Know When to Hold ’em: Waiting Mortuaries in Connecticut? An account of a proposal from Bridgeport, Connecticut, for an organization that would hold the bodies of the dead until they showed unmistakable signs of decomposition–in the interest of preventing burial alive.
Experienced morticians know that the dead do move, sometimes in shockingly natural ways, simply due to changes in muscle tension, rigor wearing off, or internal gases. But do certain bodies move in UNnatural ways?
There were a number of superstitions about lightning: it was bad luck to burn wood from a lightning-struck tree, oak trees were more likely to be struck than beech, a toothpick from a tree struck by lightning would cure toothache. And certain things would “draw” lightning: Milk in a pail, moist hay, bayonets, a warm horse, an umbrella or fishing rod–and ladies’ hoop skirts.
The Victorians feared the Resurrection Man, but they feared premature burial more. Today we lift the lid on stories of burial alive and find the subject seething with maggots of horror. What is it like to hear those clods falling on your coffin lid while you are helpless, trapped….