Buried alive


Matt Kaplan

Charlie Hsu


Matt Kaplan: "While we mostly disregarded the idea of zombie mythology having been linked to people getting buried alive after accidents that involved them being knocked out (as opposed to after being poisoned by witch doctors on the island of Haiti), I realized after we ran our podcast last week that there is a really creepy side to this that we didn’t mention. Corpse bells."

Charlie Hsu: "What?!?!"

MK: "They were bells placed above ground that had strings attached to them which ran below to buried coffins where they were fed through holes and placed in the hands of people who were presumed to be dead. The idea was that if someone got buried alive and woke up entombed in their own coffin they could pull the string to let the living world know that they were (A) alive and (B) rather keen to be exhumed."

CH: "There’s something really wrong with you Matt."

MK: "True, but you have to admit it is an intriguing concept. Wouldn’t you like your future coffin to be “corpse bell-enabled” just in case you go down after eating a bit of fugu fish or hitting your head in a car accident?"

CH: "Just out of (morbid) curiosity, where do you get this stuff?"

MK: "Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of our Most Primal Fear by Jan Bondeson."

CH: "That seems like quite a statement. You really think it is our most primal fear?"

MK: "No. I’d think that would have to be getting eaten by a large cat or asphyxiated by a boa constrictor." 

CH: "Delightful."

MK: "Incidentally, I suspect our innate fear of predators is likely why most of the monsters in our earliest stories are just big carnivorous animals."

CH: "The Roc? The Calydonian Boar? The Nemean Lion?"

MK: "Not to mention ROUS’s."

CH: "What?"

MK: "Rodents Of Unusual Size"

CH: "I don’t think they exist"

MK: "Ugh."