The origins of the world’s creepiest instructional video have never been discovered, even after its creators allegedly looted Houdini’s grave. Can you identify the mysterious man in Grave Robbing for Morons?
Long before the internet made file-sharing a fact of life, showing your friend an underground video like Two Girls, One Cup for the first time required a lot more than simply ruining your search history. In the early 90s, all manner of fringe videos were traded by hand, dubbed from degraded VHS copies and passed from person-to-person in chains that stretched from house parties in California to basements in New York.
The VHS trade was responsible for the long lives of classics like Heavy Metal Parking Lot and Superstar, a banned Karen Carpenter biopic that used Barbie dolls for dramatic recreations. But while Heavy Metal Parking Lot and Superstar are lighthearted, low-budget affairs that can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone, the 90s VHS trade had a much darker side that, for the most part, stayed hidden.
One of the most infamous tapes to claw its way out of the dark basements of the VHS trade is a crude how-to video titled Grave Robbing For Morons. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Over the course of twenty-seven minutes, a stuttering kid in a leather jacket gives a detailed guide on looting cemeteries, showing off human skulls he’s collected, offering advice on how best to deal with witnesses, and giving some stomach-turning anecdotes about the sights and sounds of the trade.
On it’s authenticity, there seems to be a fifty-fifty split in opinion. While the kid in the video is clearly holding what appears to be a genuine, unbleached human skull, some of his advice, particularly about dispatching witnesses, seems a bit over-the-top, leading some to believe that the footage was an act intended to be a part of the Faces of Death-esque pseudo-reality craze.
On the other hand, those who’ve dealt with grave robbing cases and work with the deceased say that the looter’s descriptions are spot-on… and seriously, how did he manage to get a clearly non-medical-use human skull?
At the tail end of the footage, the man in the video drops the nicknames of himself, the cameraman, and their grave robbing partners – “Anthony, “Gino, “Taco”, and “Pucci” – before taking credit for the rise of cemetery looting and promising that they’ll continue to do it “for the fun”. The most eerie part of his sign-off, though, is his promise to rob the grave of Houdini.
“If you’re watching this video, then you’ll know who it was,” he says, before flashing a “hang loose” hand sign and fading out.
Interestingly enough, Harry Houdini’s grave suffered lots of neglect and vandalism in the early 1990s, leading to rumors that his plot had been robbed. The rumors were never taken seriously, and the magician’s coffin was never checked for missing remains. If this video is the real deal, Houdini’s skull might be sitting on a shelf in someone’s basement.
The origins of Grave Robbing for Morons have never been established, and the mysterious man in the video has never been identified. The fact that the footage has been dubbed, torrented, and traded into oblivion has only further complicated the search for the truth, but with your help, this is a mystery we’d love to get to the bottom of.
You can watch the entirety of Grave Robbing for Morons below, and while nothing explicitly disturbing is shown on screen, the descriptions of the actual looting and corpse desecration are unsettling and can require a strong stomach.
If you recognized the man in the video, the location it was filmed, or know where Grave Robbing for Morons originated, leave us a comment below, or if you’d rather the information stayed private, email Planet Weird at [email protected]. We’ll honor all requests for anonymity.