Graveyard Shift

16 Horrifying, True Tales Of People Who Woke Up In A Morgue  

Amy Robleski
351.1k views 16 items

Waking up in a morgue - it sounds like something straight out of a horror move, doesn't it? Strangely even in this day and age, it's more common than you might think. Why does this happen? How can doctors not realize a "dead" body is actually a living person?

Doctors are people, and they aren’t perfect. When doctors think someone has died, they check the patient’s pupils, breathing, heartbeat, and pulse. Sometimes patients may have signs of life that are just too faint to be detected. Another explanation is Lazarus Syndrome - when a person who can’t be brought back to life suddenly regains circulation. No one knows why – or how - this rare situation occurs.  

Hospitals and morgues are creepy places where strange and unexplained things sometimes happen. Patients coming back from the dead is definitely one of the strangest.  

For the people who were declared dead - and then not - the experience can be confusing and frightening. Morgues aren’t meant for living people. People experiencing this real-life nightmare often wake up surrounded by corpses or locked in their own tiny metal drawer. They may feel as if they’ve been buried alive.

The feeling is similar to someone who is conscious, but immobile during surgery. You’re lying there helpless at the mercy of medical staff, hoping they’ll realize what’s going on and save you. 

These unbelievable stories of real people who woke up in the morgue are sure to leave you hoping it never happens to you. 

A Grandmother Came Back To Life Twice
A Grandmother Came Back To Lif... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 16 Horrifying, True Tales Of People Who Woke Up In A Morgue
Photo: P.J.L Laurens/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

In 2011 retired cook and grandmother Lyudmila Steblitskaya was hospitalized for health problems. When her daughter called to check on her, the hospital said her mother had died. It was a Friday night. Steblitskaya was taken to the morgue, where her body was scheduled to stay until the funeral Monday morning.

When her daughter came to get her body on Monday, doctors said her mother was alive, and brought her to Steblitskaya’s hospital room. Steblitskaya had survived the whole weekend under morgue refrigeration.

“I have a vague recollection of real cold,” Steblitskaya said. Her skin was peeled from her body because of the frigid temperatures. Her daughter and other family members, who had spent the weekend planning for her funeral, were ecstatic to have her back. “It’s a miracle I’m still here,” Steblitskaya said.

In October 2012, she apparently died again during another hospital stay. This time, however, doctors were able to bring her back around within a few hours.

A Baby Came Back To Life After 12 Hours In A Refrigerated Morgue
A Baby Came Back To Life After... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 16 Horrifying, True Tales Of People Who Woke Up In A Morgue
Photo:  shando./Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

In Argentina, a premature infant was declared dead just 20 minutes after her birth. Twelve hours after she was placed in a refrigerated coffin, her parents went to the morgue to hold their child and say their last goodbyes.  

When her mother held her, the baby let out a little cry. Her mother thought it was her imagination, but doctors soon confirmed her baby was actually still alive. The astonished parents called their daughter Luz Milagros, which means “Miracle Light.”

The baby lived up until a few months after her first birthday, when she died of health complications.

A Man Snored Himself Awake On The Autopsy Table
A Man Snored Himself Awake On ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 16 Horrifying, True Tales Of People Who Woke Up In A Morgue
Photo:  NIOSH/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

On January 7, 2018, employees of a prison in northern Spain found Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez unresponsive in his jail cell. Reportedly, upon the discovery of his body, three forensic doctors examined him and declared him dead. His body was taken away for an autopsy, during which staff prepared his body for the procedure by drawing marks on him. But then Jiménez began snoring – four hours after he had supposedly died.

The confusion likely arose from Jiménez's condition; he had epilepsy, which can sometimes trigger a deep, trance-like state.

A Bad Hangover Became Even Worse In A Morgue
A Bad Hangover Became Even Wor... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 16 Horrifying, True Tales Of People Who Woke Up In A Morgue
Photo:  Kenneth C. Zirkel/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

In 2016, a 25-year-old Polish man named Kamil was out drinking vodka with friends when he suffered a heart attack. He collapsed outside a pub and was taken to a hospital. Unresponsive, he was pronounced dead.

Several hours later, a guard heard noises inside the mortuary refrigerator. The guard thought kids had broken in, but was surprised to find Kamil. The naked “dead man” asked the guard for a blanket.

After getting checked out by doctors, Kamil headed back to the pub.