Taphophobia: Fear of being buried alive.

Do you have taphophobia? Stuck in a coffin not much larger than your body, in total darkness, 6 feet under the ground? You’re not alone; it’s a common fear.

That particular form of burial alive is not very common, these days. Today, burial alive tends to only occur in mudslides, avalanches and the like. It hasn’t always been so.

To this day, we aren’t sure what qualifies someone as “deadHeartbeat? Brain function? Many opinions exist on the subject. We still aren’t sure what qualifies someone as dead.

We aren’t totally lost though. These days, with our fancy equipment and medical science, we have a good idea if someone is going to wake up or not. We can tell the difference between a coma patient and a dead person. At least not in countries with enough money for computers.

So you’re safe.

It hasn’t always been so, though. That’s right, once upon a time, a dead human being was:

  1. Not moving
  2. In many pieces

The problem, of course, was the first category. Back in the old days, when they didn’t have electronics to inform the doctors on the patient’s status, they were forced to use less…courteous forms of checking, such as nipple pinching, smoke enemas, and last but not least: tongue pulling. Tongue pulling was an especially popular form, popular enough to have an instrument created specifically for that purpose.

Another precaution was taken in France and Germany, with houses of rest for people who were most likely dead. They had strings attached to them, and if they were ever to awake, an alarm would ring.

This form of safety evolved into the security coffin. In 1897, Count Karnice-Karnickicreated a gadget that, with any movement of the body, would open up an air hole in the buried coffin, as well as light a lamp, and ring a bell for thirty minutes.

Although it might seem that all of this precaution was unnecessary, the truth is, burial alive was a reality in those times. Throughout history, countless number of people were buried alive. Most of the cases will never be known, of course.

Just be glad you weren’t one of them. Appreciate our technology

Also see: Oubliette