Many years ago in a small town in North Carolina, a wealthy woman tragically died. It was a custom to bury the dead promptly in those days . Morgues did not exist as they do today and preserving a body could be challenging . This is particularly true in the sweltering summer temperatures that the south is known for.
A funeral and proper burial quickly followed the death of the wealthy lady and she was laid to rest in her best dress and jewels. As night fell on the graveyard, two grave robbers plotted. They had read the obituary column in the local paper and were made aware of the woman’s wealth. On the very night of her funeral, they decided to dig her body up in the hope of finding valuables. Upon lifting the lid of her coffin, they could see the gleam of her diamond ring in the moonlight. They attempted to remove the ring from her finger, but her finger had swelled and they were unable to do so after several more attempts.
One of the grave robbers had an idea. He would use his knife to remove the finger of the dead woman and then be able to claim the ring. As he began to cut the lady’s finger with the knife, she promptly sat up and asked him:
“What on earth are you doing?”
The pain of the cut to her finger had brought the woman out of the coma that she had been in. The woman had been buried alive!
The grave robbers ran away as fast as their legs would carry them. They would never attempt to rob another grave again. Meanwhile, a widower paced the parlor of his home. He was unable to sleep due to the grief of burying his wife earlier that day. As he was just about to retire for the night, there was a knock on his locked front door. He was shocked to see his wife standing there trembling in the night air. The man promptly fainted.
The husband and wife recovered from their ordeal and lived many years after it. The reward that the husband posted to the grave robbers who had saved his wife’s life was never claimed.