Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Strange Story of Charles Blood of Leigh, Staffordshire - 1909

What was at first supposed to be a case of premature burial has caused a great sensation in the North Staffordshire village of Leigh. Mr Charles Blood of Bent's farm, Leigh who was 65 years of age was buried in the village churchyard, the cause of death being certified as heart trouble. After the funeral service the mourners dispersed, leaving Edward Alcock, the sexton, his brother Henry, the undertaker and a few youths beside the grave. The brothers commenced to fill in the grave, and had about half finished their task when they heard distinct raps coming apparently from the excavation. To those present the noise sounded like taps on the coffin lid, muffled by the covering of earth. Eagerly those around the grave listened. Again came the mysterious rapping, and shouting out "The mans alive". Edward Alcock flung down his spade and rushed for a doctor. The others set to in feverish haste to throw the earth from the grave again, and when Edward Alcock returned with the doctor the coffin was, soon raised and -carried into the church, where the undertaker unscrew ed the lid.

The doctor made an examination of the body and declared there were no signs of life. He expressed the opinion that life was extinct when the body was placed in the coffin. The undertaker- said: "When I took the lid off I found things were as when I screwed it down with the exception that the hands, which had been place placed on the abdomen, where forced against the-lid." He suggested that natural processes caused this, and also the tappings. ''The taps," said the sexton to an interviewer, "sounded as if someone was knocking on an empty box. I heard about twenty taps in all. The noise was rather loud at first, but gradually got fainter. I have buried hundreds of bodies but have never known such a strange occurrence.'

"A curious part about the whole affair," said the undertaker, "was that after we got the coffin back into the grave the sounds were repeated, but, of course, we were convinced they did not proceed from the inside of the coffin.

He refused to believe the theory, that the noise' was caused by earth falling on the coffin. It was too regular.

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