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JAMA 100 Years Ago
January 21, 1998


Author Affiliations

Edited by Brian P. Pace, MA, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(3):182L. doi:10.1001/jama.279.3.182

There are probably few persons endowed with lively imaginations who have not at some time in their lives had grewsome fancies about being buried alive, that is if the idea has ever been suggested to them. It forms the theme of many sensational tales of fiction, and is so much a matter of common belief that few would be disposed to question its possibility, or its occasional occurrence. In certain continental European cities this possibility is so fully credited that waiting vaults are guarded and watched mortuaries are kept up at public or private expense in the cemeteries, where all bodies are kept for a certain period before interment, so as to prevent any such occurrence. These are not generally so managed as to insure absolute safety from such accidents, yet they relieve the public apprehension, and may under certain circumstances be occasionally, though it must be very rarely, effective in preventing a premature burial.

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