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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 July, 2004, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Would you leave a video message?
An US inventor has developed a system that enables dead people to make contact from beyond the grave.

Robert Barrows from California has designed a tombstone that can accommodate video equipment operated by a remote control.

Mr Barrows told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the system would enable people to leave video messages before they died, to be played to friends and loved ones from the grave side.

There would be a coin operated or credit card facility on the tombstone to enable cemeteries to charge for the use of headsets needed to listen to the messages.

Would you leave a video message on your gravestone? If so what would it be?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Wish I'd been cremated!
Paul P, Hergiswil, Switzerland

How much tackier can we Americans possibly make ourselves appear? There is something seriously unsettling about the idea of death becoming a commercial enterprise.
Elizabeth Smith, Hartford, USA

Somebody please...take my library books back!
Mike Taylror, Manchester

Next they will sell popcorn at the entrance
G. Spangler , Cincinnati, USA
Laser images on tombstones have much more value. If you want a message, have one etched. Next they will sell popcorn at the entrance.
G. Spangler , Cincinnati, USA

Where I grew up they would get nicked as soon as they were installed...
Paul, Bermuda

'And the name of the person who gets the house is... drumroll please....we'll find out after this commercial break'
Paul, York

Imagine if all the graves were just looping video. At night, you would just here this continuous distant murmuring sound coming from the church, as all the dead seemingly chat away to each other! Creepy.
Dave H, Cheltenham

OK guys the stag night party joke is over, can you let me out now?
S J West, Bucks

"Your feet smell".
Michael, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Sorry I am unable to take you visit at the moment, but I am out having a dead interesting time... Please leave your message after the scream and I come back to haunt you.
Bruce, Toronto, Canada

I think it would be much better if the relatives of the deceased took a cut of all money made from those watching. Then at the end of the message you could have: "Have a nice day, please come again!"
Allan Mason-Jones, Caerleon, Newport, UK

Remember those secrets that I said I would take to my grave? Well, you might want make a new deal
Graham Triggs, London, UK

Perhaps it is that I am very traditional but I think we should respect the dead and leave them alone. We should not use the dead to make money as it would be disrespectful and dishonourable.
L, Singapore

Knowing my lot the most likely result would be: "Beneath this sod there lies another" (Not mine but well worth borrowing) followed by a slide show of all those photos of my most embarrassing moments
JW, Morecambe, Lancs

Thank you for calling Your call is important to us and is in a queue as all of our operators are busy at the moment.
Colin, Manchester UK

I think Spike Milligan's idea was the best: 'I told them I was poorly'
Simon Hughes,

I'm standing right behind you! And by the way - I saw what you did last night.
Jacquelyn Bailey, Denver, CO, USA

Normal service will be resumed as soon as spiritually possible.
Jon E, France

I'm sorry but this just seems absolutely disgusting...it doesn't seem right especially at the cemetery...the dead should rest in peace not have a video over their heads.
Mimi, USA

Message to the Time Team - dig somewhere else !
P Burns, Fleet, Hampshire

"Do not obstruct this grave. Access required at all times during darkness!"
Drac, Whitby, North Yorkshire

It's about time someone cut the grass!
Mike Freeman, Cambs, UK

Overall the idea seems a bit creepy. However, I'd have my video message set up to run only when the equipment is stolen (which it inevitably will be): "Do you people have no respect for the dead? I'm trying to have a quiet time down here and you lot are banging around, making a racket... It's traditional to rest in peace y'know!"
Doug McKerracher, Swindon, UK

Courting couples beware!
Dave, Wokingham, UK
Imagine walking past a faulty tombstone at night and a ghostly apparition flickers into view! Courting couples beware! Much safer to leave your message on the net.
Dave, Wokingham, UK

Is a video really a new invention? Surely you could do it at home and your family could play it as often as they wanted for free?
Andrew, London

I would only leave a message if I could be sure of being allowed to watch people's reactions when it started playing.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

I would like to say thank you very much for the flowers and thinking about me, and if you didn't bring flowers make you sure you bring them next time.
Claire, Wirral

Pay-per-view cemeteries! Fantastic! I'm sure Sky are making plans already. Just think of the opportunities for advertisers to run commercials!
Jon Stroud, Cotswolds

The last thing I want when I am dead is to become a rotting profit-opportunity
John B, UK
A credit card slot on my tombstone? Talking to people after I am dead? Who on earth comes up with these macabre schemes? The last thing I want when I am dead is to become a rotting profit-opportunity so the gullible and desperate can be fleeced of their cash.
John B, UK

Too right I would and it would go along the lines of "Sod off! I didn't want to see you when I was alive so what makes you think I wanna see you now?"
Kiltie, Staffs, UK

Could anyone other than someone from California dream up such a bizarre idea? My father recently died - I have plenty of photos and video if I need them, but the most important things to me and my family are the memories in our heads. Putting thousands of pounds of hi-tech hardware into graveyards for this purpose seems highly voyeuristic, and would add immensely to the vandalism problems already faced by local councils.
Alan Bickerstaff, Swannington, England

I'm not dead... Get a spade.
Paul, Liverpool

It would be very interesting to social historians in the future
Dave Geldard, Swindon, Wilts
I suppose the traditional line of "See I told you I was ill" might be popular for a quick one liner. On a more serious note if this did take off it would be very interesting to social historians in the future.
Dave Geldard, Swindon, Wilts

A great idea in principle and one that should be developed. However to consider CHARGING to view it? This thought process leaves me aghast.
Simon, Telford, Shropshire

Mine would say "Geez...by the look of you, you should be down here not me!"
Anne-Marie, London, UK

Don't dig me up in fifty years time just because you need the extra space!
Brian Smith, Caceres, Spain

*If you're a loved one, or a relative, press 1
*If you didn't like me, press 2
*If I didn't like you, press 2
*If I wanted to love you, press 3
*If you wanted to love me, press 3

If you don't fit any of the categories above, MOVE OVER...YOU'RE STANDING ON ME!
Dave, OKC, OK

They buried me alive - let me out, let me out!
Tim H, UK

I can see this being abused..... How about Coca Cola, for instance, paying for all the funeral arrangements in return for advertising space on the tombstone.....
Rico, Sheffield, England

To Rico of Sheffield, surely the cigarette manufacturers rather than Coca-Cola should be sponsoring tomb-stones
James Goldman, London, UK

It seems a shame to wait until you are dead to talk to your loved ones! Why not live life to the full and tell people you love them now and see them smile? And sort any disagreements out and forgive one another now rather than taking it all to the grave.
Kate, Leeds, UK




SEE ALSO:
Video diary from beyond the grave
08 Jul 04  |  Americas


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