So, you’ve been buried alive. We’re not going to lie to you — things are looking real bleak right now. How you got there is not important. Let’s focus on the immediate problem: You’ve woken up six feet under, trapped in your own coffin and you have no idea how to get out.
Okay, it’s not something that happens everyday, but it does happen. This isn’t good news for the people being buried alive, but history shows us that there were a small percentage though that made it back to the land of the living.
Here are a few instructions to follow and with a little luck you then – probably, maybe – can be one of the lucky ones that made it out.
Stop freaking out!
The first thing to do is to just calm down! Yes, you’re in a real forsaken situation and the stakes are high that you’re going to die a prolonged and uncomfortable death, but it’s no reason for you to freak out, right? This is the time to control your feelings when you feel a panic attack coming on.
Ride the attack out by focusing on what’s happening to you. Try to deal with the problem at hand when the anxiety is gone. Breathing exercises can also help you feel better more quickly and will help to preserve air.
Take stock of what you have at your disposal
Don’t get your hopes up – you’ve probably been buried with nothing useful to aid you in these deathly times. But you still have to have a feel around to see what you can find, hopefully.
Buried wearing a belt? The buckle could be useful as a hard, metallic tool. Check everything on your person. Things like cuff links or a pen could be of immeasurable help to you. If, by some unlikely reason, you were buried with your phone thank Karma and try to call someone. If you don’t have a signal, remember that emergency service numbers could be picked up by any nearby tower, even if you don’t have a service plan. Try their number. Don’t rule anything out.
Morse code for a SOS
This ought to be the first thing you try. With whatever you can get hold of — even your fist if there’s nothing else — start tapping the Morse code for SOS on the lid of the coffin. It’s three quick taps, three long taps, three quick taps. The chances that you’re going to be heard are unspeakably low, but there’s always that odd chance you’ve been buried in a shallow grave. If so, someone hearing you is going to be your ticket out of there.
This has saved people before. In the 19th century, a young woman named Philomele Jonetre was said to have been exhumed from her grave after passers-by heard tapping coming from her coffin lid. Sure, she died pretty much immediately afterward, but, hey, at least she got out — briefly.
Breath slowly and not too much
You are not panicky at this moment because you have followed the above directions. So you must now face the thing that will probably end up killing you – a lack of air. According to popular science, an adult might have around five and a half hours worth of breathable air in such a situation.
Just how long you’ll last depends on a few things like the size of the coffin, your size and how much air you’ve used during your panic attacks before you finally calmed down. You can slow down the clock by taking slow and deliberate breaths.
When you finally come to terms, and accept, that you’re going to die you can at least take solace in the fact that dying from a lack of air isn’t the most painful death in the world. It’s not a great way to go but you’ll lose consciousness before you actually die. Good times.
Break your way out of your coffin
Well, you’re pretty sure no one’s coming to save you and so it’s time to save yourself.
To dig yourself out you’re going to first have to break through the coffin lid. If it’s made of steel you’re dead. If it’s made of cardboard you’re golden. Grab a tool if you can and start grinding at the lid.
Soon enough, dirt is going to start pouring in. Protect your face with an item of clothing to prevent yourself from immediate suffocation. If this works start scraping your way out. This all may sound drastic but people have survived this way before: the Huffington Post reported in 2013 that a man in Brazil dug himself out of his own (admittedly shallow) grave after being injured in a fight.
Pray away the rain
Let’s say you went for it to get out of your grave. Let’s say you somehow managed to split the coffin lid. Let’s also say that, by some astonishing chance, you’ve managed not to suffocate and you can even taste your freedom.
The next thing that you must hope for is that it hasn’t rained in the meanwhile because if it has all your good luck and enterprise is not going to help you one ounce.
Why? Because soil becomes dense when it’s wet. This fact is going to be pertinent when you’re buried in the earth. Wet soil is not your friend because there’s going to be hell to pay trying to dig through it. Light dry soil is definitely your friend.
Take a bizarre number of precautions
If you are like any irrational human being and terrified that this grisly fate can befall you, there are always a few precautions that you can take to help you out. A few tools can be downright handy when you’re buried alive, right? Throw a clause into your will for good measure and demand being buried with a few choice items. Take a page out of the preppers’ book with items like a phone, flashlight, knife and a small shovel. A tactical pen, whatever it is, might also come in handy.
Take an unhinged number of precautions
Let’s say you actually want to take precautions to prevent a premature burial. You will want to do it in the most awesome way imaginable, right? Of course you are. In comes the safety coffin. A few of them include bells placed above the ground that you can ring when you start breathing again.
Or get a coffin with a build-in device that you can hit with your head that will set off a signal or a flag in the land of the living.
Investing in such a coffin can assure that you will rest easy for the rest of your life – and beyond.
Ignore the strange looks and jeers from your friends and family when you put your burial demands on the table. When you dig yourself out of your own grave you’ll be the one laughing — probably maniacally.