A warm cup of Halloween cheer
October 31, 2008 5:34 PM Subscribe
"How would you like to tour my famous tomb?" he asked. "It's impossible to be buried alive there."
posted by Countess Elena (27 comments total)
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This gentleman is almost alone in his concerns today, thanks to modern medicine's advances (and advances in embalming). But in the 19th century, plans to prevent live burial
were frequent. Timothy Clark Smith
of Vermont had a window installed in his grave, where you can check on him to this day. The Germans instituted Leichenhauser
(or "waiting mortuaries"
), halls in which corpses rested among flowers, their fingers tied to alarm bells, until it was clear to everyone that it was time for their burial.
Live burial was thankfully more of a nightmare than a real occurrence. No one, to any doctor's knowledge, ever walked out of a Leichenhaus
; no one, so far as I have found, rang a bell in his grave.
(The eponymous, and best, book on the subject, whose author is quoted in the article.