A List of Weird Things Buried With People


A couple days ago, I read an article about the clay body parts buried with Ancient Italians. Then, I got to thinking about the grand Terracotta Army and then that Six Feet Under episode with the guy buried with comics books. What are the things we carry in the afterlife and why? To protect us in the next world? To keep our personal keepsakes out of the hands of others? Because we cannot bear to live die without it?

Eventually this led to thoughts on what I’d want to be buried with. My copy of Dracula. Wine. A photo of my cat, Diamond Joe. Pizza.

The following people were buried with odd and/or meaningful objects, from Doritos to swords.

  1. Reuben John Smith (a practical man from Massachusetts) “selected a new recliner chair of upholstered russet leather and was interred in a sitting position, with a checkerboard on his lap” (FindaGrave). He was buried in a warm coat with a key to his tomb in his second pocket.
  2. Arch West (marketing executive for Frito-Lay) was responsible for the development of Doritos. His family sprinkled Doritos in his open grave before his burial.
  3. Princess Diana was buried with rosary beads she received from Mother Teresa.
  4. Humphrey Bogart (actor) was buried with a whistle inscribed with “If you need anything, just whistle.” It was placed there by his 4th wife Lauren Bacall and was a line from the film To Have and To Have Not, a movie they both starred in.
  5. Sandra Ilene West (socialite) was buried sitting in the driver’s seat of her her 1964 Ferrari 330 America wearing her favorite lace nightgown.
  6. John Jacobs (attorney) was buried with his cell phone. His wife pays the bill monthly, and the number is even etched on his gravestone for anyone interested in leaving a voicemail.
  7. Frank Sinatra (singer) was buried with a flask full of Jack Daniels and a pack of Camel cigarettes.
  8. Bela Lugosi (actor) was buried in the Dracula cape he wore in the 1931 film.
  9. Roald Dahl (writer) was buried with chocolate, a bottle of Burgundy, snooker cues, pencils, and a power saw.
  10. Harry Houdini‘s (magician)  coffin was a specially designed solid bronze model with a hermetically sealed inner liner that he had used underwater in his act” (Smithsonian).
  11. David Kime‘s (burger lover) funeral procession stopped at his favorite food place, Burger King and everyone got a hamburger for the road. Even David got a burger, which was placed on his coffin before being lowered.
  12. Bob Marley (musician) was allegedly buried with his guitar and some weed.
  13. William Wise (Civil War Confederate Major) was buried with his horse, favorite hunting dog, and a sword. He was convinced he was going to hell and wanted to track down and kill Satan.

Have more? Share them in the comments!



3 thoughts on “A List of Weird Things Buried With People”

  1. Jonathan Balls of Happisburgh, Norfolk, England, was exhumed in 1846. He had died suddenly, as had several members of his family, and his exhumation was required as it was thought he had been poisoned. The exhumations of several family members showed that they had been poisoned with arsenic – as had Jonathan. And it seemed that Jonathan had been behind the murders.

    When the coffin was opened, it was discovered that Jonathan’s hands were full of plum-cake, and that he had been buried with two walking sticks, a fire-poker, and the toys of his recently deceased granddaughter (who it now seemed that he had poisoned).

    This seems utterly bizarre, but I wonder if it was a very old tradition; the plum-cake to sustain him in his journey in the afterlife, the fire-poker so that he would find a hearth where he might warm himself, the walking sticks because they’re quite useful if you’re getting on a bit, and the toys because he might happen to bump into the recently deceased child.

    This was mentioned in newspaper reports – so it seems that such grave burials were sufficiently unusual at the time to warrant a mention in the press. But then again – was it media embellishment to make an already unpleasantly odd story all the more uncanny?


    1. Helen, I love this story. Thank you so much for sharing. I especially love the explanations for each object. I’ve been reading about things buried with people to stop them from coming back to life. Very interestng.


      1. Maybe whoever chose to bury those goods with him knew about the murders and thought putting those things in the coffin with him would stop him coming back? “Take the walking sticks – two of ’em – and walk very far away! and have some plum-cake to keep you going.”

        I don’t know if the plum-cake was analysed for arsenic…. I’ve been watching the boxset of “Ghost Stories for Christmas” so now in my head this is a 1970s adaptation of an M R James ghost story. Lots of mist rolling in from the North Sea across the flat Norfolk coast.


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