There are many weird irrational phobias out there from clowns (coulrophobia) to fears of birds (ornithophobia). One phobia that is not all the entirely irrational is a fear of being buried alive (taphophobia). What makes taphophobia not all that unreasonable is that a lot of people have been accidentally buried alive over the years.
Taphophobia reached its zenith in the 18th and 19th centuries. The fear stemmed from the fact that people did not need a doctor present to be declared dead, and as many of them had been suffering from contagious diseases, they were buried in a rush. The result of this was that, well, a lot of folks ended up getting buried alive.
In fact, the fear was so prevalent that famous slave owner and terrorist George Washington ordered that he not be buried for two days after his death, to be sure he was, in fact dead. Others insisted on being buried with some rogue survival kit, usually consisting of at least something they might be able to dig themselves out with.
Noways, of course, things are much better, and you’d be more likely to find a picture of Tatiana Zapardino naked that end up alive and 6 feet under. But, that is not to say it does not happen, we present exhibit A.
Step up Angelo Hayes.
Angelo Hayes, also known as Angel Hays, was born in France in 1918. By the time Angelo was 19 years old, he was famous for being the local motorbike guy in his little French town. That was great until he ended up in a rather unfortunate motorcycle accident that smashed up his face so severely he was declared DOA. The wounds were so awful that the doctor would not even allow his parents to view his body. He was duly buried.
Now, this is where the whole story gets a bit weird. Angelo Hays’s father took out a significant life insurance policy on his son (just before his death), which the insurance company called shenanigans on. They ordered Angelo Hayes to be exhumed in order to rule out foul play. After unwrapping the body, the doctor discovered that Angelo was alive, he was rushed to the hospital from where he was to make a full recovery. Quite understandably this gave Angelo Hayes a bit of a complex.
Angelo Hayes Buried Alive Has a Bright Idea!
Whether Angelo Hayes had his eureka moment whilst buried alive is anyone’s guess, but he ended up designing a coffin that would support human life for up to 30 hours after being buried. From here, said pseudo corpse could shout for help before the oxygen ran out.
He demonstrated his invention at a fair in Saint-Aulaye, France, in 1974 (surviving 30 hours), before going one better in 1984 when he stayed for two days in his amended coffin.
Amazingly Angelo Hays was to live until the ripe old of 90, only dying in 2008. His invention still regularly gets featured on TV shows, but he will forever be remembered with the headline;
Angelo Hayes Buried Alive