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1960s funeral homes took to educating children about bad people

Ian Harvey

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In the 1960s funeral homes in America decided it was their moral duty to teach adults and children how to be a good or bad person. This was their way of telling people how to make it to the ultimate eternal paradise of heaven or the gruesome sentence of an eternity in hell. It was promoted by none other than the pamphlet.

The first pamphlet to be produced was made in the early 1960s and was made by the International Order of the Golden Rule. It was a charity organisation, its members were made up of independent, family-run funeral homes in the US and abroad.

It was promoted as a ‘secret book’ which revealed the characteristics of good and bad people. It was even given to children when they came to visit or attend a viewing of a dead loved-one at the funeral homes.

One section aimed to describe to children that it is not just their mummy and daddy who are good people in the world. This was in case the child’s parents were the ones who had died. It states that ‘most people are good’. It also told children that if they were to ever come across a bad person that they should tell their parents immediately and tell them what they did or said to them.

It warns children that most bad people, in fact look like they are good people, but they are not. It compares bad people to the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood and that they should be aware of the dangers. It goes on to warn that bad people usually are good in front of their parents, but will be bad when they are left alone with children. It also suggests that other children can be bad too. (Buzzfeed)

Some of the bad things that bad people do are suggested as: asking children to ride in a car with them, offer them sweets or candy. It says to never accept sweets and never to get in a stranger’s car.

It says to not go anywhere with strangers and to run away as fast as they can or to scream as loudly as they can in order to get attention from other people nearby. It even warns against the possibility of someone touching them in the cinema and if they do to run away as quickly as possible and tell someone in authority.

But it isn’t only people who can be bad, the pamphlet goes on to warn children about bad animals too, such as cats, dogs and squirrels. It says that animals can be dangerous and that children should be careful if going near them.

Each funeral home that distributed the pamphlets had its own company name stamped in the back for personalisation. Oddly enough, most who distributed the pamphlet in the 1960s are still in business.