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What is the fear of being buried alive called?

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Published 13/09/2021
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The fear of being buried alive (usually as a result of being incorrectly pronounced dead) is called ‘taphophobia’, and it comes from the Greek ‘taphos’ meaning grave or tomb, and ‘phobos’ meaning fear.

Taphophobia throughout history

Taphophobia, or the fear of being buried alive, stems from a time before modern medicine, when methods of pronouncing someone dead were a lot less reliable than they are today.

There are reports throughout history of people supposedly being buried alive, though it is difficult to find evidence that these cases actually happened. In some instances it is reported that a body has been exhumed only to find it is in a different position, or there is evidence to suggest that the individual was buried alive. Many of these have been written off as myths.

There are many myths about being buried alive that have been told through the ages, and many stories have been written that have helped to fan the flames of this fear, including Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Premature Burial.

As the fear of being buried alive became more common, people began to propose ways of preventing this from happening, with some even inventing new “safety coffins”, designed to help anyone who may have been buried alive. Read more in this article on People fear being buried alive so much that experts have invented safety coffins

Being buried alive is extremely unlikely in this day and age due to advances in modern medicine. There are many ways to ensure that a person is dead before being buried, and due to this the fear is far less common now than it was in the past. There are still accounts of it happening to this day, though in extremely rare circumstances.

Nightmares of being buried alive are common, apparently meaning that you feel restricted or trapped in your life, or “buried” in some way. Other theories suggest a more positive meaning; that you have a talent you’ve not yet explored, or are not reaching your full levels of potential.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have found this post interesting.
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