This week in 1951, Life Magazine had a feature story about a guy with an unusual hobby: he rehearsed his own funeral.
Jim Gernhart had been a farmer in Burlington, Colorado for many years.
He’d worked hard, made friends, and hoped that, when his time came, people would want to pay their respects to him.
He just didn’t want to miss the chance to find out.
So at age 70, while still very much alive, Gernhart ordered himself a fancy casket and a headstone and organized a mock funeral.
He also arranged for the local paper to print a mock obituary.
It’s fair to say that the citizens of Burlington weren’t on board with the idea at first.
But Gernhart pressed forward anyway, and eventually he had eight pallbearers, 18 honorary pallbearers, and hundreds and hundreds of people on hand for the not-quite-memorial service.
He said later, it “does a man good to see so many people out to bury him.”
But while an entire funeral rehearsal might have been enough for many individuals, Gernhart decided to keep going.
He did it all again, and again, and again, once a year for 25 years.
With each ceremony he gained a little more notoriety for being the guy who held his funeral over and over while he was still alive.
Jim Gernhart lived to the age of 103, and when it was time for his actual funeral, people knew exactly what to do.
This weekend in Littleton, Colorado, it’s the Unicorn Festival!
Organizers say there will be over 20 unicorns on hand, and you can meet them, take selfies with them, or show up dressed to look like them.
Jim Gernhart, the living corpse (Weird Universe)