11 Horrifying Cases of People Who Woke Up in Their Graves

Waking up to find yourself buried alive and trapped inside a coffin, several feet under the ground is as terrifying as it is real. Years ago when embalming wasn’t as common and medical science wasn’t as advanced, there have been numerous cases where people have had the horrifying experience of regaining consciousness in their graves. What happens after, is the most disturbing thing you’ll read today.

1. The Man Who Emerged from His Grave

Actual Image of the man trying to escape after he was buried alive

In 2013, a woman living in the Sao Paulo suburb of Ferraz de Vasconcelos witnessed something truly terrifying. While visiting a cemetery to pay respects to her family tomb, she saw a man trying to escape from his grave. Having already freed his hands and head on his own, the man attempted to pull the rest of his body out of the ground. Rescue workers arrived at the scene and helped the man escape his grave. He was rushed to the hospital for medical evaluation. Nobody knows exactly how he was buried alive in the first place, but officials think he was involved in a fight that ended with him being nearly beaten to death. As a result of the whole ordeal, the man suffered severe psychiatric problems later in his life.

2. The Sleeping Beauty

Another disturbing case of premature burial comes from Kentucky where an unknown disease had caused an epidemic in the late 1800’s. A resident, Octavia Smith Hatcher went into a bedridden depression after her son passed away in 1891. She eventually slipped into a coma wherein she was pronounced dead due to unknown causes. Octavia was buried very quickly in the local cemetery due to the sweltering heat. Barely a week after her burial, many of the townspeople who had been stricken with the same debilitating illness, began waking up from their coma. Octavia’s husband began to fear that he had prematurely buried his wife. He procured an exhumation of her grave only to discover that his worst fears were in fact true. The lining on the inside of the coffin had been scratched and torn to pieces. Octavia’s nails were bloodied and broken, and her face was contorted with horrific fear. She had been buried alive. Octavia was reburied and her husband erected a lifelike monument over her grave site that still stands today. It was later speculated that the mysterious illness was actually a disease called sleeping sickness which is known to be caused by a Tsetse fly.

3. The Smiling Corpse

In 1915, 30-year-old Essie Dunbar from South Carolina suffered a seemingly fatal epileptic attack that led her doctors to believe that she was dead. Dunbar’s sister, who lived out of town, wanted to come to the funeral. So, the Church delayed the services for a day to accommodate her wishes. Apparently, the sister couldn’t arrive on time so the pastors decided to go ahead with the burial. But right as the gravediggers had finished burying the coffin, Dunbar’s sister showed up and convinced them to exhume the coffin to see her sister one last time. Only when they opened the coffin, Essie Dunbar sat up and smiled at her sister. Everyone panicked and ran, thinking that she was a ghost. Dunbar chased the mourners into town and eventually convinced them that she was, in fact, alive. Nevertheless, for years afterwards, many people thought she was actually a zombie. Essie Dunbar finally died in 1962.

4. Half in Half Out

Seventeen-year-old Mary Norah Best was pronounced dead from cholera and entombed in the Chew’s vault in an old French cemetery in 1871. The surgeon that pronounced her dead was a man who would have benefited by her death. Mary was put into a pine coffin and it was nailed shut. Ten years later, when the vault was unsealed to admit the body of her brother, the undertaker’s assistant found the lid off of Mary’s coffin on the floor. The position of her skeleton was half in and half out of the coffin. Apparently after being entombed, Mary awoke from the trance and struggled violently till she was able to force the lid off of her coffin. The strain was too much for her and she fainted in the attempt, falling forward over the edge of her coffin, when her head struck against the masonry shelf killing her.

5. Birth in The Grave

In 1901, a pregnant Madame Bobin who arrived from Western Africa in a steamer, was suffering from yellow fever. She was then transferred to a hospital where she became worse and apparently died and was buried. A nurse later said she noticed that the body was not cold and that there was tremulousness of the muscles of the abdomen and doubted that Bobbin could have been prematurely buried. After this was reported to Madame Bobin’s father, he had the body exhumed. They were horrified to find that a baby had been born and died with Madame Bobin in the coffin. An autopsy showed that Madame Bobin had not contracted yellow fever and had died from asphyxiation in the coffin. Madame Bobbin’s father filed a suit of $13,000 in damages against the health officials.

6. The Girl Who Lived

The idea of being buried alive is scary enough, but it becomes inconceivably horrific when a child is the victim. In August 2014, that is exactly what happened to a six-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh, India. According to the girl’s uncle, a married couple that lived close to the victim tricked her into going with them to a fair a few villages over. It wasn’t until they reached an expansive sugar cane field that they proceeded to strangle the girl and bury her for unknown reasons. Luckily, some of the villagers working in the field saw them enter and became suspicious when they left without the child. They went to the spot and found her unconscious and not breathing in a shallow grave in the field. They were able to rush her to the hospital in the nick of time, and when she regained consciousness she was able to identify her kidnappers. The girl did not remember being buried alive. The suspects were never caught.

7. Buried Himself Alive

Throughout history, people have been known to bury themselves alive for the thrill. Professional escapologists performing such stunts and escaping out with just seconds to spare, do leave their audiences bewildered. But not all of them come out alive. In 2011, a 35-year-old Russian man believed that burying himself alive for 24 hours would make him lucky for the rest of his life. With some help from a friend, he dug a grave outside of the city of Blagoveshchensk and inserted a makeshift coffin complete with air piping, a single bottle of water, and a cell phone. Once the man got inside the casket, his friend covered him with nearly a foot of dirt and left. But when the friend returned to relieve him in the morning, he was dead. It seems that an overnight rain might have blocked the air pipes and left the man to suffocate in his own casket.

8. The Woman Who Defied Death

Like many other premature burial incidents, Margorie McCall from Northern Ireland fell ill, was pronounced dead and consequently buried in a nearby graveyard. The same night, a group of grave robbers exhumed her body in order to steal her ring. When the robbers attempted to cut her finger off to remove the ring, Margorie suddenly woke up and terrified the robbers, who then fled the cemetery. Margorie climbed out of her coffin and walked home, where her family was gathered to mourn her death. Upon hearing a knock at the door, Margorie’s husband still in grief said “if your mother were still alive, I’d swear that was her knock.” and sure enough when he opened the door there she was dressed in her burial clothes, very much alive. Her husband fainted immediately.

9. Her Failed Escape

In January of 1886, a girl from Woodstock, Ontario, presumably died under suspicious circumstances. A day or two after her apparent death, when the body was exhumed for moving it to another burial place, a spine-chilling discovery was made. In a frantic attempt to escape, she had torn her shroud into shreds, her knees were drawn all the way up to her chin, one of her arms was twisted under her head, and her features bore evidence of dreadful torture. She had been buried alive.

10. The Mayor of Bath

In the early 1700’s, Cornish, a beloved mayor of Bath, died of an apparent fever. As was customary at the time, Cornish’s body was buried fairly quickly after he was pronounced dead. The gravedigger was halfway done with his work when he stopped for a quick drink with some visitors. While they were having a chat, they heard the sound of stifled moans coming from Mr. Cornish’s half-buried grave. Scared that he might have been buried alive, they hurried to try and save him before he ran out of oxygen in his casket. But by the time they had removed the dirt and were able to open the coffin lid, it was too late—Mr. Cornish had suffocated in his own grave and left his knees and elbows bloodied and beaten in an attempt to escape. Petrified by what had happened to her brother, Cornish’s half-sister told her relatives to behead her when she died so that she wouldn’t suffer the same fate.

11. Mrs. Boger

In 1893, a farmer named Charles Boger and his wife were living in Whitehaven, Pennsylvania when Mrs. Boger suddenly died of unknown causes. Doctors confirmed her death, and she was promptly buried. That should have been the end of the story, but sometime after her death, a friend told Charles that his wife had suffered from hysteria before Charles had met her, and it was possible that she hadn’t actually died. The very thought of his wife being buried alive made Charles hysterical. Her body was quickly exhumed and what he found was beyond shocking. Mrs. Boger’s body was turned over. Her shroud and robes were shredded to pieces and the glass of her coffin lid was broken all over her body. Her skin was bloodied and scratched, while her fingers were missing entirely. It was presumed that she had chewed them off in horror, while attempting to escape the grave.




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