ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

There are few things more terrifying than the thought of being buried alive.

We've all heard the urban legends about scratch marks gouged into coffin lids and bodies being disinterred with broken limbs from their futile struggles, but things like this just don't happen in this day and age, right?

Wrong. Disturbingly, a handful of people have been buried alive in the past few decades. So, get ready to feel the claustrophobic darkness envelop you as we explore some truly terrifying tales of premature burial.

A Scream from Beyond the Grave

Northern Greece probably isn't the safest place to be pronounced dead, and this horrifying story from just a few months ago is chilling proof.

A 45-year-old woman who had 'died' of cancer was heard screaming and banging in her grave just hours after her funeral by several people visiting the local cemetery.

Panic about the shouting from six feet under caused a team of concerned citizens to frantically disinter the recently buried 'corpse,' but by the time they had broken into the sealed coffin, the woman was dead.

Greek media reported that the woman had suffocated to death while she was buried alive, but a doctor who was at the team insisted the woman had been dead for hours and could not have been revived.

Although this story is hazy in its details, a bunch of normal local residents must have been pretty sure about what they heard to desecrate the grave of a woman who had been buried by her grieving family just hours earlier...


A Date with Death

If the risks of online dating put you on edge, this is a story to justify all of your fears and then some.

In May 2014 a French woman named Mina El Houari decided to take the plunge and meet her online suitor who she had been chatting to for months previously.

When she touched down in his native Morocco, El Houari's date went really well, but after sharing a pleasant evening together she collapsed on the floor and didn't wake up.

In a blind panic that he would be accused of murdering a foreigner and possibly executed, Mina's online date decided against calling the ambulance or the police and turned to a much, much darker decision.

He buried her in a shallow grave in his garden.

She was instead an undiagnosed diabetic who had fallen into a diabetic coma before she was buried alive.

After a few worrying days, Mina's family filed a missing persons report and flew to Morocco to try and find their daughter. With the aid of the local police they tracked down Mina's unknowing murderer and raided his house before discovering the truly disturbing scene in his backyard.

The man immediately confessed to burying the 'dead' girl after she had 'died' in his house and was later charged with manslaughter for his misguided and callous act.


A Tale from Beyond the Crypt

Tales of victims surviving the ordeal of being entombed under tons of earth are rare, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

One of the most chilling tales of somebody living through the trauma of being buried alive is that of Angelo Hays. In 1937, Angelo was just 19-years-old and bombing around his local village on his motorcycle.

Unfortunately, Angelo hit a curb with speed and was catapulted headfirst into a brick wall at terrifying velocity. Hays' face was so disfigured by the accident that his parents were not allowed to view the body before burial and doctors dutifully declared that the daredevil teenager had no trace of a pulse before moving him to the morgue.

After languishing in the morgue for three days, Angelo was buried... Until an insurance company got suspicious about a life insurance policy that Angelo's father had taken out on his son a few months before the fatal accident.

The insurance inspectors had Angelo's body exhumed two days after he was buried to confirm the cause of death, and in doing so, inadvertently saved his life.

When a doctor removed his death shroud, Angelo's body was warm and his heart was beating very faintly. After being immediately rushed to the hospital, Angelo endured several operations on his crushed face and extensive rehabilitation before making a full recovery.

Instead of letting being buried alive ruin his life, Angelo used the traumatic incident to become somewhat of a celebrity in France.

His legacy was creating a security coffin with a system to alert those above ground if you just so happen to be prematurely buried, along with everything you would need to survive before rescue.

A diagram of Angelo Hays' invention
A diagram of Angelo Hays' invention


Blood Money

It is a common saying that money is the route of all evil, and in Stephan Small's case this is all too true.

In 1987 Small, a publishing and media heir, was kidnapped and buried alive in a poorly constructed wooden box near the Illinois town of Kankakee.

His captors were a 30-year-old man named Danny Edwards and his 26-year-old girlfriend, Nancy Rish. This money hungry duo created a plan to abduct Small and keep him entrapped underground in an attempt to nab a $1 million ransom from his family members.

39-year-old Mr. Small was provided with a meagre supply of air and water that were delivered to him via a network of tubes. Unfortunately, he was buried in a sandy area which led to Small's breathing tube being blocked and the valuable heir suffocating to death in his subterranean prison.

Police discovered Stephan's body by locating his maroon Mercedes that had been dumped near the burial site.

Since Edwards and Rish were convicted of their crime, there has been a lot of debate about whether they intended for Mr. Small to die while entombed, but either way it was an unforgivable crime powered by greed.

The pair will probably be behind bars for another 27 years.


WARNING: Disturbing Footage Below

Brazilian Live Burial

A woman going to mourn her loved ones in a Brazilian graveyard had an unimaginably spooky shock when a body rose from a nearby grave.

The petrified woman was at the cemetery in Ferraz de Vasconcelos when she heard faint groaning sounds and then noticed the earth shifting in a nearby grave. She told press that:

I was terrified to see a man, who I thought was dead, trying to get out of the grave. He had his head and hands out and was moving his arms around, trying to get out.

After the traumatized woman ran away screaming, she tried to get assistance from the local police, but she couldn't persuade them to believe her farfetched tale of the rising dead.

Eventually, the cemetery office confirmed her claim and a team was sent to rescue the man who had been buried alive.

While he was in the hospital recovering from his claustrophobic ordeal, the man told police he was involved in a fight in another part of the city and was badly beaten by his attackers who must have buried him alive while he was unconscious.

Disturbingly, this was the second time somebody was buried alive by their assailants in Brazil in under three months.


Are you considering cremation now?

(Source: The Mirror, BBC, Listverse, The Daily Mail)


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