Wednesday, 12 December 2012

226: Left for Dead

“The unthinkable happened yesterday.  A woman, who had been dead for 6 days and was buried in a grave in a mid-Hampshire churchyard, came back to life.  42-year old Miranda Darcey died of a heart attack after a vigorous bout of aerobics.  ‘I’ve often felt my heart fluttering after exercise,’ said Miranda, ‘but I thought it was normal.’

“Miranda’s heartbroken family held her moving funeral and a joyous celebration of her life in the church of their local village, the very same church where Miranda had been a bridesmaid just 15 years earlier.  A vibrant stained glass window looks over the front pews and would have dappled Miranda’s coffin in blues, greens and reds, if the sunlight had fallen just right.

“So how did Miranda come back from the dead?

“Such a small church is bound to fill up the churchyard with graves after centuries of burials.  With space a premium, graves are dug much closer together these days.  Dave the Grave, Hampshire’s famous Welsh grave digger, was deep down preparing the hole next to Miranda’s resting place when he heard a faint tap-tap-tapping coming through the earth. 

“‘I right near had a heart attack and needed a hole of me own,’ said Dave.  Dave clambered out of the grave he was digging and rushed off to contact the vicar for advice.  ‘He told me we’d have to dig her up again, just to check.’  And of course that wasn’t as easy as it sounds.  The vicar called in the local police, who sent a bobby into the hole to decide whether there really was tapping coming from ‘next door’.

“Sure enough, Miranda was still tapping away and once PC Green had confirmed the sounds, Dave hopped into his Bobcat, excavated the earth he had flattened only the day before and brought up Miranda’s casket.  The lid was unscrewed and the occupant sat up, blinking at the first light she’d seen in 24 hours.  ‘It was very dark in there,’ said Miranda, ‘but I wasn’t scared.  I knew someone would come and save me.’

“Whilst enquiries are ongoing at the hospital to try and identify how Miranda was wrongly thought to be dead for almost a week, police admit that had there not been a run on Winter flu which carried off a number of elderly local residents, it could have been months before another grave was dug near Miranda by which time her tapping would have died away long ago.

“Palmers’ Funeral Home has decided on a proactive approach.  ‘We will be offering bespoke Communication Solutions for our customers so nobody need fear being buried alive in future.  We will install Wi-Fi hotspots in any centre of burial, such as the vestry of a church, and will provide electronic devices which can be used to raise the alarm in the event of life returning to your loved one.’  Devices are likely to include smartphones, tablets and iPads as well as a choice of extra batteries which can be used to power connectivity whilst awaiting rescue.

“‘We have been asked if we might provide a similar service for those clients using cremation facilities.  Of course if there is a demand we would be delighted to provide the Communication Solutions.  However, we anticipate a slower uptake in this area of our business,’ said Erasmus Palmer.”

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