A Romanian man is in a unique predicament: as far as the Romanian government is concerned, Constantin Reliu is dead. This was news to Constantin Reliu.
According to the Associated Press, Reliu spent the last 20 years working as a cook in Turkey. While away, Reliu’s wife had him declared legally dead. Reliu first left for Turkey in 1992; in 1995, he returned to Romania to learn that his wife had been unfaithful to him. In 1999, he decided to return to Turkey permanently.
Unfortunately for him, the Turkish government booted him out of the country for having expired papers earlier this year. That’s when things got bizarre.
“Upon landing at Bucharest airport,” the AP reports, “he was informed by border officials that he had been officially declared dead and underwent six hours of questioning and tests.”
Finally, border officials decided it was him and allowed him to enter his home country. The courts, however, have been less understanding:
But authorities in Barlad were less convinced. He spent weeks trying to persuade them to issue him papers so that he officially “existed,” he said. When that failed, he asked them to overturn the ruling on his death certificate, issued in 2016, which also ended in failure Thursday on procedural grounds.
It seems the problem was that his request was “too late.”
“I am a living ghost,” Reliu told the AP in a phone interview.
“I am officially dead, although I’m alive,” he argued. “I have no income and because I am listed as dead, I can’t do anything.”
The AP said they were unable to find Reliu’s wife to learn her side of the story.
Of course, considering it’s Romania, you’d think they’d at least be comfortable with the idea of a dead man not being as dead as he seems. They do have some history with legends along those lines.