Englishman Who Posted Himself: biography of a postal experimenter


25 Responses to “Englishman Who Posted Himself: biography of a postal experimenter”

  1. joeygsb says:

    Go Waldo Jeffers!

  2. narrowstreetsLA says:

    That is so cool. Reminds me of the time I sent a letter to my brother (who was in college) years ago. I couldn’t remember the address, so I just put

    Mower Hall
    Harvard University

    and it reached him.

    • Nadreck says:

      The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not people have an exhibit of letters from fans that were correctly delivered to them with the slenderest of addresses. One just had a tear, or “Rip:” in the envelope. But I believe this not.

  3. Nadreck says:

    At one point there was a boo-boo in the Canada Post rates, specifically in the subsidies to rural delivery, which meant that in BC it was cheaper to mail individual bricks to your construction project than via any other transport method. I think the practice was stopped by the Letter Carriers Union citing the health risks involved in hauling sacks of bricks around.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I bet they were glad when he died!

  5. Blinde Schildpad says:

    Apparently in 18th century a letter reached Dutch scientist Herman Boerhave from China, having just been addressed to “the illustrious Boerhaave, physician in Europe”.

  6. jamiethehutt says:

    The Royal Mail can be pretty damn impressive sometimes:

    My Mother is an industrial mycologist (her site here) and has had a letter for her arrive addressed to:

    The Mushroom Lady


  7. Xenu says:

    Isn’t there a children’s song about putting yourself in the mail?

  8. Anonymous says:

    In the English motorsport community there was a rumour that a racing driver got a letter delivered to him with just his name, town, and a description of the cars on his front drive written on it!

  9. Nores says:

    And his spirit of adventure lives on at the Journal of Improbable Research which, in 2000, conducted an experiment in which they attempted to mail various bizarre items (subdivided into categories that included “valuable,” “sentimental,” “unwieldy,” “pointless,” “suspicious,” and “disgusting.”

    Of the 28 items mailed, 18 made it to their destination addresses.

  10. Anonymous says:

    He wasn’t the first to mail himself…Henry Box Brown was a slave who mailed himself to freedom in the 19th century.


  11. Anonymous says:

    I remember, as a child, playing with the mail. I sent a letter to my friend, but I put his address in the return address part. I put my address in the main part of the envelope. I didn’t use a stamp.

    He received the letter (it was “returned” to him for insufficient postage).

    We thought we were geniuses.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Waldo Jeffers had reached his limit…

  13. theemu says:

    Games Magazine used to select a Envelope of the Month in each issue, which would sometimes have the address written in code.

  14. Forbes says:

    According to one biographer, a letter from overseas addressed:

    P.T. Barnum

    …was delivered to the recipient.

  15. petethewheat says:

    A friend of mine got a stained paper plate through the post once. On it was written something like: “Hi John, I was just at a party and thought I’d send you some of the great food. But I bet those greedy buggers at the Post Office eat it first.” And, in smaller letters along the edge, was “we did, it was lovely – thanks!”

  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s somewhat fun to mail random stuff. In Disneyworld, if you go to the store by the Aladdin ride, they have coconuts you can mail to yourself as a joke (yes, they do arrive).

    And I remember doing the same thing as #13 with the reversing of addresses. And we also thought we were amazing. Ah, youth!

  17. Astragali says:

    The cryptic addresses part reminds me of something (I think) Bill Bryson once related about a letter which was successfully delivered addressed as follows:


    which represented
    John Underhill
    Andover, Mass.

  18. jesseg says:

    This reminds me of the time my friend and I had to mail a bunch of envelopes for his uncle and we had a few stamps left over. We got to the post office and decided to write another friend’s address on a board that was about 6″x4″x1/2″. We only had a few stamps, so we put them on and dropped it a blue mailbox. A couple days later my friend said he got a board in the mail and his sister had to pay the mail carrier because of insufficient postage.

  19. Anonymous says:

    It irresistibly reminds me of the Velvet Underground song/story narrated by John Cale, “The Gift”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI-YiaWDgB4

  20. knoxblox says:

    Amusing how the postal service didn’t get the joke.

    While on the subject, does anyone remember the name of the artist famous for his little bunnies who often used the postal service as a vehicle for his art? They made a documentary about him around eight to ten years ago, I think?

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