Taphephobia – The Fear of Being Buried Alive!
NICOLA CARPENTER loves cemeteries that’s why she is writing a regular column for us now. Today she looks at Taphephobia – the fear of being buried alive!
Darkness. It started with darkness and silence. Silence punctuated only by the sound of shuddering breath. Movement was painfully stiff, muscle screamed as he tried to sit up but something solid prevented him. Fumbling blindly he tried to paint a picture of his surroundings with his hands, his fingertips brushed against the rough wood imprisoning him. A box? No a coffin!
Taphephobia, an abnormal or irrational fear of being buried alive. From the Greek taphos, meaning tomb or grave and phobos meaning fear.
Taphephobia experienced it’s ‘golden hour’ during the Victorian era, when death was a deadly business. Not only did one have to worry about grave robbers digging you up and carting you off for dissection, you had to worry about being properly dead in the first place. But the Victorians had real reason to fear being buried alive, death in those days was not as simple to certify as it is today and several cases of premature burial were reported not only in the 19th century but in previous centuries as well.