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Everyone gets all sassy about Buzzfeed because their lists, ex. “Top 59 things that will make you go WTF?!” are just images stolen from Reddit or Tumblr.  But now it seems they’ve started actually sending their staff into the field for original content.

A Buzzfeed staff writer went to the National Hobo Convention in Northern Iowa.  Hoboes are defined as people who ride trains from place to place for work….and they are NOT bums, thank you very much. The best thing to come out of this is that apparently they have some pretty specific hobo death rituals.

“When a hobo dies they are said to have “caught the Westbound.”


“Burlap plays a significant part in hobo memorial ceremonies.


One of the most important events at the Hobo Convention, besides the crowning of the Hobo King and Queen, is the hobo memorial ceremony.

At the ceremony everyone wears a strip of burlap.”

“The memorial ceremony is actually pretty emotional.


I wasn’t expecting to be moved by it, but the hoboes are basically one big family. The man in this picture’s brother passed away just before last year’s convention. His brother, Railroad Randy, was killed by a drunk driver while biking to the Convention.”

“Hoboes have an incredible respect for their dead.


There was also a makeshift memorial for a hobo named Dogman Tony who died during the past year. Everyone said he was kind of an asshole with a temper, but deep down he had a good heart.”

“Hoboes show respect for their dead by tapping their walking sticks on gravestones.”


Read the whole article here, it’s good.  h/t to Victoria Moore for knowing hobo death customs would interest me.

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