Human history has a morbid fascination with people being buried alive. The Eqyptians entombed slaves to serve their masters through eternity. Edgar Allan Poe wrote several stories in which the people were either mistakenly or purposely buried while alive. In Germany the Waiting Mortuary was popular; being a place where the deceased were kept for a number of days just to be sure. In Haiti, people were given drugs that mimicked death for a period of time, then when they awoke were told they had died and were now zombies, to be used as slave labor.
There were even contraptions like this:
Still cases of burial alive were pretty rare, and even more rarely did the person get a second chance at life.
I came across the following story on Confessions Of A Funereal Director’s FaceBook Page and just had to share.
After succumbing to a fever of some sort in 1705, Irish woman Margorie McCall was hastily buried to prevent the spread of whatever had done her in. Margorie was buried with a valuable ring, which her husband had been unable to remove due to swelling. This made her an even better target for body snatchers, who could cash in on both the corpse and the ring.
The evening after Margorie was buried, before the soil had even settled, the grave-robbers showed up and started digging. Unable to pry the ring off the finger, they decided to cut the finger off. As soon as blood was drawn, Margorie awoke from her coma, sat straight up and screamed.
The fate of the grave-robbers remains unknown. One story says the men dropped dead on the spot, while another claims they fled and never returned to their chosen profession.
Margorie climbed out of the hole and made her way back to her home.
Her husband John, a doctor, was at home with the children when he heard a knock at the door. He told the children, “If your mother were still alive, I’d swear that was her knock.”
When he opened the door to find his wife standing there, dressed in her burial clothes, blood dripping from her finger but very much alive, he dropped dead to the floor. He was buried in the plot Margorie had vacated.
Margorie went on to re-marry and have several children. When she did finally die, she was returned to Shankill Cemetery in Lurgan, Ireland, where her gravestone still stands. It bears the inscription “Lived Once, Buried Twice.”
Sleep well readers.
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