Monday, 3 March 2014

The Rumor of His Death Was Greatly Exaggerated

Safety Coffin Equipped with Bell
Walter Williams of Lexington, Mississippi is now recovering in a hospital after being declared dead, placed in a body bag, and sent to a local funeral parlor to be embalmed. The fact that he was still alive became readily apparent to the funeral director when Williams began kicking his feet in the body bag.

What happened? Apparently, his pacemaker stopped functioning so that he appeared to be dead, but it later started up again. 

The fear of being buried alive is not uncommon--in its extreme it is known as taphophobia. If you're a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, you'll recognize premature burial as one of his central themes.

Apparently, this fear peaked during the cholera epidemics of the 18th and 19th centuries. "Safety" coffins were invented with various features: glass lids for observation, breathing and feeding tubes, locks for which the interred had the key, and bells connected to ropes for signalling. (Source: Wikipedia)

As for Mr. Williams, his daughter summed up the situation succinctly:  "... He wasn’t ready to go."

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