Cases of being accidentally buried alive date back to the 14th century when the corpse of philosopher John Duns Scotus was reportedly found outside his coffin with bloodied hands. Since then, there have been countless tales of people hearing cries and wails of the dead, longing to get out of their coffins. As recently as 2014, there was a noted case of a woman being buried alive in Peraia, Greece. The woman succumbed to cancer. Not long after her burial, her children heard screams coming from her grave. She was exhumed, and it was discovered that she actually died of cardiac arrest. To the horror of her family, it was discovered that her death occurred after she was in the grave.
The Historical Medical Library has an array of materials that touch on this subject – a subject that was, and is, still a fear to many.