Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A deceased cattle rancher had an ATM installed in his tombstone to dole out weekly stipends to his heirs.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Origins: With one slight change ("dying to try it soon" became "trying it soon"), the article quoted above appeared on SFgate.com, the online presence of The San Francisco Chronicle, on
According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, its search of obituaries from the past decade turned up no record of a Grover Chestnut's having died there, nor was it able to locate any relatives of
SF Gate picked up the tale from Wireless Flash News, a media outlet that represents itself as "The pop culture wire for media professionals." It's hard to assign much credibility to a source that flogs such articles as "Waltons Creator Admits Old Set Now Haunted by 'Grandpa'"
David Moye of Wireless Flash said he got his story from a Long Island, New York, man named Joel Jenkins, who claimed to own an ATM company. Jenkins refused to disclose the location of the grave, citing "security reasons."
Once SF Gate caught on to its having been had, it posted the following correction on its site in place of the "ATM Tombstone" article it had previously displayed:
Editor's note: This story has been removed by SF Gate because of questions concerning its accuracy raised by the Bozeman (Mont.) Daily Chronicle. No death notice could be found with the name of the rancher who supposedly set up an automated teller machine at his gravesite so his family would visit.One futher clue to the nature of the "tombstone ATM" story is its resemblance to an ancient joke:
A Jewish woman in the Bronx recently caused quite a commotion by revealing the contents of her will. First, she stipulated that she be cremated. Then, she asked to have her ashes spread over Bloomingdale's so she'd be assured of having her daughter visit her once a week.Barbara "gravely mistaken" Mikkelson
Last updated: 8 July 2007
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