OAN’s Brooke Mallory
4:32 PM – Thursday, June 15, 2023
To the surprise of his family and loved ones, a Belgian man revealed why he decided to fake his own death last week after arriving for his “funeral” in a helicopter, making the ultimate entrance.
David Baerten, 45, said that he staged the intricate “prank” to educate his family members about the value of staying in touch with one another.
Baerten, who goes by Ragnar le Fou on TikTok, told French talk program Touche Pas a Mon Poste (TPMP) that he planned the event because he felt “unappreciated” by some of his family.
Another TikTok user named Thomas Faut, who reportedly attended the phony funeral service, recorded a video of the 45-year-old man arriving for his own burial in a helicopter.
Mourners can be seen watching as the chopper lands in a field and a door opens. It then switches to a shot of people encircling Baerten, with more approaching him to embrace and welcome him while a film team recorded it.
Faut also shared a video of an emotional relative sobbing as he embraced Baerten.
“You got us, I swear I was crying and then I had the shock, buddy we love you very much,” Faut wrote in a caption.
Last week, the fake funeral was held outside Liege after one of Baerten’s daughters allegedly published a “tribute” to her father on social media.
“Rest in peace, Daddy. I will never stop thinking about you. Why is life so unfair? Why you? You were going to be a grandfather and you still had your whole life ahead of you. I love you! We love you! We will never forget you,” she said, before finding out the truth.
However, the prank did not go over well with viewers, who accused Baerten of being “cruel” to his family. While Baerten did not release any film of the funeral, he did record a video explaining why chose to take part in the act.
According to The New York Times, Baerten expressed “hurt” since he “never gets invited to anything” by his family members.
“Nobody sees me. We all grew apart. I felt unappreciated. That’s why I wanted to give them a life lesson and show them that you shouldn’t wait until someone is dead to meet up with them,” he said.
He further stated that, despite the fact “only half” of his family and friends attended his phony funeral, more relatives have contacted him afterwards.
“That proves who really cares about me,” Baerten maintained. “Those who didn’t come did contact me to meet up. So in a way, I did win.”
Later, during an appearance on TPMP, Baerten later expressed sorrow and regret for carrying out the act.
He said that his wife was aware of his plan from the very start and even attempted to derail it.
According to Indy100, the prankster let his children assume he had died for “a couple of days” before informing them of the truth.
He told the talk show that it was his film team that insisted on only documenting the stunt if he told his children and sister that he was actually alive. He has since, however, claimed that they “half-knew” that it was a joke from the start.
“As soon as I started receiving messages from people and videos of them crying, I wished I could cancel the whole thing, but it was too late. I asked myself, ‘What have you done this?’ but it was too late,” he said after seeing his loved ones crying.
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