Being buried alive was a real threat, once upon a time. It was largely remedied with the invention of the stethoscope, but before that, there was a lot of guesswork involved in diagnosing a case of the deadsies.

People took it upon themselves to make sure they weren't buried alive, and lots of people went to some bizarre, painful, and downright creepy lengths to avoid it.

These generally fall into three categories: "see if I'm alive," "make sure I'm dead," and "let me out!"

SECURITY COFFINS Sufferers of taphophobia (being falsely pronounced dead) came up with some innovative coffin designs. PRESERVING COFFIn, UIF'E IN DOU

BURN ME Alfred Nobel wanted doctors to cut him open, double check their work, and then burn him. NAT MDCCC 1XX OB MDCCC AUFR. CVI NOBEL t is my expre

INFLICT ACUTE PAIN Burning a person's fingers to the point of blistering, shoving a splinter into a toenail, and our old cure-all, the tobacco smoke e

DON'T CALL ME, I'LL CALL YOU Earl Allen was buried in Texas in 1929 with a phone in his hand. His instructions were to wait three days for him to call

The One Cracked Fact Newsletter

Get daily exclusive stories about our weird world, plus deep cuts and the latest from Cracked.

INVISIBLE INK In the 18th century, doctors began to scrawl a message in silver nitrate on a pane of glass, which would then be left over the person's

LET ME ROT George Washington's final wish was a 3-day grace period to let his body start visibly decomposing sO they could be sure he was dead. CRACKE

I'LL PAY YOU NOT TO BURY ME Now known as the Manchester Mummy, Hannah Beswick left her entire estate to her doctor, so long as he never buried her and

POP ME LIKE A BALLOON Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the politician and writer (of It was a dark and stormy night infamy) requested his heart be punctured up

THE COFFIN WINDOW Timothy Clark Smith, buried in Vermont in 1893, had this window installed in his grave so loved ones could scan his face for signs o

CUT ME OPEN To prevent being misdiagnosed as dead, Hans Christian Andersen kept a sign next to his bed that said I only appear to be dead. CRACKED

PIN ME DOWN When Harold West died, he requested a steel stake be shoved through his heart. This was in 1972. He was specifically afraid of coming back

Forgot Password?