How to Fake Your Own Death

I know, morbid title, right? I want to say up front that this is not something I’m considering. I mean, if I was, I wouldn’t be writing it on this blog. (Now I’m faced with the challenge of tagging this entry. “Humor,” I guess?) I’m not condoning this in any way.

However, I had a really interesting discussion about this topic yesterday with a forensic anthropologist, and I thought I’d share my findings and get your thoughts.

First and foremost, there needs to be a body. If there’s no body, you’re presumed missing, not dead. So you need to procure a dead body.

Second, unfortunately for the dead body, you’ll need to pull all of its teeth and then burn it. Apparently getting a DNA sample from the charred remains of a body is nearly impossible.

Third, you’ll need to cut off your finger or pull one of your teeth and burn them too, but not as much as the dead body. You’ll then plant the finger/tooth on the dead body for the forensic examiner to use to identify the body as you.

Fourth, you need to never been seen again. I have no advice for you there. Any ideas? I wouldn’t even know where to start. You’d need a fake passport, I’m sure. And some way to acquire all of the life insurance money. I don’t know how to do those things. Surely there’s a Seth Rogan movie that gives comical instructions on how to adopt a new identity.

Most morbid post ever? I hope I didn’t offend anyone’s sensibilities. Here’s a poll:


18 thoughts on “How to Fake Your Own Death”

  1. Can’t I just have a dentist pull a tooth, save it, and then plant it? (so as to be able to medically recover safely) Can people tell how fresh the tooth is if it’s burned?

    • Well, you can, but doesn’t the dentist have to be in on it? I don’t think dentists will randomly remove teeth without asking questions. But that does seem like a better, more hygienic route to take if you can avoid suspicion. As long as you get the full root, I think you could use the tooth quite some time later.

          • In Jamey’s scenario, you also have to have a dead body, which presupposes the willingness to kill a random person. So if we agree that ethics would go out the window at that point, then I guess you could fake mysterious unsolvable pain in a tooth that already has a filling, insist the entire tooth be removed by a dentist of your same sex and size, then kill the dentist. Voila, you have a body to burn.

            • Or what if you find a terminally ill dentist, have them pull your tooth, burn their body when they pass away, and split the insurance money with their family?

            • My dentist overcharges and has offensively hairy forearms if anyone needs a candidate.

              (For the record, normally hairy forearms don’t offend me, but if they are that close to my open mouth, it’s an issue.)

  2. With my luck, any one (or all) of these things would happen:

    * I would cut off one of my fingers, but forget to cut off the matching finger on the dead body. There would just be an extra finger laying around at the crime scene that made no sense.

    * I get my hands on a dead body, but it’s a 6’4 man.

    * I get a fake passport, but I accidentally picked the name of someone on the terrorist watch list.

    I watched or read something years ago where a character mentioned that if enough of your blood is spilled around the crime scene, they will declare you dead because no one could survive losing that much blood (maybe it was a liter?) Of course, someone was faking their death and had been drawing/collecting their blood for quite some time to get enough. I’m sure it’s just some kind of TV nonesense, but I always wonder if that has any truth to it…

    • Katie, if your luck is really that bad, there’s one more possibility:

      * Shortly after pulling all the teeth from the 6’4″ man body, you get hit by a truck. Because you’re carrying a bag of mystery teeth, your remains are subsequently mis-identified as the Tooth Fairy.

      Moral to the story: It’s all fun and games until you accidentally fake the Tooth Fairy’s death.

  3. Mr. Stegmaier, I’m definitely going to use your methodology when I’m famous and want to leave the limelight on a high. To create sort of a Marilyn Monroe effect. The whole having people guessing for decades kinda thing while I’m laying on a beach, my nine fingers wrapped around a glass of pina colada.

    I also love Katie’s blood theory. Although, tbh, I’d much prefer to be declared legally dead after 7 years

  4. As for claiming the insurance settlement, that would have to be planned well in advance. I say you buy the insurance and fake passport a couple of years ahead, and make the person named on the fake passport your beneficiary. Of course, you’ll have to come up with a good disguise to retrieve the money without hassle. Assuming that plastic surgery is a ridiculously expensive proposition, you could cut and color your hair, wear colored contacts, and maybe buy one of those body suits that makes you look rotund or pregnant or something – keep this in mind when buying the fake passport. Gee, I hope this reply doesn’t get me on some sort of FBI watch list or something. I’m just a writer, I swear.


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