Scary Stories of People Who Were Buried Alive

Many people's biggest fear is being buried alive, and it's not hard to see why. You might think these are all historical tales of terror, but not all of the men and women on this list passed before the modern era. These stories are horrifying, so if this is your personal fear, you might want to steer clear.

Some unfortunate souls buried too soon make it out alive, but more often than not, premature burial ends exactly how you think it will. Just try to fall asleep after reading about people being buried alive.

  • A Man Crawled Out Of His Own Grave

    A woman visiting a family tomb in Ferraz de Vasconcelos, Brazil in 2013 witnessed a body emerging from a grave, waving its arms. After finally convincing the authorities to come to the cemetery, police rescued the man. They believed he was a former city hall worker who had been involved in a fight in another part of the city; presumably he passed out from his injuries and was taken to the graveyard.

  • A Teenage Girl Was Entombed Too Early

    In 2015, a 16-year-old Honduran girl named Neysi Perez was mistakenly buried alive. Her family reportedly heard screaming coming from inside her coffin and hurried to open it back up. Perez was rushed to the hospital, but she passed.

    According to relatives, her body was still warm and she had bruises on her fingertips. The glass viewing pane on her coffin had been smashed as well. Doctors believe she had suffered a severe panic attack, which temporarily stopped her heart, resulting in the initial pronouncement of her death.

  • In 1991, Shakereh Khaleeli, the wealthy daughter of one of India's more preeminent families, went missing. In May 1994, her skeletal remains were discovered by police in the courtyard of her own home. Her second husband had drugged her in her sleep, placed her on a mattress in a "coffin like box," and covered it with another mattress.

    One of Khaleeli's hands was found clutching the mattress that lay below her. The side of the box appeared to bear scratch marks as well.

  • A Woman Might Have Lost Her Fingers Trying To Escape Her Tomb

    In 1893 a woman named Mrs. Boger suddenly died of unknown causes. Doctors confirmed her passing, and she was promptly buried.

    A friend of Mrs. Boger's told her husband, Charles, that his wife had suffered from hysteria before he had met her, and it was possible that she hadn’t actually been dead. So Mr. Boger dug up his wife and found Mrs. Boger’s body turned over. Her shroud and robes were shredded to pieces and the glass of her coffin lid was broken all over her body. Her skin was bloodied and scratched, while her fingers were missing entirely. It was presumed that she chewed them off while attempting to escape. 

  • A Kidnapped Heir Suffocated Underground

    In 1987, an Illinois publishing and media heir named Stephen Small was kidnapped and buried alive in a makeshift wooden box near the town of Kankakee. His assailants, a 30-year-old man named Danny Edwards and his 26-year-old girlfriend, Nancy Rish, crafted a plan to abduct him and keep him immobile underground while asking for a $1 million ransom from his surviving family members. His kidnappers were able to provide the 39-year-old Mr. Small with minimal air, water, and light inside his homemade coffin via tubes, but he was left buried three feet under a sandy area and he suffocated after his breathing tube failed.
  • A Man Was Buried In A Case Of Insurance Fraud

    One day in 1937, Angelo Hays was riding his bike around France when he ran headfirst into a brick wall. He was declared dead on the spot before being quickly buried. In the nearby town of Bordeaux, an insurance company became suspicious after realizing that Angelo’s father had recently insured his son’s life for 200,000 francs, and an inspector was sent to investigate the claim. The inspector had Angelo’s body exhumed just two days after he had been buried to confirm the cause of death, and was shocked to discover that Angelo was still alive.

    When the doctor removed the shroud, he found Angelo’s body warm and his heart barely beating. He was immediately taken to a hospital, where he endured several operations and extensive rehabilitation before making a full recovery and inventing the security coffin.