The poor man starves while they are grassing their royal mountain stags or shooting peasants and phartridges in their purblind pomp of pelf and power
Taphophobia means “fear of graves” (taphos = tomb, and phobia = fear of), but its common use is “fear of being buried alive.” Premature burial is not an urban legend, incidents have been documented in nearly every society. […]
Many cultures built time delays into their death rites to make sure someone was truly dead. Greeks washed the dead… and some would wake up. In more difficult cases, they would cut off fingers or dunk the bodies in warm baths. The custom of the Irish wake began with the Celts watching the body for signs of life. But mistakes were made, often in times of epidemic. The hopes of preventing the spread of infection often lead to burying the dead before they were quite dead. […]
In her 1996 book, The Corpse: A History, Christine Quigley documents many instances of premature burial and near-premature burial. Skeletons were outside their coffins, sitting up in the corner of their vault after being opened years later. Others were found turned over in their caskets, with tufts of their own hair in their hands.
How might this happen? What conditions might make it look so much like you were dead that even your loved ones would let them plant you in the ground? The list is long and varied, but here are some of the more common things that can make you look dead: