Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Taphophobic Crow.....

Taphophobia:  The medical term for the irrational fear of being buried alive.....
 In the 17th and 18th centuries, the rate of individuals being buried alive was quite high....mostly due to the high number of people dying of diseases such as cholera, smallpox, etc.
Those dying of disease were generally not thoroughly examined to make sure they were truly dead out of fear of contamination.... They also tended to be buried quickly to prevent the spread of whatever disease they had contracted and led to their demise.

Taphophobia hit its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries and there are numerous documented cases of premature burials....
Some very famous people were actually taphophobics....including George Washington, Chopin, and Hans Christian Anderson. George instructed his attendants to not put his body in the vault any sooner than 3 days after he passed.  (So, wonder no more why a "wake" is called a "wake" and bodies usually aren't buried immediately.)  Chopin requested that he be cut open to make sure he wouldn't be alive when he was dead.  And Anderson used to leave a card on his dresser every night before he went to bed saying "I am not really dead."
One of the saddest cases of premature interment occurred in the 1850's in South Carolina.  A young girl, who was believed to have died of diphtheria, was buried in family's mausoleum.  However, when her brother later died in the Civil War and the tomb was opened for his interment, the little girl's skeleton was found not where she had been laid to rest, but on the floor just behind the locked door.
  
 The prevalence of the phenomena actually led to the invention of various versions of "safety coffins."  These were coffins which were designed to either allow the "undeceased" to get out, or, more commonly to give them the ability to alert the outside world of the fact that they were still alive. One such device had a rope attached to a bell on the surface and to the deceased's hand in the coffin.....(Now you know where the term "dead ringer" comes from....)
In 1896, a group was formed called the "Society for the Prevention of People Being Buried Alive."  One of the group's goals was to have a law passed that prohibited a body from being buried until strong putrefaction and smell were evident.
I take issue with the definition of taphophobia...
 ...I don't think there's anything "irrational" at all about it....

20 comments:

Heather Wise said...

Creepy, but well written post! Fascinating! I love the part about Hans Christian Anderson...I'm not really dead. The loud snoring isn't enough proof! ;) I have to read this to my students. And no, it is not irrational. Your pictures make me feel claustrophobic!

I hope it gets better!

Warm hugs and blessings!
Heather

Willow said...

Captivating post !
Still the marvelous beautiful dog held my attention.

Primitive Stars said...

Evening Dear Crow, how fascinating, found these facts so so interesting but creepy at the same time.....I thought we had lots of snow but I think the land of Nod has way more......Love the pictures but Snow Dog does the camera proud, stunning, Try to hang in there Robin, Spring has to come sometime, Hugs Francine.

Kim said...

Oh Robin, that is just too much snow. I don't think "irrational" applies here either. But Snow Dog seems quite content.
I'm praying for a speedy thaw for you.
P.S. Stop by my blog, I posted NEWS

Raggedy Creations said...

No wonder you're becoming a tapa whatever it is. It's getting pretty deep isn't it.

Snow dog looks like he's enjoying it though.

Felicia

Prims By The Water said...

Creepy but when Bob and I went to a Civil War re=enactment, they had a house in morning. There was a coffin in the house where the bell was attached to the inside. They also told us that placing flowers on the coffin was out of necessity so as to get rid of the smell of a rotten body. I love history. Thanks for sharing! Janice

Rugs and Pugs said...

Oh, Robyn,
I don't think I'll whine about my snow any longer. OH MY!
Love this post. I had heard about the dead ringer.
You're lucky you have a snow dog and not a Jack Russell. Ellie would never make it in the Land of Nod.
Hugs :)
Lauren

The Moonlit Stitch said...

Snowdog stands so proud and handsome...waiting to dig you out if need be. Thanks for the awesome post Robin. As a kid I had a Halloween record of creepy sounds and one was "buried alive". Yep. A fella clawing and trying to "get out". So cray cray. Being buried alive by an avalanche is also so sad. Being buried alive by tiny snowflakes...tiny snowflakes...slowly falling...day after day...a torture of it's own. You got a lot of snow girl. Hang in there friend ~*~Lisa

marly said...

Although my claustrophobia has me gasping for air right now, I really enjoyed the lesson. Very interesting. And then there's that snow and my worry about the animals. We're getting hit with 10" tonight but it doesn't compare to your pile. Will it be thawed by July?

Shirlee said...

Very interesting info, & you know I'm loving those photos!!!

Woman Seeking Center said...

Fascinating history Crow, eloquently written (as always). I share your distress in relation to "snowpilephobia". Perhaps we shouldn't step foot outside our respective doors without bells in hand?!

Hold on. Spring is scheduled and expected...

Hugs, Issy

Woman Seeking Center said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Primlish ♥ said...

I just love this post! I have a book that tells where a lot of those sayings came from, very interesting!
I am with you, I can barely see over the mounds surrounding my driveway and sidewalks. And it's snowing AGAIN...

bettyj said...

Snow dog is gorgeous! Gorgeous. I cannot imagine that much snow. I have a friend in Spooner and she has shown picturs quite like that. Stay warm and just enjoy being cozied in.

lilraggedyangie said...

HOLY CROW THAT'S ALOT OF SNOW!!! I'm never visiting Nod no offense lol Mason is lookin handsome as ever seems he's lookin off yonder for a treat lol...and I just love your deep dark posts...ya FREAK LOL HUGS LIL RAGGEDY

deb said...

OMG thats the saddest story of the little girl ever:( we are having summer here in cali.....been in the 80s for weeks, but no water...we will pay for it this summer!!!

prims by olde lady morgan said...

What a creepy entertaining post! I found it very interesting, but though you were here for visit and showing my street! Stay warm my friend!!! OLM

Raymond Homestead said...

Oh my gosh, how horrible that would be to be buried alive. I can't even allow myself to think about it!

Cindi said...

Such interesting posts you make and also so much to be learned. But then again I feel your pain with the snow and also the cold, will it ever end? I guess it makes us enjoy the spring so much more! Hard to believe looking at the Wisconsin River the last time I was in Tomahawk that on a hot humid day we were out on a pontoon enjoying the sun!
Keep on keeping on!
Cindi

Roberta said...

Informative and so sad. I can't imagine how traumatic it must have been for that poor girl's family. Being snowed in sounded so cozy in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books--I didn't appreciate what a positive spin she put on such a hard time. ~Roberta