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"Dead" Woman Was About To Be Embalmed When She Found To Be Breathing

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  • Adam Went
    replied
    The reference to a bell being fitted in graves in the Victorian era is of course where the term "a dead ringer" comes from. The case in Indonesia is very similar to another fairly recent one I read about in Honduras. Cremation for me thanks very much, just to be sure!

    On a side note, Stephen King's short story "Mr Harrigan's Phone" in his recent book "If It Bleeds" deals with a very similar theme to this.

    Cheers,
    Adam.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris G.
    replied

    'CURSTY COMES BACK FROM THE DEAD'

    Talk, given by Donald Leitch, 6th Nov. 1956

    I would like to tell you tonight of an Old Tain [Scotland] Worthy, who reached the zenith of her worthiness round about fifty years ago. Distance may be lending enchantment to the scene, but to me, her claim to worthiness lay in the extraordinary kindness, gentleness and interest she displayed in her daily contacts with the children of our little town.

    She lived in a little house in Ross Street, but she was originally a farm-worker in Morayshire, drifted to Tain and finally settled down here. We all called her Bent Cursty.

    In appearance, Cursty was the rough diamond type. She always wore dark clothes along with a dark grey shawl which was firmly draped over her head and shoulders. She wore heavy working men’s boots, big and tackety, and always well covered with dried clayey mud.

    She walked literally bent double and this gave her a sort of squint masculine ruggedness of the lifelong outdoor worker, but we children seemed to see in this face a quiet restful beauty.

    How we loved to go up and speak to Cursty, and how we loved to listen, as in her broad Morayshire accent, she spoke to us of the weather and the harvest, and the tatties, and asked us if we were good bairns and how were we getting on in school: and many a pandrop I got from Cursty.

    Cursty lived before her time in that, although a female, she smoked, and to do that required some courage from one of the fair sex fifty or sixty years ago. But smoke she did, publicly, blatantly, and with utter abandon, but not for her the thin delicate cigarette so beloved of the modern miss of 1956. No, Cursty smoked good honest thick black Bogie Roll Tobacco and smoked from a blackened clay pipe of great age and rich maturity.

    On a good sunny day, it was Cursty’s wont to take a walk along the High Street, bent double as she always was, and sit down for a rest on the pavement kerb right beside the Commercial Bank. There she would sit with her back to the High Street and her face to the Commercial Bank with her feet resting on the pavement. Then she would out with her pipe, light up, and smoke like a furnace.

    She was not unlike an Eastern Potentate holding court. The Minister knew her, the Provost knew her, the Doctor knew her, the Baillie knew her, they all knew her and whoever was walking along the Commercial Bank pavement, would stop and quietly enquire for Cursty’s health and they would be answered respectfully in that homely broad Morayshire accent.

    There was once an incident in Cursty’s life which caused somewhat of a sensation in the town at the time.

    Cursty fell ill. She was devotedly attended by her near neighbours. Her condition was so serious that three of the neighbours sat up all night keeping watch by her bedside. During the night it appeared to them that Cursty was sinking fast, and about two o’clock in the morning it seemed quite apparent to them that she had passed away.

    The good people forthwith proceeded to dress the remains. After this sad duty was done, and the room tidied and made to look respectable, the good people sat by the bedside and started to partake of some needed refreshments about seven o’clock in the morning.

    They were just in the middle of having their refreshments, when the seemingly lifeless Cursty sat bolt upright in bed, enquired sharply as to what was going on, and demanded her pipe immediately because she said she “affa needed a smoke”.

    The startled neighbours quickly got Cursty her pipe and after a good smoke, she ate a good breakfast and lived hale and hearty for a good ten years thereafter.


    Tain, County of Ross, in the Highlands of Scotland. Wikipedia.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris G.
    replied
    Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
    In Victorian times a bell was installed on the top of the grave with a string attached inside the coffin just in case this thing happened. They were terrified of being buried alive.

    Good idea, Whitey.....unless they were already buried..
    Of course, "The Premature Burial" is one of the more famous of the horror stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Here it is --

    https://youtu.be/DM0FGYxYxbc

    And the whole movie "The Premature Burial" inspired by the Poe story here --

    https://youtu.be/D7ps8uu_q-w

    Sleep well tonight, everyone!

    Cheers

    Chris

    Leave a comment:


  • Howard Brown
    replied
    In Victorian times a bell was installed on the top of the grave with a string attached inside the coffin just in case this thing happened. They were terrified of being buried alive.

    Good idea, Whitey.....unless they were already buried...

    Leave a comment:


  • Whitechurch
    replied
    Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
    The act of being buried alive was one of Poe's fears.

    Some think, I've read, that stories of the undead coming back to life ( people almost being buried alive) were the basis of Vampire legends.
    In Victorian times a bell was installed on the top of the grave with a string attached inside the coffin just in case this thing happened. They were terrified of being buried alive.

    Leave a comment:


  • Howard Brown
    replied
    The act of being buried alive was one of Poe's fears.

    Some think, I've read, that stories of the undead coming back to life ( people almost being buried alive) were the basis of Vampire legends.

    Leave a comment:


  • Phillip Walton
    replied
    There was a case very recently in Indonesia where a 12 year old girl was declared dead by a hospital. She was taken home by her family and as they were washing the body in preparation for burial it was noticed that she was showing signs of life. Medics were called but were unable to save her but it is now thought that it might have been a spasm bought on by the washing process.

    Leave a comment:


  • Adam Went
    replied
    What a horrific situation all round. I have heard of similar cases before there, isn't there some medical condition where the body 'shuts down' for want of a more scientific term, before the patient comes to suddenly later on?

    Cheers,
    Adam.

    Leave a comment:


  • Wicker Man
    replied
    I was reading this story on our local news website. I'll bet the poor girl won't dare sleep-in any more, in-case someone calls for a hearse.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris G.
    replied
    Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
    In the same vein, this story reminds me of an incident in the tragic life of Skip Spence, late guitarist for the band Moby Grape.

    Spence was presumed dead after a drug overdoes and was taken to a San Jose mortuary. They put a tag on his toe. Shortly afterwards, he came back from the 'dead'....and politely asked for a drink of water.
    If Spence had received the drink of water he could have been one of the "Grateful Dead."

    Leave a comment:


  • Howard Brown
    replied
    In the same vein, this story reminds me of an incident in the tragic life of Skip Spence, late guitarist for the band Moby Grape.

    Spence was presumed dead after a drug overdoes and was taken to a San Jose mortuary. They put a tag on his toe. Shortly afterwards, he came back from the 'dead'....and politely asked for a drink of water.

    Leave a comment:


  • "Dead" Woman Was About To Be Embalmed When She Found To Be Breathing

    ‘They were about to embalm her’: A Michigan funeral home noticed a ‘dead’ woman was actually breathing
    By Tim Elfrink, Washington Post, August 25, 2020 at 4:46 a.m. EDT



    Timesha Beauchamp was dead.

    The paramedics said so on Sunday, after 30 minutes of CPR failed to revive her. An emergency room doctor in Southfield, Mich., confirmed the prognosis.

    So employees at a local funeral home were more than slightly shaken hours later when they watched her chest rising and falling with breath, the Detroit Free Press reported.

    Beauchamp, it turned out, was quite alive.

    Now the 20-year-old is in critical condition at a hospital, Southfield officials are scrambling to learn what went wrong, and Beauchamp’s outraged family has hired an attorney known for making national headlines.

    “They were about to embalm her which is most frightening had she not had her eyes open. They would have begun draining her blood to be very, very frank about it,” attorney Geoffrey Fieger, known for successfully defending “suicide doctor” Jack Kevorkian, told WXYZ.

    For Beauchamp’s family, the experience has been a heart-wrenching roller coaster — from thinking their loved one was dead, to learning she wasn’t, to watching her fight for her life in the hospital.

    “Somebody pronounced my child dead and she’s not even dead,” Erica Lattimore, Beauchamp’s mother, told WDIV.

    Paramedics with the Southfield Fire Department first came to Beauchamp’s house early on Sunday morning after she had a heart attack, the department told the Free Press. When the CPR failed, the medics contacted the ER doctor, who pronounced her dead.

    Fire officials said in a statement that they notified the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office of Beauchamp’s death. Soon afterward, Lattimore said she received a phone call.

    “They said, ‘Ma’am, she’s gone,’” she told WDIV. “I told them, ‘Are you absolutely, 100 percent sure that she’s gone?’ They said, ‘Yes, ma’am, she’s gone.’ ”

    Beauchamp’s body was taken to the James H. Cole Funeral Home in Detroit. More than an hour later, “our staff confirmed she was breathing,” the funeral home told the Associated Press.

    As Beauchamp was rushed to the hospital, the funeral home called her grieving mother.

    “They said, ‘Ma’am, your daughter is on her way to [the hospital]. She is breathing. She is alive,’ ” Lattimore told WDIV. “This devastated my life. … I said, ‘What do you mean? What do you mean she’s breathing?’ She said, ‘Ma’am, she’s in the hospital.’ ”

    As of Monday evening, Beauchamp was in critical condition at Detroit Medical Center, the AP reported. Fieger, the attorney, said the hours she spent without medical care may have seriously damaged her chance of recovering.

    “What did this delay do in terms of Timesha’s health for the rest of her life?” he told WXYZ.

    The Southfield Fire Department said the city and the Oakland County Medical Control Authority had launched an investigation into how Beauchamp was declared dead on Sunday. In a statement, the department insisted it “followed all appropriate city, county and state protocols and procedures in this case.”

    But Fieger said that doesn’t square with his client’s horrific experience.

    “It’s one of people’s worst nightmares to imagine having an ambulance called and instead, sending you off to a funeral home in a body bag. The funeral home unzipping the body bag, literally, that’s what happened to Timesha, and seeing her alive with her eyes open,” Fieger told the TV station.

    It’s not unheard of for patients to be erroneously declared dead — but it’s quite rare. In South Africa in 2018, a car crash victim was covered in a silver sheet and taken to a morgue, where a forensic officer noticed the person was still breathing. Earlier that same year, a Spanish prisoner was certified dead by three doctors before waking up in a mortuary.
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