While you have to commend Burrus for saving a gravedigger the work of digging a new hole for him, there was some evidence he knew the trick wouldn't work. His accident took place on the anniversary of his idol, the Great Houdini's death, suggesting he may have killed himself on purpose. In which case it was awful decent of him to do it at "Blackbeard's Family Fun Center" in front of as many kids as possible, including his own.
Your head remains aware even after it's severed from your shoulders (giving you just enough time to reflect on how stupid you were to stand up on that roller coaster).
The legend says severed heads have been known to blink, react to stimulus and yes, even try to talk.
Death by decapitation has been assumed to be instant and painless throughout most of history (the guillotine was designed as a humane execution method, the fact that it looked freakin' cool was just a bonus) but there's much evidence that your brain remains aware anywhere from several seconds to a minute after your head gets lopped off.
One of the earliest and best-known proofs of this came from a Dr. Beaurieux, who conducted an experiment on a French murderer named Languille. After he was guillotined, Languille's eyes and mouth continued to move for five to six seconds, at which point he appeared to pass on. But then when Beaurieux shouted the subject's name, Languille's eyes popped open.
In Beaurieux's own words: "Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine, the pupils focusing themselves," and the good doctor continued to get similar results for up to 30 seconds (at which point Languille possibly just got tired of playing decapitation peek-a-boo).