Monday, August 12, 2013

Buried Alive

Many people have the fear of being buried alive, called taphophobia. Sadly, it is based an a possible event. In the past, methods of determining death were unreliable. Often, someone would be believed dead because of a shallow pulse and state of comatose. They would be buried while still living, and the mistake only discovered after it was too late.

Premature burials often occurred during times of chaos. During events such as the Black Death or the Civil War, large numbers of the dead needing to be buried left little time to ensure one was actually dead and many were buried alive in mass graves.

Other occurrences have been discovered when graves were to be moved or else when a newly dead family member was added to a crypt. Moved graves revealed skeletons laying upside down and in contorted positions, leading to the belief that they were alive at burial and then died sometime after. Bodies exhumed just days after burial would reveal bitten down fingers, ripped out nails, scratches to face limbs and casket, as well as pulled out hair and contorted expressions of fear.

Today, such events are rare, as technology allows for the detection of life. Also, practices of most burials (cremation or embalming) make it impossible to still be live while buried. Still, it is a nightmare that haunts many.

To read of some examples, see this website.