What's the worst thing that can happen to you when you're a kid? OK, besides peeing your pants during a spelling bee in an auditorium full of your peers. We'd count losing one of your parents in the top three worst things, easy. In 2002, British dad John Darwin disappeared after kayaking in the North Sea. His body was never found, his wife inherited a 250,000-pound insurance policy and his teenage sons began the long, torturous process of grieving their father. But not before they spent hours researching missing persons and unidentified bodies, scouring the Internet for clues like the goddamn Hardy Boys. For five years.
Then they got a call that GUESS WHAT? Their dad was alive and well, and had just walked himself into a police station with a spot of amnesia! The boys, now in their early 20s, got their mom on the phone to shriek the good news. The nightmare was over!
For Anthony and Mark Darwin, the nightmare was just beginning.
Dad, as you probably can guess, did not actually have amnesia. Dad had, in fact, faked his death for an insurance policy, intending to start a new life without them and travel the world under his new identity. But that's not the worst part: Their freaking mom was in on it the whole time.
Faces like theirs are exactly what alcoholism was made for.
The whole scheme was hatched between the two of them for that insurance policy, which they happily splurged on themselves within the five years dad was "missing" and presumed dead by all of the people who loved him. The couple took trips, bought cars, shopped for 42-foot catamarans and snorted gold dust off each other's bodies (allegedly).
By the way, if you're wondering where dear old dad was hiding out while they were carrying out this fraud, he lived NEXT DOOR. Right there, by his mourning sons.
Of course this was devastating, as they thought they lived next to Santa that whole time.
So how did they find out? Eventually, the "widowed" Mrs. Darwin announced she was starting over in Panama. It was time for a new climate, a new hemisphere, a new start. Her grown sons wished her well. She had been through so much, after all. What the sons didn't know was that it wasn't just their mom who was going to start over in Panama -- their "dead" dad was going as well. So they could have canoeing adventures.
And take pictures with their real estate guy.