Funerals can be awkward events for most people. Those who show up to provide emotional support to the grieving family frequently find themselves at a loss for words. Repeated expressions of, “I’m sorry for your loss” start to sound trite.
For that reason, one can’t really fault Jacques de Putron for trying something different. He attended the funeral for a friend in Lyon, France. He could tell that the grieving widow, Claudia Sassi, was beginning to buckle under the weight of sorrow. He decided she would benefit from a dose of levity.
Putron happened to be a ventriloquist. In a well-meaning — if ill-timed — moment of inspiration, he used his voice-throwing skills, causing the cry of, “Let me out!” emerge from the coffin.
His efforts were successful in getting the widow’s mind off of her grief. Unfortunately, rather than seeing her sad expression turn to joy, Putron watched as Claudia clutched her chest in shock, collapsed to the floor, and died on the spot.
If you are looking for a bright side to this sad story, her death at a funeral parlor spared the family the trouble of arranging transport for her body.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story appears in multiple sources, such as Tooele Transcript Bulletin, January 26, 2006, page B8. Each time it shows up, it is lacking any kind of specificity about the date or name of the deceased. It is, therefore, in all likelihood an urban legend. It is such a good story, though, that it falls within the category of “If it isn’t true, it should be.”