Then They Heard Banging From Inside The Coffin

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Centuries ago, one of the great fears people held was that of being buried alive. The line between life and death was often so blurred, that even dead popes still receive a tap on the head to make sure they’re truly dead during their funeral rituals. 

This fear led to the creation of the bell system placed inside of coffins. This mechanism provided a lifeline for those who might find themselves prematurely interred. It consisted of a string or wire connected to a bell that was carefully positioned either inside the coffin or near the grave.

If a person was deemed deceased, the string was delicately placed in their hand or tied around their finger. The other end of the string extended through a tube or opening in the earth, leading to a watchtower or a caretaker’s home. During the burial ceremony, attendants would remain vigilant near the grave, listening intently for the faintest sound. If the person woke up inside the coffin, they would instinctively move their hand or the attached object, setting the bell ringing.

In Ecuador, 76-year-old woman who was declared dead at a hospital didn’t have a bell, but she did have her fists to knock on her coffin, shocking her family in the middle of her funeral.

Relatives left the coffin behind and rushed retired nurse Bella Montoya back to the hospital after the wake Friday in the central city of Babahoyo, son Gilberto Barbera told The Associated Press.

‘It gave us all a fright,’ Barbera said, adding that doctors have said his mother’s situation remains dire.

Ecuador’s Health Ministry said that Montoya was in intensive care Monday at the Martín Icaza Hospital in Babahoyo while the ministry investigates doctors involved in her case. A technical committee has been formed to review how the hospital issues death certificates, the ministry said in a statement.

Montoya initially had been admitted Friday at the hospital with a possible stroke and cardiopulmonary arrest, and when she did not respond to resuscitation, a doctor on duty declared her dead, the ministry said.

“There were about 20 of us there,” Barbera said. “After about five hours of the wake, the coffin started to make sounds. My mom was wrapped in sheets and hitting the coffin, and when we approached we could see that she was breathing heavily,” The Guardian reported.

“Relatives rushed Montoya back to the hospital in the central city of Babahoyo, Barbera said, where the health minister said she was in intensive care. She was under intubation and doctors weren’t giving relatives much hope about her prognosis, Barbera said.

The ministry said it was investigating the unnamed doctors involved in her case, and a technical committee had been formed to review how the hospital issues death certificates.”

[Read More: They Found A Surprise When They Opened Their Old Wedding Album]


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