The article below appeared in the December 12, 1895, edition of the RANGELEY LAKES and clearly demonstrates that when it comes to dealing with illnesses or injuries…there is NO SUCH THING AS THE GOOD OLD DAYS! Just another one of the amazing things that happened in the big woods that never cease to astound. 

(Contemporary commentary found in italics and parentheses, otherwise text appears just as published in 1895)


One Man’s Narrow Escape From Being Buried While Yet Alive
“Talking of peculiar experiences reminds me of something that fell to my lot during my boyhood years,” said John H. White. “I had been injured in an explosion of fireworks and was sick for a time, but had recovered and thought I was well, when I was stricken with an attack that affected my head and prostrated me for several weeks. The injury caused me great pain and suffering, and at times I was delirious. The climax of my trouble came one night, after I had suffered terribly during the day, and as the change took place in my condition, I sank away until the watchers at my bedside concluded I was dead. “ I was hundreds of miles from home, and the friends waited for morning to dawn to send word to my parents. They had sent word to the undertaker, and covered me with a sheet while waiting for him. They also tied my hands and feet in position, and fastened a cloth under my chin and left me for dead. As I was covered, they did not notice any other change, and so did not see that I was reviving. I was very weak, and had not the strength to make any resistance of consequence. At the time I awoke, I found myself covered with the sheet and my mouth closed with the cloth and my hands and feet tied, and I realized at once the mistake that had been made. I was weak and could not call out to them, nor was I able for a long time to move. The realization of the horrible blunder dazed me so I was powerless. I lay there under that sheet for more than an hour, and it was the most frightful experience I ever underwent. I wondered whether the undertaker would come and finish me, and then I wondered whether I was really dead, or whether I was in a trance and would be buried in that condition. Then perspiration broke out all over my body, and the nervous strain continued until I shook as if with a chill. The tremor of my body attracted my friends, and I was soon relieved from my gruesome predicament and given the care necessary, and was soon on the high road to recovery. It was weeks, however, before I recovered from that nervous shock so that I felt like myself, and it makes me shrink in horror when I realize the condition I was in and what might have happened had the undertaker reached there during my unconsciousness. If he had, I would not be here today telling this story.”
(After reading this, I had to do a ‘search’ that revealed some contemporary cases where folks were wrongly presumed as deceased found at:

“But I’m not dead yet” – Monty Python and the Holy Grail

– A South African man awoke to find himself in a morgue fridge—nearly a day after his family thought he had died. Health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said that the man awoke 21 hours after his family called in an undertaker, who sent him to the morgue after an asthma attack. Morgue owner Ayanda Maqolo said he sent his driver to collect the body shortly after the family reported the death. But a day after staff put the body into a locked, refrigerated compartment, morgue workers heard someone shouting for help. They thought it was a ghost. “I couldn’t believe it!” Maqolo, the morgue owner, said. “I was also scared. But they are my employees and I had to show them I wasn’t scared, so I called the police.” After police arrived, the group entered the morgue together. “I was glad they had their firearms, in case something wanted to fight with us,” Maqolo said. He said the man was pale when they pulled him out. (First, Ayanda the owner had to let his employees know “he wasn’t scared” so he waited for the cops to come before letting the poor guy out of the fridge??? What courageous leadership!)

– No one expects to walk into the kitchen and discover their recently-deceased grandmother calmly cooking a meal. That happened to one Chinese family, after 95-year-old Li Xiufeng climbed out of her unsealed coffin six days after she’d been found “dead” in her bedroom. After Xiufeng suffered what was thought to be a fatal head injury, plans were made for her funeral, including holding an in-home wake for friends and family. Her coffin had not yet been permanently closed, giving Xiufeng the opportunity to escape after waking from what a doctor described as an “artificial” death and what her family probably called “the reason we all just soiled ourselves.” The day before the funeral, friends and relatives arrived at her house to find the coffin empty and the corpse gone. After searching for the missing body, the villagers were stunned to find Mrs. Xiufeng, sitting on a stool in her kitchen, cooking! She reportedly told villagers, “I slept for a long time. After waking up, I felt so hungry, and wanted to cook something to eat.” (Hilarious! Climbs out of her own coffin and goes to make a snack! You Go Grandma!)

– A grandmother has been brought back from the dead twice – and has even survived spending three days in a morgue. The 61-year-old Russian woman has been declared dead twice by doctors, but each time has come back to life – and once was minutes away from being cut open for her autopsy. The hardy Lyudmila Steblitskaya spent 3 days lying in a freezing cold morgue, while her family mourned the retired cook. (TWICE??? But, with a moniker like Lyudmila, you have to be tough!).

Have a great week everyone!

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