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Most Eccentric Last Will and Testament Requests By Famous People

1800s | July 7, 2017

From crazy cremation requests to creepy memorial guidelines, here are some weird and eccentric wills left by famous people in history.

Napoleon Bonaparte: We all know that Napoleon had his issues. And this has become more evident in his provisions in his last will and testament - he wanted his head shaved after his death, and his hair divided up among his friends.

Ben Franklin: Ben Franklin was a smart man in many ways, but he was also weird in his own way. In his will, he left his daughter 408 diamonds, with the condition that she never turn them into jewelry ‘and thereby introduce the expensive, vain, and useless fashion of wearing jewels in this country.’ Sadly for Ben, that didn’t work.

Harry Houdini: At the time of his death, Houdini asked that his wife hold a seance for him every year to try to contact his spirit. The two even developed a secret code so they’d know if it was really his spirit that was present.

Charles Dickens: English author Charles Dickens was specially particular about his funeral. In his will, he wrote out his wardrobe requirements for his funeral service: that “those attending my funeral wear no scarf, cloak, black bow, long hatband, or other such revolting absurdity.”

William Shakespeare: William Shakespeare probably has one of the most romantic minds that ever existed. So we wonder what happened to the romance between him and his wife… Shakespeare left his wife his “second-best bed.” Who got the first-best bed, Billy?

William Randolph Hearst: Magazine mogul William Randolph Hearst used his will to put rumors to rest. He stated that anyone who could prove they were his child would receive $1. We guess that’s Hearst way of saying he had no illegitimate children.

George Bernard Shaw: When Shaw died, he made sure his legacy will live on forever. He left money behind to fund a brand new alphabet which he wanted to be called the “Shaw Alphabet.” His conditions? The alphabet must have at least 40 letters, be phonetic, and be distinctly different from the Latin alphabet. His alphabet was realized in 1950.

Gere Roddenberry: The creator of Star Trek requested a space burial in his will. He eventually got his wish when in 1997, his remains became the first to be launched into space. Roddenberry’s wife’s remains followed in 2009.

Fred Baur: Fred Baur, the inventor of Pringles can, was so proud of his creation that he asked to be buried in one! His family embraced his eccentricity and complied.

John B. Kelly, Sr.: John B. Kelly, father of Grace Kelly, used his will to tell his daughter one last time to curb her spending habits. Daddy Kelly asked Grace to “not bankrupt the Principality of Monaco with the bills about her clothing.”

John Bowman: The story of this Vermont socialite was a sad one. His wife and daughter passed away before he did, and Bowman believed that the whole family would come back to life once he joined them on the other side. So when he died in 1891, he set up a trust of $50,000 to employ a staff that would take care of his home and cook a family meal every day - just in case they call came back to life.

Ed Headrick: The inventor of Frisbee requested that when he dies, his ashes be molded into limited-edition Frisbees - a request that his family took seriously.

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