The Unsettling Time A Dead Body Was Once Mistaken For An April Fools' Prank

The comedic premise of 1989's "Weekend at Bernie's" is that two young men can pass of their deceased boss as still alive, moving and posing his body in various situations. Some of us have seen it enough times to maybe start to believe that it isn't impossible to pass a dead body off as a living, breathing, active human being who likes to get down with their pals. While you're probably not going to be crashing parties with the next cadaver you happen to find any time soon, it's actually not outside the sphere of possibility that someone could mistake a dead body for something entirely different — like, say, a discarded mannequin.

According to Daily Mail U.K., a man in Florida made the mistake of not taking a closer look at the object he initially believed to be an April Fools joke, and in doing so, he robbed somebody of a proper burial. However, all's well that ends well, though it's tough to say if this story really ended well or not. We'll let you be the judge.

Weekend at Benjy's

It was on April 1, 2014 that 61-year-old Ronald Benjamin stepped outside to have a cigarette in the middle of his work shift. Benjamin, the front desk clerk at an apartment complex in St. Petersburg, stepped outside around 4:30 a.m. to grab a breath of not-so-fresh air. His time zone was already four-and-a-half hours into April Fools Day, so his wits were about him, lest any tomfoolery or trickery arise during his break (via HuffPost). 

Benjamin then spotted something strange propped up against the apartment building. Upon further inspection, he decided it was a dummy left behind by some hooligans out to prank someone, so he shook his head and went back inside. It wouldn't be for another two hours that the front desk clerk would walk back outside and toss the strange mannequin into the dumpster behind the building. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Benjamin requested the help of a teenage boy who was passing by with his mother. 

The dummy that wasn't a dummy

"I'm telling you, I swear ... the face looked like a rubber mask," Benjamin told the Tampa Bay Times after learning that the dummy he tossed in the trash was no dummy at all, but rather the dead body of a 96-year-old woman who had lived in the building. "If I thought for one instant it was a real person I would have called the police, my manager, everyone I could think of."

According to the Daily Mail U.K., the woman who tragically fell to her death had committed suicide, sending herself over the railing of her 16th floor balcony in the middle of the night. Benjamin insisted that her body was exceptionally light and easily mistaken for a fake, but unfortunately, his employers didn't see it that way. He was fired shortly after the news of the woman's suicide broke. Nonetheless, Benjamin admitted that he felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for mistaking the corpse for a dummy. He told the Tampa Bay Times that he was so plagued with thoughts of regret, he could hardly sleep at all.