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

Waking up in a morgue - it sounds like something straight out of a horror movie, 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 drawers. 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 Life Twice
    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • A Man Started Moving Around In His Body Bag

    A Man Started Moving Around In His Body Bag
    Video: YouTube

    Think being mistaken for dead can’t happen in the United States? Think again. In 2014, Walter Williams, a farmer from Holmes County, MS, was pronounced dead. The next day, morgue workers saw his body bag moving - Williams was kicking it from the inside.

    The 76-year-old man was taken to a hospital and released to his shocked family a few days later. He lived for  two more weeks before actually dying of natural causes.

    One possible theory for the incident is that William’s defibrillator restarted his heart while he was in the body bag.

  • A Dead Russian Man Shocked His Friends By Coming Back To Party

    A Dead Russian Man Shocked His Friends By Coming Back To Party
    Photo: Pulux11 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    In 2015, an unidentified Russian man got so drunk he passed out - and everyone thought he was dead. His friends called an ambulance. First responders also thought he was dead and took him to the morgue where he was placed in the freezer.

    The man woke up in the middle of the night, shocked to be in a room with dead bodies. He started pounding on the doors and got the attention of a guard.

    After doctors checked him over, his first stop was back to his friend’s house. There, his buddies were still drinking and mourning him. One of his friends was so shocked at seeing him that he fainted. The mourning party quickly turned into a celebration.