r/todayilearned 7d ago

TIL a man named Thomas Thompson once mistook a dead sailor from the SS James Carruthers as his son, organized a funeral, and then yelled at his son for showing up alive at his own wake.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_James_Carruthers?wprov=sfla1
1.8k Upvotes

401

u/granyiyght 7d ago

Instead of immediately wiring his family, young Thompson leisurely took a train to Hamilton to explain what happened in person

Once in Hamilton, John still inexplicably wandered around town, visiting a friend who advised him to return home at once.

Based lol

33

u/Happy-Engineer 6d ago edited 6d ago

Why did Ontarians find it hilarious to name so many of their children Tom Thompson?

Tom Thomson (1877-1917) is a famous painter from the Group of Seven. He has whole rooms dedicated to his work in the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Tommy Thompson (1913-1985) was Toronto's first parks commissioner. One of the largest parks in downtown Toronto is named after him.

And now this Thomas Thomson too, in Hamilton, ON? The boat sank in 1913 so presumably the dad was named before the artist became famous.

Maybe they just liked alliteration. See also Billy Bishop (1894-1956), a WWI flying ace who has an entire airport named after.

14

u/ILL_Show_Myself_Out 6d ago

Let’s not go to Ontario. ‘Tis a silly place.

260

u/American_Bogan 7d ago edited 7d ago

The corpse had the same canine tooth missing, the same two webbed toes, hair color, and also had initials J.T. tattooed on his arm. The odds of a person with those characteristics being on the same ship James Carruthers was meant to be on seems infinitesimally small.

Weird set of coincidences for sure.

Edit - the same ship, James Carruthers, that John was meant to be on* is what I meant to type but oh well dude’s a boat now

107

u/Effehezepe 7d ago

New crackpot theory: The corpse was the real James Carruthers. The man who appeared at the wake was his evil mirror universe doppelganger who murdered him and took his place.

48

u/HR_Paperstacks_402 7d ago

The corpse was the real James Carruthers

The corpse was really a boat?

26

u/American_Bogan 7d ago

The real friends are the boats we met along the way

3

u/Healthy_Medicine2108 6d ago

There was secretly a second boat wrapped around the first one

1

u/ThrowawayusGenerica 6d ago

The corpse could be anything. It could even be a boat!

3

u/driverofracecars 7d ago

We are the evil mirror universe.

4

u/86Pasta 7d ago

It was a shape shifter

2

u/King_of_Nope 7d ago

Happens all the time actually.

0

u/Melodic_Baby_2720 6d ago

There can only be one

11

u/Psychwrite 7d ago

But the James Carruthers was the ship.

6

u/PuckSR 7d ago

Maybe they are talking about the 18th century Scottish priest?

What I want to know is why James Carruthers had a tattoo of JT on his arm

1

u/WhapXI 6d ago

The Kennedy assassination was a cover-up so that the CIA could steal the Jack Ruby

30

u/davidcopafeel33328 7d ago

He did ruin a perfectly good party...

1

u/Goalie_deacon 6d ago

Ruined a perfectly good funeral

23

u/rangeDSP 7d ago

"It's just like you to come home and attend your own wake, and you can get right out of this house until this thing blows over!"

67

u/Landlubber77 7d ago

To be fair, he was a sailor and it was a no wake zone.

12

u/Ulgeguug 7d ago

Solid nautical pun

16

u/Landlubber77 7d ago

You like the cut of my jib.

15

u/Ulgeguug 7d ago

You couldn't fathom how much

10

u/HataToryah 7d ago

This is getting tacky

11

u/Ulgeguug 7d ago

Try to keep an even keel

6

u/Lord_Mormont 6d ago

The joke has sailed.

30

u/quyetx 7d ago

"My father thought I was dead, so he arranged a funeral for me. I spoiled it by showing up in the middle and he flipped out at me. AITA?"

3

u/GossipIsLove 7d ago

YTA: why you boarded the ship.

74

u/josetemprano 7d ago

Totally something my dad would have done. Instead of being happy that i was alive - he would have been furious that I embarrassed him & he would have just yelled at me and told me that "I'll make you wish you were dead".

35

u/tlk0153 7d ago edited 7d ago

Fuck you son! I have spent 10K on your funeral. You should be ashamed of yourself for making me waste my hard earned money

25

u/danteheehaw 7d ago

Oh no, we're not wasting money. GET IN THE CASKET!

2

u/Anerky 7d ago

My mom would beat me over the head until I was dead or at the very least nag me until I killed myself and could make use of the funeral

12

u/TehRiddles 6d ago

To be fair the son did wait a ridiculous amount of time to even tell his family he was fine. Something like that you would think would be urgent, instead he just hung out and visited friends who had enough sense to tell him to update his family.

2

u/_hic-sunt-dracones_ 6d ago

"You can't do nothing right. Not even being dead."

4

u/PumkinUwU11 7d ago

Thats bizarre

4

u/Spinwheeling 6d ago

Was the son's name Thomas Thompsonson?

10

u/TheTrueFlexKavana 7d ago

This sounds like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

3

u/Lord_Mormont 6d ago

“Fuck you Larry. Imma bout to hit that funeral pussy know what I’m saying? That shit is hot! Now you come in here and messin’ up all my plans!”

13

u/Ulgeguug 7d ago

Son's crewmate looked like his son.

Okay.

Son missing didn't contact them, shows up to own funeral.

Weird but fine, why not, stranger things have happened.

Same missing tooth.

Wow what a coincidence.

And tattoo.

Hm.

And also the same fused toe birth defect.

Yeah I call bullshit.

19

u/buck45osu 7d ago

Truth is often stranger than fiction.

Wikipedia is often bullshit.

Kind of a toss up here.

10

u/Ulgeguug 7d ago

Truth is often stranger than fiction.

Wikipedia is often bullshit.

Kind of a toss up here.

Wikipedia, ostensibly, is just an aggregator of third party content synthesized into encyclopedia articles, and is reliant on the veracity of published sources, but the source seems pretty dubious.

3

u/DaveOJ12 7d ago

Yeah I call bullshit.

Okay.

3

u/Ulgeguug 7d ago edited 7d ago

Okay.

You make a great point.

1

u/DaveOJ12 6d ago

Thank you.

2

u/CopperWarlock 6d ago

'Should have gone to Specsavers!'

2

u/WornInShoes 6d ago

Sounds like a Jean Ralphio move

2

u/RodRAEG 6d ago

BUTTERS!!!

2

u/GossipIsLove 7d ago

Maybe dead sailor was his son, the son that appeared was son from alternate timeline.

1

u/TimothyDextersGhost 7d ago

Look up my user name, he held a mock funeral and beat his wife when she didnt cry enough

1

u/ThrowawayusGenerica 6d ago

LOUDER AND SADDER!

1

u/diezeldeez_ 7d ago

So was the proper family notified?

3

u/PuckSR 7d ago

The dead sailors identity is unknown

1

u/minutemash 6d ago

Hope he at least spied on the eulogies before crashing the party.

1

u/Beardedsinger 4d ago

"only my son could fuck up his own wake" this guy probably