It may sound funny and unserious, but the statistics of people trying to mail themselves or ship themselves to another place would shock you. Many individuals have attempted and succeeded in mailing themselves over centuries.
On several platforms, this question is frequently asked, and many persons have given different answers with examples. Shipping companies have also provided laughable and shocking statistics on countless attempts made.
So, first, let’s answer the question.
Is It Possible to Mail Yourself?
You can mail yourself in a box, but it is not legal. Therefore, the correct answer is no; you cannot mail yourself. Whether you want to ship yourself as a prank, surprise, or save cost, it just isn’t legal anywhere.
Keep on reading for more information on this topic.
This idea isn’t novel neither is it a recent “craze.” Mailing or shipping companies have reported countless cases of people trying to mail themselves.
A report from FedExfrom 201 says that the number of people that attempted to mail themselves yearly was about 600,000. But that wasn’t when the cases arose.
FedEx has constantly reported cases of people trying to ship themselves since its inception in 1971. The laughable part is that employees have met people who package themselves as statues by painting themselves and staying entirely still to stay undetected.
Packages or cargos to be shipped are checked using security detectors or scanners that detect abnormal heat levels. Hence, another “Henry Brown” can’t surface.
FedEx has reported finding entire families in separate boxes waiting to be shipped. They have devised a means of checking casually if a cargo contains a human being by turning it upside down and listening for grunts or whimpers.
You might find it astonishing to know that people have tried to mail themselves as far back as the 1800s. Below are the earliest attempts people made to ship themselves to different locations and for various reasons.
1. Henry Brown (1849)
Henry “Box” Brown was a slave trying to leave Pennsylvania to join a slave trade abolishment movement. The stories told about him say that he sat in a box for 27 hours with nothing but water and biscuits.
2. W. Reginald Bray (1900/1903)
Bray shipped himself by regular mail in 1900 to a place within England. Reports have it that he was trying to find out the limits of the postal system in Britain. Mailing himself was part of that experiment.
3. Daisy Solomon, Suffragettes Elspeth and Douglas McClelland (1909)
This trio sent themselves as letters to the UK Prime Minister in the year 1909. However, the Prime Minister’s office did not want to open the letters.
4. Reg Spiers (1964)
In 1964, Spiers sent himself as a mail from London’s Heathrow Airport to Perth Airport in Australia. He spent 63 hours in a box, but he also came out of it on the plane.
Records have it that Spiers was a javelin thrower who got stranded in England when his wallet was stolen. He decided to send himself home as a cargo and pay for the delivery afterward.
When the airport personnel carried him out on the Bombay airport tarmac, he was dehydrated. He went undetected till he arrived in Perth. Incredible!
5. Brian Robson (1965)
The opposite of Spiers’ case is what happened with Robson. Brian mailed himself to the United Kingdom from Australia. On the way, though, he was found out and transported back to the UK in the US.
It was a four-day journey that had him tumbled upside down repeatedly. His box was nailed shut by two men, John and Paul.
These include cases of people who shipped themselves in the 1800s and the 1900s.
One would think that contemporary society would have learned that mailing oneself is laughable and illegal but look at some individuals who still attempted to mail themselves in the past two decades.
1. Charles McKinley (2003)
Charles McKinley sent himself as a package from New York to Dallas in 2003. His reason was that he wanted to visit his parents but not spend the usual airfare. He put the shipping fee in his former employer’s name.
McKinley was unsuccessful, though. Someone found him in the last part of his journey.
2. Unnamed Prisoner (2008)
A 42-year-old prisoner convicted for drug dealing in Germany accidentally mailed himself. This act’s “accidental” nature is attributed to the man breaking out of prison by hiding in a box in the mailroom.
This incident happened in 2008, and a courier service provider picked the box where the man was found.
3. Seng (2012)
A man named Seng in Chongqing, China, tried to play a prank on his girlfriend. He mailed himself to her while risking his life. The courier didn’t deliver the package containing Seng till three hours later, and he was asphyxiating.
Seng was unconscious when his girlfriend received him. His box had no hole because of its thickness, and thus, he could not breathe with the bit of air he had.
Assuming a person can successfully mail themselves across countries undetected, they would have defied many immigration laws. They would have to face the laws of both the country exited and the one entered.
Suppose you’re not a citizen of the country you’re attempting to mail yourself to. In that case, you stand the risk of getting banned permanently from entering that country when they discover you’re unlawfully there.
It seems that the penalty for unlawful immigration in the US would be three to ten-year bars of inadmissibility. This means that the offender would not be allowed into the US till the time bar elapses. However, the offender can get a waiver.
But a question arises on the matter, and it goes thus; if the person mailing his or herself doesn’t make it into the country, does it still count as an unlawful entry? What penalty would the offender’s face?
Well, in many cases, the offender runs off and receives a pardon. But if they are caught, they may be required to pay a fine of $50 or more for attempted unlawful immigration.
The penalty for mailing yourself varies by country. Some countries have stricter rules than others.
Nichols from FedEx says that the primary reason why it’s not a good idea to mail yourself is that it is hazardous. It doesn’t matter if you make the box very comfortable or stuff yourself with food supplies.
Mailing yourself would require that you sit in a box for an extended period, especially across countries. The size of the cargo box, the placement, and location, affects your health.
If you were trying to be mailed by air, you would be placed in the cargo area on the plane with low temperatures and no protection from the pressure that builds thousands of feet above the ground. As you know, it is not healthy at all.
If you were to mailed by a truck, you would still be cramped in a small box, and if there’s a hole punctured on it, you will become asphyxiated. The tight space can also trigger you if you are even slightly claustrophobic.
Another health implication is that your body would be in just a few interchangeable positions, depending on the size of the box. Your bones would be in one place for long hours, and this is unhealthy.
All these risks and effects are only the surface effects. Turbulence and bumps can cause injuries. Boxes stacked on each other could slip and fall on the box containing the mailed person.
Shipping Companies And Mailing Policies
No shipping company in the world authorizes mailing people, even if the person being mailed does it themselves. In addition, companies like FedEx and UPS have specific policies regarding the shipping of items.
A significant issue that comes with trying to ship oneself is the weight. Companies like UPS and FedEx have limits of 150 pounds, while the USPS has its limit set at 70 pounds.
There are also other shipping policies such as the following.
– You can’t ship all live animals. A selection is permitted, and it includes some adult birds like chickens, bees; some poikilothermic animals like baby alligators and chameleons.
– You must have all items labeled correctly and clearly.
Is it possible to mail yourself? Not in this day and age. Shipping companies and airports have learned their lessons from history. They take stringent measures now to keep stowaways out of the cargo areas.
Asides from the fact that it is hilarious to think of someone hurdled in a small or large box waiting to be sent as mail, it is dangerous and should not be attempted.
The dangers are both legal-wise and health-wise. There have been several cases of people mailing themselves and almost losing their lives in the process.
The next time you think about mailing yourself either as a prank or for any other reason, think about the risks involved first and decide if you can live with the consequences, that is, if you get to live.