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Monday, 21 July 2014

Survival Guide: Burried Alive In A Coffin

Dear friends,

Have you ever heard of "Premature burial"? If not, for sure you heard at least once in your life stories about people being buried alive in their coffins. That can be done by mistake or in bad will. Intentional burial may occur as a form of torture, murder, or execution; it may also occur with consent of the victim as a part of a stunt (with the intention to escape). Live burial is said to be one of the most widespread of human fears. Come on... just think of this: this is one way to die that is quite complex. You can either die inside the coffin out of asphyxiation, dehydration, starvation, or (in cold climates) hypothermia... Oh! The options/possibilities! 
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For me this always was terribly frightening. I even remember stories where a bell would be put next to the burial place and the string would be left inside the coffin so that in case that person would wake up, one would be able to pull the string and the people watching the graveyard would come to help... What if you are claustrophobic?! What if you panic just by waking up in a foreign place with no light and no space to move? What if you truly are not dead? There are several hundred cases throughout the history where several years later people would dug out the dead for rituals and find them moved in the coffin and several nail marks on the coffin... What if you are pronounced dead but in fact you are just in some kind of trance/coma and you would wake up?... Horrid thought!
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You can read about such burials by mistake or with intention throughout the history. Tacitus, in his work Germania, records that German tribes practiced two forms of capital punishment; the first where the victim was hanged on trees, and another, where the victim was tied to a wicker frame, pushed face down into mud and buried. The first was used to make an example of traitors, the second was used for punishment of dishonourable or shameful crimes, such as cowardice or sodomy. According to Tacitus, the old Germans thought that crime against honour should be exposed, whereas infamy should be buried out of sight.
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During World War II, Japanese soldiers were documented to have buried Chinese civilians alive, notably during the Nanking Massacre. This method of execution was also used by German leaders against Jews in Ukraine and Belarus during World War II.
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It could happen to anyone... People bury a person alive to scare them or to get rid of them. In this situation, rely only on yourself.
  1. Do not waste oxygen. In a classic coffin there’s only enough oxygen for about an hour, maybe two. Inhale deeply, exhale very slowly. Once inhaled - do not swallow, or you will start to hyperventilate. Do not light up lighters or matches, they will waste oxygen. Using a flashlight is allowed. Screaming increases anxiety, which causes increased heartbeat and therefore - waste of oxygen. So don’t scream.
  2. Shake up the lid with your hands. In some cheap low-quality coffins you will be able to even make a hole (with an engagement ring or a belt buckle.)
  3. Cross your arms over your chest, holding onto your shoulders with your hands, and pull the shirt off upward. Tie it in a knot above your head, like so: 

    This will prevent you from suffocating when the dirt falls on your face. 
  4. Kick the lid with your legs. In some cheap coffins the lid is broken or damaged already after being buried, due to the weight of the ground above it. 
  5. As soon as the lid breaks, throw and move the dirt that falls through in the direction of your feet. When it takes up a lot of space, try pressing the ground to the sides of the coffin with your legs and feet. Move around a bit. 
  6. Whatever you do - your main goal is to sit up: dirt will fill up the empty space and move to your advantage, so no matter what - do not stop and try breathing steadily and calmly. 
  7. Get up. Remember: the dirt in the grave is very loose, so battling your way up will be easier than it seems. It’s the other way around during a rainy weather however, since water makes dirt heavy and sticky. 
Just in case this may come in handy for someone, one day... You never know! There are weird and insane people out there, in the world. Just keep this in the back of your head - open up a drawer in your brain and place this file within it ;)

Yours truly,
The LadyBug Who Used To Be Frightened OF The Thought Of Buried Alive People...