Hoaxes & Rumors

Did Obama Order Disposable FEMA Coffins?

Did Obama Order Disposable FEMA Coffins?

A story circulating online states that President Obama has ordered $1 billion in “disposable FEMA coffins” and photographic evidence is offered as proof.

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The story is unfounded, and these claims have been in circulation longer than President Obama has been in office. Today we take a closer look at some of the allegations.

Photos of “Disposable FEMA Coffins”

The images below have been featured with speculative articles by some writers (most notably Alex Jones of InfoWars) that these “disposable coffins” were ordered by the government, which must have some diabolical plans to use them in the near future.

coffin-1 coffin-2

The images above do not show “disposable coffins” but casket liners, which encase a casket to protect it from the elements, and to prevent the collapse of the surrounding ground. Michael Lacey, Vice President of Operations for Vantage Products Corporation – the manufacturer of these casket liners – responded to these allegations back in 2008. He described the liner seen in the photos as Vantage’s Standard Air Seal, the company’s most popular – and least expensive – model.

Some older versions of this theory state that the “stockpile” of burial vaults were manufactured by Wyoming-based Polyguard & Co., which is incorrect, as Vanguard has since publicly responded to allegations about the casket liners.

Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura

The casket liners were featured on the second season of truTV’s series Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura during an episode entitled “Police State” which aired on November 12, 2010. Ventura is accompanied in this episode by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in their visit to the stockyard in Madison, Georgia where the Vantage plastic casket liners were stored at the time. Their discussion reflects either a lack of understanding – or a refusal to believe – what they were seeing.

Jones describes the scene as “hundreds of thousands of plastic coffins.”

Ventura replies, “So each one of those is a separate coffin stacked on top. There’s probably what, 20 to 25 per stack? And how many stacks? Literally hundreds of them.”

Jones adds, “And you can fit four dead bodies per plastic coffin. It’s basically a giant body bag.”

Ventura continues his ominous narrative:

Tens of thousands of coffins. Officially, they’re plastic grave liners. Seven feet long, three feet deep, with lids. The company that makes them says they’re just being stored for people’s pre-needs. Well, who in the hell has a pre-need for this many coffins? Unless they’re planning a massacre.

Lacey pointed out that there are approximately 900,000 ground burials in the U.S. each year. As one of a small handful of companies which make such casket liners, Vantage’s inventory of 50,000 of their most popular model should seem reasonable.

President Obama Involvement

The claims of “disposable FEMA coffins” often allege that President Obama has “quietly ordered” the purchase of these “FEMA coffins.”

The story,  however, can be traced back to at least 2006 (see an early discussion here) while President Bush was still in office. In 2014, we see virtually the same story being recycled, but with President Obama’s name now attached.

Aside from the inability to reconcile the age of the story with the length of Obama’s presidency, the writers making these allegations offer no evidence whatsoever that either President Bush or President Obama ever ordered 500,000 – or 5 million – “disposable coffins” or casket liners. That number far exceeds the inventory of the manufacturers of these products.

5 Million Coffins

The numbers $1 billion and “5 million coffins” have been used recently with this “FEMA coffin” narrative. Regarding the claims of 5 million coffins, Lacey stated that at that time there were approximately 50,000 casket liners stored at the site, and estimated that the original number was probably 70,000 to 80,000.  He has been quoted as saying, “It’s nowhere near the quantity they talk about on the Internet.” Note that at that original allegations claimed that 500,000 coffins were ordered.

Owned by the Government

Answering claims that the government, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), laid claim to these “coffins,” Lacey once again put the questions to rest, “They’re not owned by any one individual, company or the government.”

Patent 5,425,163

One writer, perhaps influenced by Jones’ statements, claimed that these containers were too large to hold one person, and cited Patent 5,425,163 as proof that these are “cremation containers for multiple bodies.” If we take a look at the patent, however, the phrase “multiple bodies” does not exist. Further, that patent appears to describe a completely different product altogether, as it is a cremation container, not a casket liner already established above.  The liners featured in the photos above more closely resemble this patent for “funeral vaults.”

Other Debunkers

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We would like to acknowledge a few others who have already taken the time to investigate variations of the “FEMA coffin” story, each with a slightly different focus.

Evolving Story

The claim of FEMA coffins dates back at least 9 years, and has evolved over that time. Consider:

  • Originally it was President Bush who was said to be secretly ordering these “coffins.” Now it is President Obama.
  • The number allegedly ordered has been claimed to be 500,000  – then 5 million, and even 150 million. The actual number of liners seen in the video is around 50,000.
  • Early speculation referred to liners as plastic, disposable coffins, but this description has since changed. Now it is suggested that these liners are being purchased because they can be used as coffins, not that they are coffins.
  • In 2009, the “coffins” were sometimes cited as an ominous sign of the H1N1 virus, but that claim has since disappeared.
  • During the Ebola crisis in fall of 2014, the urban legend reemerged with claims that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) may be stockpiling “hermetically sealed coffins” in anticipation of an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the United States.

Google Trends History

The Google Trends graph below shows search interest in the term “FEMA coffins” over time. The graph also displays the enduring nature of this urban legend, as a peak surge occurred recently in October of 2014 with implications that the CDC was amassing “hermetically sealed caskets” for a potential American Ebola epidemic.

Bottom Line

The so-called “FEMA coffins” are nothing more than casket liners stored by the company who makes them. There is no evidence that President Obama (or President Bush) secretly ordered large quantities of these items.

Updated March 14, 2015
Originally published January 2014

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  • Eric

    Fun to read all your guy’s thoughts. Everyone is woried about the wrong thing. Just you yourself should be prepared for everything, and hope for nothing to happen.
    Did you know the government has classified documents that explain what to do when aliens from outer space come to attack/colonize/etc. The world. You may think that is crazy, but I think thats just good prepping/planning for a just in case scenario. Question off topic…. Do you believe the government knows about aliens and is keeping us in the dark?
    As for the plastic liners, ……actually I can care less, no one tells the truth these days, so theres no point on speculating on just about anything anymore. I do hope that this planet does eventually colonize another planet or moon etc. Before we over populate. Oops. …too late.
    I hope for a world with clean air and green renewable energy without the issues of greed, which is why we are in this predicament in the first place.
    Have fun in you discussions!

  • carl

    yeah, and homeland security really didn’t purchase 2 1/2 billion rounds of hollow point bullets, and they really arent training to kill conservatives, christians, and veterans! They never really purchased a minimum of 2700 light infantry vhehicles, there really aren’t any fema camps,you can keep your insurance if you like it, rates won’t really go up. There was no fast and furious gun running operation, begazi never really happened, obama doesn’t really fund AlQuieda, you morons better wake up!You still think this is dem/repub issues, their in it together! On your casket liners, what caskets do you know of that hold 4-5 bodies and even if your count of 5 million was accurate which it isn’t, 2 things come up right away, 5 bodys a casket, thats 25 million people dying somewhere,where would that be geneiouses? the 2nd question is what poor slob manufactured 5 million of these and is storing them till they sell? I’m guessing that poor bastered is out of business by now because just what I know about them, they’ve beeb stored for at least 1 1/2 years!

  • wilma

    Steven, that seems like legitimate reasoning. But consider this. It’s maybe not necessary to destroy “evidence”. Maybe the fact that you can fit 2,3-4 bodies in one container that can then be moved easier (forklift, truck) because it is a rigid container as opposed to a “bag”. Also, moving containers… looks like containers as opposed to a body bag… just sayin…

  • Steven

    Seriously people think this through before making stupid conclusions:
    Why a govt would order these:
    1- natural deaths of military or john does that need a burial…… That’s it, that’s all!

    Conspiracy theorists seem to think that their govt would order these to be able to bury a million people or something…. Now seriously think about that …. And then just realize that mass graves are simpler and much cheaper, it’s really the historical precedent also!! Plus these plastic things will preserve evidence, and if I were a malicious govt about to kill off 1 million or more people I would be much more interested in bags of caustic that would degrade all the evidence in the mass graves as quickly as possible.

    Have a nice day.

  • Shane Saylor

    This story is complete bullsh-t. you say that they are casket liners but in the end when you discuss the patent you say that they are indeed coffins. it doesn’t matter that they aren’t being used right now, its the fact that the govt bought them and is storing them.

    • waffles

      The patent actually describes them as “funeral vaults.”

      There is no evidence the government purchased or owns these casket liners. The company which produces them has also stated that they are not owned by the feds or any single entity.

      • Duane

        Actually, the government didn’t buy them. They’re being stored by the manufacturer o private land. Do you really think that if the government bought them for the purpose speculated on, that they’d keep them out in the open for all to see?

        As to having them looking like containers for stacking and moving, do you again really think that a government willing to murder millions of its own would care what it looks like after doing so?

        • John Baker

          As some of the replies here clearly illustrate, conspiracy nuts will believe anything – except the truth.

          • L.Love

            Still plenty of sheep out there I see.

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