Faked Deaths

Faking death: A natural impulse to help facilitate an escape

The problem with the case for Marlowe's authorship of the works of Shakespeare - and it's a big one - is that he was declared dead on June 1, 1593, and never seen alive again. To be clear, for him to have written the works of Shakespeare would require that Marlowe's death had been faked, and that he had lived the rest of his life under a new identity. It's a tall order, but people in Marlowe's shoes - about to face prosecution, torture, and execution - have all wished they had the opportunity to escape without fear of pursuit. In Marlowe's case, he had the connections to make this wish a reality. If his options were either to stick around and wait for the axe to fall, or to use his talents, connections, and resources to escape and start a new life under a new identity, the choice seems obvious.

Here follows a list of stories about people who tried, and ultimately failed, to fake their own deaths. It is worth noting that those who are successful in the attempt do not make the news. Consider that these cases date only from the past decade or so, and represent only those that turned up in a quick Google search. If we extrapolate this rate back 400 years, the scenario does begin to sound mundane.  The point is that while faking one's death may be sensational, it is far from extraordinary.

Faked Deaths

Arthur Bennett
Facing court-martial charges, Bennett burned down his trailer. The badly burned body inside the trailer was not Bennett's. The true identity of the body remains unknown.

Go to Article

John Darwin
High school science teacher faked his own death to avoid paying massive debts.

Go to Article

Bruce Dale
New Zealand man faked his own death, abandoned his family and started a new one. Go to Article

Steve Fossett
Millionaire adventurer disappeared, and was suspected of faking his own death. His body was later recovered. Go to Article

David J. Friedland
Former state senator. Faked his own death after being scheduled to be sentenced for taking kickbacks from a Teamster pension fund. Go to Article

Peter C. Gentry
Gentry sent prosecutors his own death certificate to avoid facing drunk driving charges. Go to Article

Harry Gordon
"If you're going to fake your own death, the one quality you're going to need is nerve." Go to Article

Robert Granberg
Faked his death to collect the insurance money with the help of his wife. Go to Article

Bill Grothe
Music Row attorney is suspected of faking his own death. His whereabouts are unknown. Go to Article

Carl Hackett, Graham Cardwell, Thomas Osmond

All faked their deaths by leaving clothes at beachside, presumed drowned.

Go to Article

Jason Hart
E-bay conman faked his own death to avoid customers he duped. Go to Article

Jenaro Hernandez

Spanish fisherman fakes his death to avoid heavy debts. Go to Article

Samuel Israel III
Faked his own death to avoid a 20 year sentence for a 450 million fraud scheme.

Go to Article

Ken Kesey
Best-selling author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," faked his own death and fled to Mexico to avoid Marijuana charges. Go to Article

Daniel Kinge
Paedophile teacher fakes his death in order to keep offending. Go to Article

Bruce Leyte
Newfoundland man faked his own death to avoid fraud charges. Go to Article


Sean Lovelock-Woodall
Died in a plane crash, but no body has ever been found. Huge insurance pay -out prompts suspicions of faked death. Go to Article


Johnny Sterling Martin
Faked his own death by having a relative report that he had been killed in a bar fight. Go to Article

Patrick McDermott
Olivia Newton-John`s husband. Presumed drowned, he is now suspected to be living somewhere along the Pacific Latin American coastline. Go to Article

Carey Eugene Minard
While awaiting sentencing on a weapons conviction, Minard faked his death during a canoe trip. Go to Article

Gulzar Ismael Mohammed
He used fraudulent death certificates to cash in on a life insurance policy with the help of his wife. Go to Article


Donald Mosser
Chicago man faked his own death and moved to New York City, lived there fo ten years before revealing to his family that he was still alive. Go to article

Jeremy Daniel Oakley
British Columbia man faked his own death to avoid sex assault charges. Go to Article

Kerry Stephen Scheele
Faked his death during a scuba diving excursion to avoid a messy divorce, and to collect the insurance money. Go to Article

Philip Sessarego
Special forces operative faked his own death, later wrote a book  Jihad! The Secret War in Afghanistan, under the assumed name Tom Carew. Go to Article. His daughter saw him on TV, seven years after being told he was dead. Go to Article

Marcus Shrenker
Financier faked his death with a plane crash. He parachuted to safety, then escaped on a stashed motorcycle. Go to Article

John Stonehouse
Former U.K. minister faked his own death, moved to Australia to live with his former secretary. Go to Article

Gubraman Subramaniam
Singapore man obtained a fake death certificate to avoid paying debts. Go to Article

John Sung Park
Faked his own death to escape assault charges. Go to Article


David Venezia
Faked his own death to escape paying back student loans incurred while attending MIT and other Boston-area universities. Go to Article

Bennie Wint
Faked his death, went on the run for 20 years thinking he was wanted on drug charges. Go to Article

Read More

Who was Christopher Marlowe?
Click here to read about Marlowe's life and work.


The Story
Click here to read a summary of the
Marlovian theory.

Why do we think that Marlowe did not die in 1593?
Click here to learn about what we call "The Great Puzzle" of Marlowe's death.

What do Shakespeare scholars say about Marlowe?
Click here to read opinions about Marlowe's influence in the Shakespeare plays.

Is there a problem with Shakespeare?
Click here to learn why we at the
IMSS are sceptical that Shakespeare was a writer.


the international