Rather than being overjoyed to learn that their friend and loved one was still alive, his "mourners" were forced to look on in terror as Dexter flew into a rage when he decided that the attendees weren't as distraught by his death as he would have liked. He then gallantly beat his wife as punishment for not crying at his funeral, a reaction that also served to explain why she hadn't been crying.
A "Murdered" Man Turns Up Alive ... After His Friend Is Executed For Killing Him
Nebraska State Historical Society
John Cameron and his friend William Jackson Marion set out from their small town in Nebraska in 1872 to look for work, because the job market was even worse back then. However, only Marion made it back home, suspiciously carrying all of his friend's possessions and claiming that Cameron had run off by himself and disappeared, presumably looking to make a better life for himself somewhere less depressing than Nebraska.
The plot thickened when a body was discovered with multiple bullet wounds to the head, and identified as John Cameron. Marion became the key suspect in the murder, because there has never been a more obvious murder suspect in history. He was like the suspect in a five-year-old's version of a mystery novel.
Gage County Historical Society
Right down to the shifty eyes and cartoonishly twirlable mustache.
Marion was taken into custody and stood trial for the robbery and murder of his friend. After only an hour of deliberation, the jury found him guilty, because this was long before the time of CSI, fingerprint databases, or really, any scientific way of identifying a body beyond "Well, the victim had a mustache, and this mostly-decayed body appears to have a mustache, so this is clearly our guy." Take special note of that fact, because it will become important later.
Marion firmly denied that he had anything to do with Cameron's murder, even after his conviction -- but in fairness, that's exactly what a murderer would say. So Marion was hanged in 1887, and that was the end of the story.
That is, until four years later, when the very much not-murdered John Cameron came back looking for his friend William Marion and all of the belongings he'd loaned him.
The original headline just read "Oops."
Yeah, it turns out that the bullet-riddled corpse that had been found lying in the dirt wasn't John Cameron at all, but some other poor soul whose murder will forever remain unsolved. We're sure that Cameron's family was thrilled to learn that he was alive, but the conversation about how they executed his best friend while he was gone was probably pretty awkward. But hey, at least he got all his stuff back.
Janel Comeau has never been reunited with anything horrifying except her student loan debt. And if you want to read more from her, you can reunite with her on Twitter or her excessively funny website.
For more incredibly unfortunate circumstances, check out The 7 Most Bizarrely Unlucky People Who Ever Lived and 6 People Who Mixed Bad Luck With Stupidity.
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