Human mail is the transportation of a person through the postal system, usually as a stowaway. While rare, there have been some reported cases of people attempting to travel through the mail. This form of travel is both illegal[where?] and highly dangerous, with cases leading to prosecution and serious injury.
More common, at least in popular fiction, is the mailing of a part of a person, often a kidnap victim.
- Henry Box Brown (age 42), an African-American slave from Virginia, successfully escaped in a shipping box sent north to the free state of Pennsylvania in 1849. He was known thereafter as Henry "Box" Brown.
- W. Reginald Bray mailed himself within England by ordinary mail in 1900 and then by registered mail in 1903.
- Suffragettes Elspeth Douglas McClelland and Daisy Solomon mailed themselves to the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, H. H. Asquith at 10 Downing Street on 23 February 1909.
- Reg Spiers 1964, mailed himself from Heathrow Airport London, to Perth Airport Western Australia. His 63 hour journey was spent in a box made by fellow British javelin thrower, John McSorley. Spiers spent some time outside his container in the cargo hold of the plane, and suffered from dehydration when he was offloaded onto the tarmac of Bombay Airport. He arrived in Perth undetected and returned home to Adelaide.
- Charles McKinley (age 25) shipped himself from New York to Dallas, Texas in a box in 2003. He was attempting to visit his parents and wanted to save on the air fare by charging the shipping fees to his former employer. However, he was discovered during the final leg of his journey having successfully travelled by plane.
- An inmate (age 42) serving a seven year drug conviction sentence in Germany escaped from a prison by climbing into a box in the mail room which was picked up by a courier in 2008.
- In August 2012, a man in Chongqing, a city in southern China, decided to ship himself to his girlfriend as a prank. Unfortunately, his prank almost turned deadly when the courier took three hours to deliver the package. Seng had minimal air in the box, and it was too thick to puncture a hole so that he could breathe.
In popular culture
- Flat Stanley, a 1964 children's book by Jeff Brown, sees the eponymous main character squashed flat in an accident and subsequently sent via air mail.
- The plot of one episode of Beavis and Butthead includes the pair trying to mail themselves.
- The Velvet Underground song "The Gift" from the album White Light/White Heat has a grisly take on the perils of human mail.
- In the movie George of the Jungle, George ships himself via UPS back to the jungle from San Francisco.
- In the TV series Malcolm in The Middle, Reese attempts to ship himself to China, but is instead sent on a bogus journey by his brother without leaving the garage.
- In the TV series Firefly, in the episode "The Message", a former compatriot of Mal and Zoe mails himself to them so they would protect him from people to whom he owed money.
- In the episode "The Chimes of Big Ben" of the TV series The Prisoner, Number Six's escape attempt includes being shipped in a wooden box from Poland to London.
- In the TV series Garfield and Friends, Garfield often attempts to mail his nuisance Nermal to Abu Dhabi.[episode needed]
- In the TV series Trailer Park Boys Cory and Trevor are mailed, along with a large quantity of marijuana to a Snoop Dogg show.[episode needed]
- In the movie Hudson Hawk, Bruce Willis' character is rendered unconscious, and wakes up in a packing material-filled shipping crate in another country.
- In American Dad! episode Of Ice and Men, Steve and his friends accidentally receive Svetlana, a mail order Russian bride, instead of the binoculars they ordered.
- In the TV series The Drew Carey Show, Drew's nemesis Mimi ships him to China where he wakes up on the Great Wall.
- The Music video for the song "If only I had a brain" by Hip Hop artist MC 900 Ft Jesus shows the rapper being shipped in a cardboard box.
- ^ Farrier, John. "Prisoner Escapes Jail by Mailing Himself out in a Box". Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- ^ Henry Box Brown, b. 1816 Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself – full text of the Narrative. Accessed 30 March 2010.
- ^ (10 September 2003) "Federal charge filed against man who shipped himself in crate" at the U.S. Department of Justice. Accessed 3 January 2006.
- ^ Adams, Cecil (30 December 2005) "Special Delivery: Can a live person be packed in a shipping crate and mailed?" at Straight Dope. Accessed 3 January 2006.
- ^ Inmate escapes German jail in box at BBC News. Accessed 5 January 2009.