October 20th, 2017| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Talking of phobias ….

Here’s a new one: taphophobia = “fear of graves” (from the Greek: taphos = grave and phobos = fear).

Before the days of modern medicine, taphophobia was not entirely irrational. People did get buried by accident. William Tebb (1830–1917), a British social reformer, collected stories of these premature burials, documenting 219 cases of near-live burial, 149 of actual live burial, and—get this!—10 cases of dissections of bodies that were presumed dead but weren’t, and 2 cases of presumed dead persons waking up while being embalmed. One contemporary researcher even recorded that in the early 1900s, a case of premature burial happened at least once a week! Golly!

So, taphophobia.

Apparently, our George Washington, on his deathbed in 1799, made his attendants promise that he wouldn’t be buried for at least two days after his presumed death, just in case he wasn’t dead. I’d do the same thing, too, wouldn’t you?

But there were more enterprising attempts to solve this morbid mistake.

Timothy Smith had a window installed on a chimney like structure in his coffin, centered on his face, and protruding aboveground, with a window on top, so he could be checked on frequently. Nope, he didn’t come back to life.

Another, Hannah Beswick, left her estate with the stipulation that she not be buried at all. Ever. The mummified body of Ms. Beswick still exists somewhere.

Franz Vester was the holder of U.S. patent #81437, an idea for a bell the rope of which was attached to the corpse’s hand. In case the corpse came back to life (or never had died in the first place), the bell could be rung to summon rescuers. [I wonder if this is where “saved by the bell” and “dead ringer” came from!]

A safety coffin devised by Gael Bedl in 1887 featured an air pipe through which to breathe. Apparently it also came with an alarm that sounded if the air pipe was used.

The aforementioned Tebb was also involved in attempts to prove the death (or otherwise) of supposed corpses. No effort was spared. Fire was employed to cause a blister on the hand of the presumed dead, electric shocks and hot irons were applied, morphine and strychnine were injected, etc. [Of course, some of these procedures themselves may have caused death!]

Our man Tebb himself was cremated … a week after his death.

When all is said and done, there is only one way to conquer death.

The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
1 Corinthians 15:26

Paul, that Jewish guy, was explaining the consequences of the resurrection of Jesus. Because Jesus paid the price for sin, fully, finally, and forever, sin is no longer an issue between God and the believer (who trusts in Jesus’ death and resurrection). And so, for them, death has already been defeated.

Thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:56–57

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foretaste of the resurrection to glory of every believer. Death defeated. Finally. Grief abolished. Forever

For this perishable must
put on the imperishable,
and this mortal must
put on immortality …
then will come about the saying
that is written,
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
1 Corinthians 15:53–54

And then, one day, we’ll exultantly proclaim:

“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:55

For those who believe in Jesus Christ as their only God and Savior, death has been vanquished!

Praise God!

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