The Curious Case of Corpse of Charlie Chaplin

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“I just hope my death makes more cents than my life…”

 This widely popular movie line unfortunately became a sad reality for one of the greatest comedians, actors and artists of all time, Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin. His “little tramp” character greatly delighted the audiences and made him undoubtedly the biggest star of the silent film era. But, sadly, the fun times did not last long. His politically left ideology and leaning towards socialistic views made him “unwanted” in the eyes of the capitalist rulers of the then United States of America. As a consequence, he with his family moved to Switzerland in 1952 where he breathed his last 25 years later in 1977. He was buried in a pretty quiet and unostentatious ceremony. After the news came out, the whole world mourned his passing and quite naturally, his fans went onto a state of unbearable grief.

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 Several months later, his wife Oona got a phone call from the Swiss police. To her utmost surprise, they informed, that her husband’s body was GONE! His grave had been desecrated and the corpse was stolen. His coffin had been dug out and dragged away. The whole world was utterly shaken and every concerned citizen received a high dosage of shock. Therefore, “Who stole Chaplin’s corpse?” at once became the ‘question of the hour’ to millions.

 Various people from all over the world had different theories regarding the stealing of Chaplin’s corpse. Some speculated that his ultra obsessive fans robbed the grave to return his body to his native place, England. After a few days, Oona received another phone call from a stranger claiming that he had Chaplin’s body with him. She tried to overhear the phone call, but a few days later she received a photo from an unknown sender, titled, “Chaplin’s Coffin.” The thieves demanded six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) to return the body and even went on threatening Oona’s children.

 The police launched an investigation immediately and set up a ransom meeting as a trap to catch the thieves. But unfortunately, the thieves outplayed the police officers in this game of mind and they did not show up. The police then made a change on their tactics. They tapped Oona’s phone and assigned officers to watch closely nearly 200 phone booths in the area. This time, the police emerged victorious. At a payphone near the Lausanne district, they caught the crooks.

 They were two auto mechanics named Roman Wardas and Gantscho Ganev, the eastern European political refugees who were in urgent need for cash and so they decided to copy a similar crime that took place in Italy few years back. They took police to the remains of Chaplin who was buried in a corn field 10 miles away from the cemetery plot. They were charged with the crimes of grave robbing and extortion.

 Later on, Chaplin was reburied in the same plot and his grave was sealed with concrete, ensuring the complete tranquility of his eternal rest forever from then.  

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