RIO DE JANEIRO – A 41-year-old homeless car washer in town near Salvador, Bahia surprised friends and family when he attended his own wake Sunday, reported online media. The family of Gilberto Araujo mistakenly identified a corpse held by police as his. The misunderstanding cleared up only when he returned to his family home during the service.
‘Dead’ Man Attends His Own Wake
The strong resemblance between the dead man, whose identity is still unknown, and the car washer who the family had not seen recently, caused them to make the mistake. Even after police released the body for burial, none of the family members realized the error.
The wake occurred Sunday night, and throughout, the body remained on display. When Araujo showed up at the gathering, it caused quite a commotion. “It was a shock. Girls fell, fainted. People were running around. The street filled with bikes, cars, everything,” salesperson Maria Menezes told TV Subae.
After the shock wore off, the family canceled the funeral, scheduled for Monday morning, and returned the body to police. “We will have to start again from scratch [to identify the body],” said Deputy Glauco Suzart.
Araujo said he heard about his own death from a friend in the streets. He then called to talk to an acquaintance, who was at the wake but that person thought the call was a hoax and hung up. It was then that he decided to go to the gathering to show that he was alive.
“A colleague called me [saying] that they have a coffin, [that] it was me who was dead. So I told them ‘guys, but I’m alive, pinch me here’,” said Araujo.
Araujo’s brother, Jose Marcos Santana Santos, said that they last saw him at a family get-together about four months ago. “He only appears from time to time. We go a long time without seeing him. He lives here in Alagoinhas, but every day in a different place,” he said.
“I was very happy because what mother who has a son who they say is dead and then appears alive would not be,” said Araujo’s mother, Marina Santana.