It’s only natural to be horrified at the idea of being buried alive. Yet at one time, like flagpole sitting or dance marathons, it was a competition for publicity and bragging rights. The fad reached its peak in the 1960s. Although the stunt was not new, earlier attempts at the record amount of time spent underground were not well documented, so spending the longest time buried was a challenge.
On February 21, 1968, 33-year-old Irish laborer Mike Meaney had himself buried in Kilborn, England. He was trying to go for the record set by Bill White of Texas, who had emerged after being buried for 55 days. But Meaney did not know that White was also being buried again at the same time, trying to top his own record. The stunts therefore became a real-time competition for who could stay buried the longest.
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An article at Mental Floss has the details of Meaney’s burial, including the particulars of his life-sustaining coffin, the history of the fad of premature burial, and a video of the public celebration when Meaney returned from the grave. -via Strange Company