Times Dead People Were Actually Alive

Being dead is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to you. At least, that's our guess. None of us know. Presumably, you have no clue what it's like either. (Unless, wait, can ghosts use the Internet?) The second-worst thing though, is being thought dead when you aren't.

We do some pretty horrific things with corpses—put them underground, burn them, leave them out in the sun for hours, make classic '80s comedies with them. Luckily, when those post-mortem operations are performed, you won't be here to feel it. But the same can't be said for everyone.

Noelia moves arm as embalming starts

Embalming, as you might imagine, sucks a ton. It's the process by which dozens of different chemicals are shoved into your body to keep you from decaying. You know how you have that one friend who refuses to eat things with preservatives? Well, guess what, vegan? After you die, your body shall be filled with them. But don't worry, you'll be dead. Probably.

However, Noelia Serna wasn't. She's a 45-year-old woman who "died" of a "heart attack," and her "corpse" was taken to a hospital to be embalmed. But then, right before a funeral employee—who almost definitely thought he had stumbled into a horror movie—injected her with embalming fluid ... her arm moved. The funeral worker got her to non-morgue section of the hospital, and she was helped, which is cool because our reaction would have been to cut her head off and then do that to the rest of the corpses, all while screaming.

Teenager wakes up headed to his own funeral

The idea of witnessing your own funeral is a pretty universal one. Or, we should probably say, a sitcom one. It's a cliché in stories, to have people fake their death or have their own fake funerals. Heck, PT Barnum had his own obituary printed when he was sick just to see what was in it. We all want to know who'll be there after we pass. Who remembers us. Who we mattered to. And quite how much. Luckily, though, most of us will never know. But Kumar Marewad, a 17-year-old, got to find out.

Kumar had a horrible fever after being attacked by a dog because Cujo is also a universal story. He seemed to succumb, "not breathing anymore." His family got his body prepared, put him in a coffin, and took him to be cremated. Where he woke up. Any later, and he would've just been a sentient pile of ash.

Neysi Perez was entombed alive and died after she was rescued from the tomb

All right, this is pretty rough, and there's really no way to sugarcoat it.

Welcome to the tale of Neysi Perez. A teen living in Honduras who fell to a terrible illness—the unknown. One day, the pregnant girl fell and did not get up. Her family buried her and her unborn child in a tomb, sealed off from the world. But then, sounds rose up. Her mother, saddened, visited her child's tomb the day after she was buried ... and she heard it: "I could hear noises inside. I heard banging, then I heard her voice. She was screaming for help." Her family dug her out, breaking her tomb open with a sledgehammer, and she was saved!

But, fate, ah, sweet fate–dark, like the universe's chocolate—had other plans. Shortly after being rescued from her tomb, she again, was brought back to one. Yes, Perez died merely hours later and was laid back in the same tomb whence she came. This time, though, her body stayed quiet and still.

Judith Johnson, interned in the morgue despite breathing

Imagine you wake up one day, and it's dark. You can't move—you're trapped. There's nothing but four small walls around you, plus one above your head and another by your feet. No light. Nothing but cold. You're naked. If you don't freak out, congratulations Person Who Has No Fear and Who We're Now Very Scared Of. For everyone else, *shivers*, right?

That was the case for Judith Johnson, who went to the hospital with what she thought was indigestion, only to end up in the morgue. Unfortunately, what she thought was indigestion was a heart attack. The hospital tried dozens of things to save her, but none seemingly worked. Her body was put in the morgue. But she wasn't dead.

She was rescued after a morgue technician found her breathing. She didn't die, but the story doesn't quite have a happy ending. Due to the hospital's negligence and "treatments," she is permanently mentally disabled, has a different personality, and suffers from many physical ills she didn't have before. The grave doesn't give up its own easily, not without cost. Not without changes.

The miracle man, the Lazarus man

Walter Williams was an older man declared dead. And then, miraculously (the coroner's words, not ours), he came back to life.

He died at 78 in 2014, and the funeral home came to his place of residence to get the body, checking to make sure there was no pulse. There wasn't. Then the funeral home put him in a body bag and drove him away. Once inside the embalming room, he began to breathe. The coroner and the man's family have all proclaimed it a miracle.

Science has its own explanation. He has what's called Lazarus syndrome, which brings apparently dead people back to life. No one quite understands it. We're not trying to horrify you with the thought that perhaps your beloved one—or even you in the future—may be buried beneath six feet, with a concrete top, in a metal box, only to awaken. But, uh ... well.

Eleanor Markham who screamed that she was being buried alive

Most accounts of people being buried alive couldn't—in any real respect—be considered a comedy. This, however, could.

Ms. Eleanor Markham was a young, respectable woman when she died in 1894. Her family mourned, and her corpse was prepared. She was put in a coffin, the coffin was sealed, and she was about to head to her final resting place, borne forward on the backs of pallbearers when ...

When those carrying her heard sounds coming from inside the coffin. It was opened, revealing Ms. Markham's terrified face. Her doctor stared down at her. According to the Times & Saturday Times, their conversation went like this: "My God!" she cried in broken accents, "You are burying me alive!" Her doctor responded, "Hush! child. You are all right. It is a mistake easily rectified."

Can you imagine realizing a woman you're about to bury is alive and responding, "Hush!" Who can do that? This doctor is our hero. Or, villain? We're not sure, but he's something all right.

Mildred Clarke, alone

Living in an apartment alone is scary. You know what's scarier? Dying in one. People will only find you after you start to smell (or if you have a particularly stressed-out landlord). That was the case with Mildred C. Clarke, an 86-year-old, who was found by her apartment manager cold and dead on her floor. She was wrapped up and taken to the morgue, where her corpse waited until it was time to be moved to the funeral home. But then, as if ceased by an unending restlessness, her feet, cold and wrapped in the body bag, began to move.

She was being rolled out to be transported, when a morgue attendant noticed air escaping the bag in a regular pattern. She was breathing. No one had noticed she was alive because, well, she had no pulse. She was cold, cold as the grave, and then she was breathing again. People called it a miracle. Science shrugged. Mildred Clarke lived.

Sipho William Mdletshe AKA the Zombie

We'd like to assume you've read The Monkey's Paw, and ... you have, haven't you? It's a disturbing tale about someone wishing for a dead one to come back from the grave. But there's a cost—there's always a cost—and who knows what monster lurks behind that door. Wouldn't you feel the same way if your loved one came back to you after going to the grave? Wouldn't you, too, feel like a monster had come back, some Pet Semetary zombie maybe?

This was the situation with Sipho William Mdletshe. He died at 24 years old in South Africa. He was in the morgue for two days before waking up in this metal box to scream and scream and scream. However, luckily, he was saved and brought back to life. He ran back to his life, to his family, to his fiancée—who brutally rejected him, believing him to be a zombie. No news on whether he said, "Fine, you want a zombie, I'll give you a zombie," and then started eating brains.

Alice Blunden, the woman who was buried alive TWICE

Alice Blunden perhaps royally ticked off the universe because she had the most unfortunate ending of almost anyone. And yes, we're including people who have fallen into volcanoes and the Black Dahlia. Alice Blunden was sick and took medicine, fell ill, iller still, and died. Her husband cried and wished for her corpse to remain above ground until his return. If her family had listened, she might not be on this list. But they didn't.

She was buried. Only she wasn't dead. Children playing near the grave claimed to hear her. Her grave was opened, and she was dead. But she had scratches all over herself. She had been beating herself against the tomb, trying to open it, calling out for help. But she had succumbed. She was examined and then thrown back into the grave.

The family was smart this time. Her grave was guarded by a man, but he either left or wasn't paying attention, because when her family examined her grave again, her shroud had been torn off, her face bloodied. She had been buried alive for a second time.

Presumably, the third time was the charm. Or she was just over being hauled in and out of her tomb and decided to lie down and take a nap, yes that's it, a long, long nap. That's all death is, really, a long nap you never wake up from. People die in their sleep sometimes, don't they? How would you know the difference if you did die at rest? So if somehow you find yourself underground, the coffin above you, all air slowly fading, with no hope, just take a breath, and close your eyes, and get some nice rest.