Did you know that mailing of people weighing less than 50 pounds was legal in the United States in 1913 & 1914?
Human beings have an innate knack for finding solutions even in worst of the possible conditions. But what these people did is a perfect example of thinking “out of the box.” Here are some stories of people who mailed themselves as ‘human letters’ and almost succeeded:
1. Henry “Box” Brown, man who successfully mailed himself to freedom
He was a slave of African-American origin who successfully escaped to freedom in 1849 by hiding in a cardboard box and arranging to be mailed to the abolitionists (people participating in the movement to abolish slavery). Brown was working in a tobacco factory when he devised a plan to escape to the free state. He had to leave behind his enslaved family in the process.
Brown was helped by a fellow African-American James C. A. Smith, and a sympathetic white shoemaker named Samuel. The box that Brown escaped in was 3 feet by 2 feet long & 8 inches by 2 feet wide and displayed the words “dry goods” on it. He carried a small portion of water and biscuits with him. There was a single hole cut for air and it was nailed and tied with straps.
Brown’s freedom trip lasted for 27 hours during which it went through different modes of transport. But, Brown remained still to avoid detection. Due to this epic escape of his he was famously given the nickname Henry “Box” Brown.
2. W. Reginald Bray, the first person to send a human as mail
Was an eccentric personality who was famous for his huge autograph collection and his actions to test the British postal system. He famously mailed himself as a human letter in 1900 and then by registered mail in 1903. He became the first person in history to send a human through a mail. He even has a book dedicated to his antics namely “The Englishman who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects” by John Tingey.
3. Elspeth D. McClelland, female activist who famously mailed herself to the Prime Minister of England
Elspeth was a member of Women’s Organisation (right to vote) movement. Her most famous incident during movement is when she, along with her fellow activist Daisy was mailed to the then Prime Minister Of England in 1909. Human delivery through an express post was permitted at that time in England. Although the delivery reached the office of the Prime Minister, it was returned by the guards on duty. The Prime Minister was said to have been “amused” by the incident. There’s also an image of this incident in the British museum.
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4. Reg Spiers, former Australian javelin thrower who successfully mailed himself from England to avoid airfare
Reg Spiers is a former Australian athlete who is famous for posting himself to Australia as air freight. After an unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the Olympic team at the season in Australia, he travelled to England in the hope of qualifying at the summer season in England. But his attempt went futile and he was penniless by the end of the season. Spiers took the help of a fellow athlete to build a man-sized wooden box, in which he then air-freighted himself back to Australia.
5. Charles McKinley, the guy who wanted to save air fare by mailing himself to his parents
Shipped himself from New York to Dallas, Texas in a box in 2003. He was attempting to visit his parents and wanted to save on the airfare. However, he was discovered during the last stage of his journey after having successfully transported through the plane.
6. Prison break through a mail
An inmate in Germany serving a seven-year drug conviction sentence escaped from prison by stuffing himself into an empty box in the mail room, which was picked up by a courier.
7. Sandra De Los Santos, Cuban woman who got herself smuggled in the United States by a DHL delivery
In a twist on a 40-year-old tradition of illegal immigration, Sandra entered the United States by stuffing herself, a jug of water and a cell phone into a crate and having herself shipped. She was found at the Miami airport by DHL officials inside the crate in good condition.
Here’s a fun fact for you-FedEx claims that more than 6,00,000 people try to mail themselves every year.