white suit and black string tie.

Frank Sinatra

A television commercial released in 2014 by whiskey-maker Jack Daniels states that singer Sinatra loved this brand of liquor so much, it was "on stage, every night" during his performances, and that "...he's even buried with a bottle of it." As it turns out, Ol' Blue Eyes really was buried with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Reuben John Smith

According to a newspaper account published January 25, 1899 -- one day after he died -- Smith dreaded "being buried beneath six feet of earth" so he ordered the construction of a "marble and brick sarcophagus" within the Mount Prospect Cemetery in Amesbury, Massachusetts. When he fell ill about two weeks before his death, he purchased an "upholstered reclining chair" and left instructions that his corpse was to be placed seated upon this chair inside of his mausoleum. Afterward, the key used to lock the steel door was thrown away and the entrance bricked-up like the other three walls. Smith's unseen remains still sit comfortably this way today.

Sandra West

Apparently trying to disprove the old adage "You can't take it with you," millionaire-widow West was buried wearing a white lace nightgown following her death on March 10, 1977, at age 37. What makes her interment memorable, however, is not the nightgown she wore but the fact that she was buried sitting in her blue 1964 Ferrari sports car, with her seat "slanted comfortably," according to a newspaper report published at the time.

Western Han Dynasty's King

The phrase "I've got to go" can apply to both the inevitability of death and a far more "regular" daily bodily function, but never before did this duality collide more profoundly than in the year 2000. At that time, Chinese archaeologists discovered an actual working toilet in the tomb of a dynastic Chinese king who died in the year A.D. 24. Not only did this 2,000-year-old stone toilet include an armrest for comfort, but it also used running water, just like modern toilets.

You Might Also Like:
The Dying Words of Famous Actors & Actresses

Sources:
"The love that saved Humphrey Bogart" by Neil Norman, February 14, 2011. Daily Express. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://www.express.co.uk/expressyourself/228967/The-love-that-saved-Humphrey-Bogart

"Popular Comedian David Brenner Dies At 78," March 15, 2014. CBS/Associated Press. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/03/15/popular-comedian-david-brenner-dies-at-78

"Remembering George Burns" by The Editors, Summer 1996. Cigar Aficionado. Retrieved March 12, 2015.  http://www.cigaraficionado.com/webfeatures/show/id/Tribute-Remembering-George-Burns_7620

"Whitney Grave Robbers" by Aaron Tinney, February 24, 2012. Daily Star. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/237116/WHITNEY-GRAVE-ROBBERS

"Michael Jackson to be buried in a gold casket - encased in cement - says brother Marlon" by Kate Mansey, August 9, 2009. Daily Mirror. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/michael-jackson-to-be-buried-in-a-gold-casket-415559

"He had it his way: Father's funeral stops at Burger King drive-thru so tearful daughter can bury him with one last Whopper Jr." by James Nye, January 28, 2013. Daily Mail. Retrieved March 12, 2015.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2269074/Drive-funeral-Tearful-daughter-gets-father-Burger-King-Whopper-Jr.html

"Bela Lugosi's 'Dracula' Cape To Be Auctioned Off," November 1, 2011. NPR. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://www.npr.org/2011/11/01/141895733/last-word

"Bob Marley's funeral, 21 May 1981: a day of Jamaican history" by Richard Williams, April 23, 2011. The Guardian. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/apr/24/bob-marley-funeral-richard-williams

"Col. Sanders buried in his white suit," December 21, 1980. Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1346&dat=19801221&id=6o9OAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SPsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3716,1466164

"A Curious Burial," January 25, 1889. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=106011148&PIpi=75976248

"Jack Daniels' 'Frank Sinatra' Whiskey Done His Way" by Colleen Curry, February 25, 2014. ABC News. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/02/jack-daniels-frank-sinatra-whiskey-done-his-way

"Sandra West buried in her blue Ferrari," May 20, 1977. UPI. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19770520&id=MaNVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=JeADAAAAIBAJ&pg=6922,5626880

"2,000-Year-Old Stone Toilet Unearthed in Chinese Tomb" by Thomas H. Maugh II, July 27, 2000. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 12, 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/2000/jul/27/local/me-60092

Continue Reading