25 Chilling Stories Of Being Buried Alive

Posted by , Updated on April 28, 2017


When you think about the worst ways to die, being buried alive probably doesn’t cross your mind, but not long ago this was one of society’s biggest fears. There were even emergency coffins constructed that had telephones. Fortunately, medical science has advanced so we are better able to tell when somebody is really dead. However, no matter how far we advance, we can’t stop people from killing each other, so whether it was genocide, murder, or just a mistake, these are 25 Chilling Stories Of Being Buried Alive.


The Killing Fields

killing fieldsSource: nytimes.com

Millions of Cambodians were killed by the Khmer Rouge and buried in the Cambodian Killing Fields. Horrifically, many of them were buried alive.


Octavia Hatcher

cemeterySource: appalachianhistory.net

After her baby died in 1891, Octavia came down with a strange disease and passed away as well. Other residents in the small Kentucky town started coming down with the disease too, but then they woke up from their “comas” after a while. Octavia’s husband panicked and had her dug up. It was too late though. She was dead, but it was obvious that she had woken up underground (scratch marks on her coffin). Her husband was devastated and erected a full scale statue of her. It still stands today.


Crushed by Fear

VologdaSource: bbc.com

A man in the Russian city of Vologda convinced his friend to bury him in order to overcome his fear of death. The next day, however, they found him dead. He was crushed under the Earth with which he had been buried.


An Unnamed Baby

babySource: cnn.com

In May 2015, an unnamed Chinese baby survived being buried for 8 days in a graveyard after he was found by a local woman. Apparently the parents didn’t want him because he had a cleft lip.


Matthew Wall

Braughing, EnglandSource: snopes.com

In the late 6th century, while Matthew’s body was being taken to his grave near Braughing, England, one of the pall bearers tripped and the coffin fell. To everyone’s surprise, Matthew woke up. He went on to celebrate his “resurrection” every year thereafter.


Neysi Perez

hospitalSource: telegraph.co.uk

In 2015, Neysi was buried in Honduras. Her family, however, said they heard screams coming from her coffin. When they finally managed to break it open, however, she was dead. They said her body was still warm though. Doctors later determined that she had wrongly been pronounced dead.


Sipho William Mdletshe

car crashSource: discovermagazine.com

In 1993, Sipho and his fiancee were in a car accident in South Africa. While his fiancee survived, he was pronounced dead. Fortunately, workers at the morgue heard his screams, and he was rescued.


Virginia Macdonald

New York cemeterySource: dailymail.co.uk

In 1851 Virginia was living with her dad in New York when she became ill, died, and was buried in Brooklyn. Following the burial, however, her mother told people that she didn’t think her daughter was dead. Apparently, she was convincing enough that they dug up Virginia’s body. The investigators found that she had in fact been buried alive, and there were scratch marks evident on the inside of her coffin.


Angelo Hays

motorcycle crashSource: forbes.com

After a motorcycle accident near the French town of St. Quentin de Chalais, Angelo was buried. Insurance inspectors dug him up a few days later, however, to find him alive and still breathing. Angelo went on to invent a security coffin with a radio transmitter and even a toilet!


Essie Dunbar

funeralSource: calebwilde.com

In 1915, Essie was declared dead in South Carolina. Since Essie’s sister arrived late to the funeral, she asked if she could see Essie one last time. Crazily enough, as soon as the coffin was opened, Essie sat up as if nothing had happened. She lived for another half century.


Mina El Houari

FezSource: news.com.au

While living in France, 25 year old Mina met a Moroccan man online and traveled to meet him in the Moroccan city of Fez. During their first date she passed out (she was diabetic). Thinking she had died, her date buried her in his backyard. He was later arrested for involuntary manslaughter when police found her body.


Chiara Paez

Santa Fe ProvinceSource: reuters.com

In 2015, Chiara went missing from Santa Fe Province in Argentina. She was 8 weeks pregnant. A few days later, police found her body in her boyfriend’s backyard after he confessed to having buried her alive.


Shamiso Kanyama

shovelSource: newsday.co.zw

In June 2015, this self-proclaimed Zimbabwean prophet ordered his followers to bury him so that he could later resurrect. His followers were arrested and face murder charges.


Marjorie Elphinstone

jewelrySource: snopes.com

After she was buried near her Scottish village in the 17th century, grave robbers dug up her body to see if they could steal some jewelry. To their surprise, Marjorie started groaning. The robbers ran off, and Marjorie walked home where she ended up outliving her husband.


Latori Barman

diggerSource: cnn.com

In 2015, Latori was walking home in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. He was drunk and fell into a construction pit by the side of the road. Workers didn’t notice him asleep at the bottom of the pit and paved right over him. He wasn’t found until the next day when locals noticed his arm protruding from the ground.


Mr. Cornish

Bath, EnglandSource: listverse.com

He was the mayor of Bath, England when he died of a fever. While he was being buried, the undertaker stopped for a few minutes to chat with friends. The group suddenly heard moans coming from Mr. Cornish’s coffin, but when they recovered him, he was already dead. Apparently, Mr. Cornish’s sister was so scarred by the ordeal, that she asked to be beheaded before her burial.


Stephen Small

moneySource: nytimes.com

The heir to a media empire, Stephen was kidnapped in 1987. His kidnappers buried him and intended to keep him alive with breathing tubes until they got a ransom. Their plan failed, however, and Stephen died underground.


Good luck burial

waterSource: bbc.com

Unfortunately, this good luck burial wasn’t so lucky. But how on Earth is a burial lucky in the first place? Well, apparently in Russia, people have been burying themselves lately claiming that it brings good fortune. One man in the eastern city of Blagoveshchensk had his friend bury him in a coffin with a straw that he could breath through. The next day, however, his friend came back to find him dead. Apparently it had rained the night before and the man had drowned.


Simon Magus

Simon MagusSource: rsc.byu.edu

Also known as Simon the Sorcerer, he is recorded as having met Peter in the Acts of the Apostles. There are some later accounts of his life that describe how he wanted to buried alive (possibly to rise again as Christ did). Unfortunately, Simon wasn’t the Christ, and his body remained in the ground.


James Rigely

life insuranceSource: cdnc.ucr.edu

A wealthy New Yorker, James took out several life insurance policies before his death. This raised some suspicion, and he was dug up for an autopsy. Investigators determined that he had been buried alive. We still don’t know why he took out the life insurance policies, however.


A Lucky Unlucky Girl

roadSource: cnn.com

In August 2014, a young Indian girl’s parents asked some friends to take her to a neighboring village. On the way, they buried the girl, but luckily, some locals were watching. She was rescued and identified her would-be murderers.



IonaSource: snopes.com

Oran was one of St. Columba’s monks on the island of Iona during the 6th century. According to legend, he was dug up the day after his burial to be found alive. When he started talking about how he had seen heaven and hell, he was allegedly branded a heretic and reburied.


Shakereh Khaleeli

mattressSource: telegraphindia.com

Coming from a wealthy Indian family, it caused an uproar when Shakereh went missing in 1991. Three years later, her remains were found in her own home. Apparently her second husband had drugged her and buried her between two mattresses.


Julia Legare

mausoleumSource: edistobeach.com

After she came down with diptheria in early 1800’s, young Julia’s body was buried in a local mausoleum to deter the spread of the disease. Following the Civil War, the mausoleum was opened in order to bury fallen soldiers. Tragically, a tiny skeleton was discovered right behind the mausoleum door. Julia had been buried alive.


The Unknown

ripSource: bbc.com

Perhaps the most terrifying of all the stories here are the ones we don’t know. Prior to the rise of modern medicine, determining death was a source of fiery debate. In fact, creating emergency coffins (with telephones) was a booming business at one point. It stands to reason that thousands (if not millions) of people throughout history have been buried alive and the living were none the wiser.

Photos: Featured – pixabay.com (public domain), 25. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 24-22. pixabay.com (public domain), 21. Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 20-19. pixabay.com (public domain), 18. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 17. pixabay.com (public domain), 16. Heavensowns, Heaven’s Own Funeral Service, CC BY-SA 4.0, 15. High Contrast, City of Fez, Morocco, CC BY 3.0 DE
14. No machine-readable author provided. Alegsa assumed (based on copyright claims)., Puente colgante santa fe, CC BY-SA 3.0,
13. www.pexels.com (public domain), 12-8. https://pixabay.com (public domain), 7. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 6. Nick Youngson via http://nyphotographic.com/, CC BY-SA 3.0, 5. Pixabay.com/ (public domain), 4. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 3-1. pixabay.com (public domain)

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