Saturday, January 25, 2014

Buried Alive

In the past without the medical advancements we have today people were pronounced dead and buried when they were just unconscious. This happened enough that people actually feared being buried alive.

At one point there was even an industry that provided coffins with ways for a person to communicate if they were pronounced dead and buried by mistake.

Edgar Allan Poe and several other writers of his time wrote stories about this “real life” fear. Imagine reading one of these stories if you feared this or knew someone that had been buried alive.

In Daniel Cohen’s book, The Encyclopedia of Ghosts he shares several stories about people who suffered this awful fate. Here are just two.

A Long Happy Life

During a typhoid epidemic a young woman from an affluent family became ill. To the great sadness of the family the various physicians they called in all stated that they could do nothing for the young women. The last doctor told the family they best prepare for her death.

Her beloved older brother was traveling for business on the continent when he heard of her impending death. He rushed home to find she had already died and he was told that her funeral had been held just hours before his arrival.

Overwhelmed with grief he made his way to the cemetery. He found two gravediggers just finishing covering his sister’s grave with dirt. He wanted to say goodbye by looking upon her face one last time. He asked the gravediggers to uncover the coffin but they flatly refused.

A crowd gathered as he pleaded passionately with these men. Two onlookers took pity on him and volunteered to do the deed. As they pried the lid off the coffin the crowd pushed forward in morbid curiosity.

The brother looked down upon his sister’s face and tears clouded his vision. A grasp arose from the crowd for most had seen what they had assumed was a “dead corpse” now moving. Within moments the entire group heard soft moans.

The brother now confused looked at the people who surrounded him and was surprised to see them all jump back as one. He turned back to the coffin to see his sister sitting up.

She had just been unconscious and the family taking the doctor’s advice had buried her quickly in an attempt not to spread the disease.

The sister recovered completely--she married, had a large family and lived to attend her beloved brother’s funeral.

A Terrible End

The two men had been best friends since childhood. They opened a feed store together and they lived near each other after they both married.

One Sunday John was riding to the next town when something spooked his horse. John was thrown from the horse and hit his head on a rock.

The country doctor who attended him at the scene pronounced him dead. He was carried home in a wagon and buried near the orchard on the family farm.

The day after his funeral his best friend started to have a vivid nightmare.

In this dream John stood before him and asked, “Why did you let them bury me? I was not dead.”

The friend replied, “But you were dead.”

John disgusted at this response stated, "No I wasn’t. If you don’t believe me--check out my coffin--you will find the proof you need."

For the next several nights John appeared in his friend’s dreams and continued to argue with him.

The friend at his wits end finally went to John’s grave and dug it up. He found him face down--he of course had been buried face up.

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