David Baerten, a 45-year-old TikToker from Belgium, staged his own death and funeral as a prank to test his family’s loyalty and appreciation. He surprised his relatives and friends by arriving at the fake ceremony in a helicopter.
The hoax was planned by Mr Baerten, his wife, and his children, who posted a fake tribute to their father on social media, claiming he had died.
The post read: “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.”
Many people who knew Mr Baerten showed up at the funeral last weekend near Liege, wearing black and expecting to pay their respects.
However, they were stunned when they saw a black helicopter landing nearby and Mr Baerten stepping out of it with a camera crew.
A video of the scene was shared on TikTok by one of the attendees, showing some people running towards Mr Baerten in tears, while others looked baffled and angry in the parking lot.
Mr Baerten, who goes by the name Ragnar le Fou on TikTok, explained that he wanted to teach his family a “life lesson” about staying in touch and caring for each other.
He said: “What I see in my family often hurts me. I never get invited to anything. 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 claimed that some of his relatives have reached out to him since the prank and said it “proves who really cares about me. Those who didn’t come, did contact me to meet up. So in a way, I did win.”