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this day in history 1978

Coffin of Charlie Chaplin discovered buried in a field in Switzerland

Grave Mistake

It was the final farce that the legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin starred in. And, surprisingly, it all took place quite a few weeks after his death. On May 17th, 1978, the coffin of Chaplin was discovered buried in a field near Lausanne, Switzerland. It had been exhumed and stolen 11 weeks earlier by bodysnatchers determined to hold the comic to ransom.

Once his family noticed there was a big hole where Charlie’s grave should be, they started to get threatening phone calls from a mysterious duo demanding money for his safe return.The family told them to get lost. Police kept all the phone boxes in the local area under close scrutiny and eventually spotted the increasingly desperate men making a ransom call.

The mastermind behind the scheme was jailed for four-and-a-half years. The comedian was reburied in a concrete covered, burgle-proof grave. Chaplin’s widow said, “Charlie would have thought it ridiculous”.

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