View Tombstone Humor
Summary: Separating the real tombstone humor from the fake.
Tombstones are a surprisingly popular site for humor. In past centuries stone cutters and jocular relatives used tombstones as a place to leave final humorous remarks about departed ones. But some of the classic tales of tombstone humor turn out to be more fanciful than fact, and with the advent of photoshop it’s made it easy for any prankster to dream up epitaphs that should have been.
Below we separate some of the real tombstone humor from the fake.
In 2006 an email began circulating showing the picture (to the right) with the accompanying text:
“I got this from a woman online. A friend of hers died, who had a great sense of humor and always used to say that when she died she wanted a parking meter on her grave that says “Expired”. So her nephew got her one on ebay! She said that her grave is right by the road so everyone can see it and many people have stopped to get a chuckle.”
This grave marker really can be found in Highland Cemetery, Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. It marks the grave of Barbara Manire, who died on April 29, 2005.
With Friends Like These
An email that began circulating around 2002 showed a picture of a tombstone bearing an inscription that, at first, appeared to be standard sentimental verse, but on closer inspection revealed an insulting message. The inscription read:
FREE YOUR BODY AND SOUL
UNFOLD YOUR POWERFUL WINGS
CLIMB UP THE HIGHEST MOUNTAINS
KICK YOUR FEET UP IN THE AIR
YOU MAY NOW LIVE FOREVER
OR RETURN TO THIS EARTH
UNLESS YOU FEEL GOOD WHERE YOU ARE!
MISSED BY YOUR FRIENDS
This tombstone really does exist. It is located in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery. (The email mistakenly placed it in the nearby Mount Royal Cemetery.) It marks the grave of John Laird McCaffrey, who died on August 14, 1995, aged 54.
To find the insulting message, you need to look at the first letter of each line.
Reading downwards, they spell F - U - C - K - Y - O - U.
Kristian Gravenor, writing in the Montreal Mirror, provided some of the backstory to this tombstone:
The cryptic message occurred to the monument maker after he finished sandblasting it into stone.