WEST CHESTER–A seventy-five-year-old woman, whose name was being withheld at press time, was found dead in her apartment yesterday afternoon, trapped by the weighted blanket under which she had been pinned for some time. Neighbors, who had not seen the woman for several days, alerted local police, who performed a wellness check, only to discover that things had not gone well for the unfortunate woman.
“In all my years on the force, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said West Chester police chief William “Bill” Evans. “I just can’t get that smell out of my mind.”
“That smell,” which has come to be known as “weighted-blanket bouquet,” occurs when the weight of the blanket, twenty-five pounds in this case, literally cooks any fecal matter or other bodily emissions released when the victim dies. It is, sadly, a smell that is becoming more and more familiar as reports of Weighted-Blanket Death Syndrome increase.
Weighted blankets, in case you’re still using a duvet, feature an internal liner with small, sewn-in pockets filled with a weighted material. The added weight replicates deep-pressure therapy, which facilitates the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation. These blankets—originally intended for people afflicted with autism, Asperger’s, and other sensory-processing disorders—are used to alleviate anxiety and to calm nerves. They also help people to fall asleep, and that’s why celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and their acolytes in the social-media mob have jumped on the weighted-blanket bandwagon.
“The design potential, given a blanket’s large ‘canvas,’ is unlimited,” says actress, Vanessa Grimaldi. “Besides, weighted blankets are a holistic alternative to Ambien. You won’t be sleepwalking with the Gravitas Blanket 3000.”
Unfortunately, some people never walk again after a night in the Gravitas 3000’s leaden embrace. The Center for Disease Control does not track weighted-blanket deaths officially, but a spokesperson for the group warned that weighted blankets have claimed the lives of a miniature Schnauzer, a pair of Siamese twins, and a homeless person in San Francisco.
“Clearly,” said the spokesperson, “this is not a one-size-fits-all blanket solution for sleeping disorders.”
Endorsements like Vanessa Grimaldi’s helped land weighted blankets on Time magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2018” list, even though such blankets have been in use for the last two decades. The only things different about today’s blankets are the Swarovski diamond trim on some models, and the price. Until Gravitas Blankets started selling its own weighted accessories northward of $200 each, most sensory blankets cost roughly $80.
Next Ellen: Are weighted blankets the latest sex tool?
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