We’ve posted before about sologamy, which is the term for marrying yourself. Back in 2017, we described it as a growing trend. But apparently the woman who gets credit for pioneering this practice was Janet Downes of Nebraska who, on June 27, 1998, married herself. She recited her vows in front of a mirror.
In 1998 I was about to celebrate my 40th birthday. I had a wedding theme planned for my party and everyone thought I was nuts. Maybe I am a little but I got tired of seeing everything in the stores that was related to ‘40’ being in black. So I decided to poke a little fun at society because I didn’t feel old. That coupled with the fact that after 19 years of adulthood, I was finally at a place in my life where I was happy with almost every aspect of my life. I’d been married & divorce twice at that time, yet I no longer needed a man to ‘fulfill’ me. I had 3 beautiful children (Nicole, Jasmine & Eugene Jr.) and for the first time, was satisfied with my body. You know what I mean ladies? We always seem to feel that our breasts are too small or too big. Always complaining that something is wrong with our hips, butt or legs. We can always find something wrong with ourselves when we look in the mirror. One day I woke up & decided, I was happy with who I was, just the way I was. So that led me to, marrying myself. I didn’t know it at the time but that little stunt got me international fame. It seems that I was the first woman to think of it and actually carry it out. It was a beautiful wedding and I am happy with myself, even now.
A lie detector used at the 1932 wedding of Harriet Berger and Vaclav Rund determined that their love was true.
Vaclav and Harriet were still together in 1940, according to the census. So, score one for the lie detector. I haven't been able to trace their marriage any later than that. Though a V.R. Rund of the correct location and birth year died in 1989.
(Some media sources listed the bridegroom's name as Vaclaw Hund, but I think 'Rund' was his correct name, given the census data.)
In 1994, guests at a wedding reception were expecting to see footage of the ceremony replayed. Instead they were treated to scenes of Derek Jeffrey in flagrante delicto with a dog, Ronnie. Because, oops, Jeffrey had lent his camcorder to a friend to video the wedding, but he accidentally left the wrong tape in the camcorder, and it didn't get fully taped over. He received a six-month suspended jail sentence for bestiality.
The whole scene sounds so outlandish that I suspected it might have been an urban legend reported as news. But Snopes confirms that the story is true.
Sologamy = marrying yourself. Apparently it's a growing trend. A way to say yes to yourself. And there are various companies (such as here and here) that will help you do it.
I don't buy into all the talk about marrying yourself as a form of self-affirmation, but I think there is some logic to the idea that if you know you're never going to get married to someone else — that's your life choice — that you should be able to get some gifts to celebrate your non-marriage. After all, those gifts can really help furnish an apartment or house.
June 9, 1966: After being buried alive for a week outside of a drive-in theater in Denison, Texas, Lottie Howard married "Country" Bill White. Both of them were "buried alive" practitioners. After she was disinterred, the two left on their honeymoon.
Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram - June 19, 1966
Update: Looks like the marriage didn't last long. Two years later Country Bill got served with divorce papers — while he was buried alive. The papers were dropped down the six-inch pipe he used for air and food.
Wilmington News Journal - Mar 28, 1968
But Bill rebounded pretty quickly from his divorce. Just a few months later he was buried alive with a "34-year-old grandmother" and a go-go dancer. However, they each had individual compartments in the coffin, evidently to prevent any buried-alive hanky panky.
The Indianapolis Star - June 21, 1968
And here's a picture of Bill from 1978, looking a bit rougher around the edges.
The Benton Harbor News-Palladium - May 19, 1978
As far as I can tell, Bill kept doing his buried alive stunt until the late 1980s. In 1981 he set an endurance record for the longest time buried alive (140 consecutive days in a plywood box, 6 feet long by 3 feet wide). This record seems to have been beaten in 1999 by Geoff Smith, who spent 147 days buried in a coffin under the beer garden of his local pub. Though it's hard to know for sure because Guinness doesn't maintain a record for longest time buried alive (because of their policy of not encouraging unhealthy or life-endangering acts).
In 2005, the New Bedford Standard-Times ran an article about Bill, but that's the last media reference to him I can find. If he's still alive, he'd be around 82.
The earliest I've found this story reported was in Time magazine (Feb 8, 1954). But then it started popping up in other papers, some as late as 1956 (below). I haven't found any report that went into greater detail. Which makes me wonder if this ever really happened, or if it was one of those amusing fillers reporters sometimes invented to pad column space.
The story, as stated, seems a bit implausible. Everyone at the wedding just left without bothering to wake the bride? Really? Even assuming that "dozed off" is a euphemism for "passed out drunk."
The Sikeston Daily Standard - Jan 18, 1956
Member of the Wedding. In Boston, seeking annulment of her marriage to William Jordan, Mrs. Margaret H. Jordan testified that she dozed off during their wedding banquet, awoke to find that bridegroom and guests had departed, did not see Jordan again until five years later.
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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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