Human mail

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The Resurrection of Henry Box Brown at Philadelphia – a lithograph by Samuel Rowse showing the emergence of Henry Box Brown from a packing crate.

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[according to whom?], 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.

Real occurrences[edit]


  • 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.[3][3]
  • 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.[4][5]
  • 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.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Farrier, John. "Prisoner Escapes Jail by Mailing Himself out in a Box". Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ (10 September 2003) "Federal charge filed against man who shipped himself in crate" at the U.S. Department of Justice. Accessed 3 January 2006.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Inmate escapes German jail in box at BBC News. Accessed 5 January 2009.
  1. ^ Foley Mendelssohn, Deirdre (2010-09-14), "The Eccentric Englishman", The New Yorker 
  2. ^ McSorley: Out Of The Box: The Highs and Lows of a Champion Smuggler. Roaring Forties Press. 2014
  3. ^ Hannaford, Alex (2004-08-29), "The crate escape", The Guardian 

External links[edit]