SYMHC Live: Not Dead Yet - Safety Coffins and Waiting Mortuaries


Tracy and Holly onstage during their West Coast tour. Photo by Brian Frey

For the West Coast tour, Holly and Tracy talked about the fear of being buried, which reached a fever pitch in Europe and the U.S. from the 18th to the early 20th century. That fear led to some very interesting inventions as humans tried to ensure they wouldn't end up interred before their time.

This episode was recorded at the Neptune Theater in Seattle.

Special thanks to all the venues and venue staff who helped us make this tour happen. And very special thanks to HeadCount.org for providing voter registration on the road with us!

Holly's Research:

  • United States Patent Office. Patent No. US 8,884,768 B2. Nov. 11, 2014. http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=08884768&SectionNum=1&IDKey=&HomeUrl=http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/
  • United States Patent Office. Patent No. US000522110. Jan. 2, 1894. http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=00522110&SectionNum=1&IDKey=&HomeUrl=http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/
  • United States Patent Office. Patent No. US000329495. August 24, 1885. http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=00329495&SectionNum=1&IDKey=&HomeUrl=http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/
  • United States Patent Office. Patent No. US000638265. Dec. 5, 1899. http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=00638265&SectionNum=1&IDKey=&HomeUrl=http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/
  • United States Patent Office. Patent No. USA100081437. August 25, 1868. http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=00081437&SectionNum=1&IDKey=&HomeUrl=http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/
  • McKnight, Walter J. “Electric Device for Indicating the Awakening of Persons Buried Alive.” United States Patent Office. Patent No. US000652934. July 3, 1900. http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=00652934&SectionNum=1&IDKey=&HomeUrl=http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/
  • American Heart Association. “History of CPR.” https://cpr.heart.org/AHAECC/CPRAndECC/AboutCPRFirstAid/HistoryofCPR/UCM_475751_History-of-CPR.jsp
  • Fitzharris, Dr. Lindsey. “Embalming and the Civil War.” National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Feb 20, 2016. http://www.civilwarmed.org/embalming1/
  • Cardin, Matt. “Mummies Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Mummies in History, Religion, and Popular Culture.” ABC-CLIO. 2014.
  • Stapelberg, Monica-Maria. “Through the Darkenss: Glimpses Into the History of Western Medicine.” Crux Publishing. 2016.
  • Bruhier D’Ablaincourt, Jean-Jacques and Jacobus Benignus Winslow. “The Uncertainty of the Signs of Death, and the Danger of Precipitate Interments.” Faulkner, 1748. Accessed online: https://books.google.com/books?id=BUpomAEACAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  • Bondeson, Jan. “Buried Alive.” Norton. 2001.
  • Bondeson, Jan. “A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities.” I.B. Taurus. 1997.