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Woman sees herself dead in funeral home

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Woman sees herself dead in funeral home
The bizarre tale of how a living woman's picture ended up on gravemarker in France. Cemetery: Shutterstock
15:43 CET+01:00
A Franco-American journalist was stunned when she spotted a grave marker hologram with her face on it - inscribed with a fake name, date of birth and death - in the window of a funeral parlour. Here's how it happened.

Hélène Crié-Wiesner spotted the 3D image of herself encased in plastic while walking in the 14th arrondissement of Paris with a friend earlier in October.

The friend had noticed the image a few weeks prior, but knowing Crié-Wiesner was very much alive, she'd assumed her friend had sold the rights to her image.

But she most definitely had not. As it turned out, Crié-Wiesner was stunned to see her likeness in the funeral parlour because it had been used without her permission.

"At the time, I wondered if I would not have preferred to see naked pictures of me circulating on the internet," she wrote on news site Rue89. "At least I would have been alive. Here, my photo was taken from the web for a chilling use."

To her horror, she saw that she had even been given a new identity along with fake dates of birth and death: "Brigitte Martin, 1959-2009.”

"I'm not superstitious, just pissed off," Crié-Wiesner added.

Horrified, she went into the shop to demand an explanation. A woman working there had no idea, explaining it was a demonstration piece that had been dropped off by maker of the custom memorial holograms.

The worker agreed to take the hologram out of the window, but not to hand it over to Crié-Wiesner, who was instead given the contact for the item's maker BLM Distribution.

Repeated calls to the company finally yielded an explanation, though it was left on Crié-Wiesner's answering machine.

Explaining the blunder, the director of the company Francis Duval said: “We were looking for a photo of a kind face on the internet, without knowing whether this photo was free to use. We just assumed it would be. We had no intention of hurting you.”

He added that the company had been using the image for a year and a half and was going to go into bankruptcy.

However, after doing some research, Crié-Wiesner found that, far from being about to shut down, the company was launching a new service offering custom-made websites for deceased people.

Crié-Wiesner concludes the blog post by saying that while she is sure she would have won the case if she decided to sue the company, the legal costs would have been too high. 

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