Among the fundamental doctrines of the Bible listed in Hebrews 6:1-2 is the “resurrection of the dead.” What is this resurrection?
In the Bible, the word translated as “resurrection” comes from the Greek a·naʹsta·sis, which means “raising up” or “standing up again.” A person who is resurrected is raised up from death and restored to life as the person he was before.
The resurrection is central to the life and aspirations of a follower of Jesus Christ, however besides the Biblical miracles, there have been instances of people surviving a near-certain death situation.
It’s actually kind of easy to believe in resurrection, at least in someone coming back to life, isn’t it? How many times have we seen a movie or TV show with some declaration of love to a flatlining patient followed by new beeps on the heart monitor? These are far more than people who were legally dead on an operating table; these are dead people who rose from the crypt to go on living.
Here, we bring to you some of the most improbable resurrection stories or incidents of Lazarus syndrome of real life.
1 – Matthew Wall
On October 2, 1571, young farmer Matthew Wall was in a coffin and was heading for his own funeral. The whole village of Braughing in Hertfordshire was present for the funeral. While the procession headed to the church, one of the pallbearers slipped on wet leaves and dropped the coffin to the ground. On lifting the coffin again, they heard someone knocking from inside. Matthew Wall had come back to life and was banging on the walls of his own coffin. The story of Matthew Wall suggests that accidental live burial has actually occurred.
Since then, the people of the Braughing Village celebrate Old Man’s Day on October 2nd every year. Children sweep the leaves from the lane in front of the church using brooms on this day to make sure no one slips and no coffins are dropped.
2 – Anne Green
In 1650, Anne Green was convicted of murdering her child and hiding its body at her boss’s house. Soon, she was sentenced to death. She was led to the gallows where she was fitted with a noose. Anne uttered her last words and begged, ‘Sweet Jesus, receive my soul.’
After the hangman kicked the stool out under her, Anne’s body was left to hang for half an hour. During this time, according to her friends, “thump[ed] her on the breast’ and hung ‘with all their weight upon her leggs… lifting her up and then pulling her downe againe with a suddain jerke…which seems very rude to me, but apparently they were trying to quicken her death / lessen her suffering”.
Eventually, her lifeless body was cut down from the gallows and put in a coffin. It was taken to a doctor for dissection. Just as the doctor prepared to cut her open, Anne’s corpse groaned, Hallelujah! There could be two probabilities to this case. One, doctors immediately began to warm her body by pouring hot cordials in her mouth to bleed her. The other could be someone could have tried to kick her back into the land of the dead by stomping on her chest. The force of the kick revived her.
Post this episode, Green was granted a reprieve and was declared innocent.
3 – Marjorie McCall – “Lady with the Ring”
In 18th Century Lurgan, Ireland, Dr. John McCall’s wife Marjorie was ill with fever. She died shortly thereafter. Marjorie had an expensive gold wedding ring which could not be removed from her finger after her death because of the swollen finger. Marjorie was buried in Shankill Cemetery owing to the fear that the fever may spread. The news about her death spread throughout the town.
Soon, some grave-robbers dug up Marjorie’s coffin to retrieve the ring. They tried their best to remove the ring, but in vain. So they decided to saw off the whole finger. As the sharp blade cut into her skin, Marjorie returned and sat bolt upright. The startled thieves fled.
Marjorie was left alone to climb out of her grave and return home. Dr John was boozing with some of his relatives and on seeing his dead wife, he went in a state of shock and dropped dead on the floor. He was buried in the same grave from where Marjorie had just risen.
4 – St. Odran, Naysayer
In 548 AD, Christians in Iona, Scotland wanted to build a chapel near an ancient burial ground. The problem was that no matter what they did, how much they constructed, the next day, they had to start all over again. A thought came into the head of a man named Columba! Columba was of the opinion that if they buried someone alive in the foundation, they may stand a chance to finish building the chapel.
Columba’s son Odran volunteered to be buried alive and the chapel was built. After some time, Columba started missing Odran and so he opened the burial pit again. When he began escaping the grave, Columba shoved him back down and quickly covered the pit with earth. It is not certain whether his body was removed and buried elsewhere. In fact, the relation between Odran and Columba is also not clear.
5 – Thomas à Kempis
Thomas a Kempis, a Catholic monk allegedly wrote the Imitation of Christ, which everyone agreed was a good publication. After his death in 1471 in Zwolle, the church authorities decided to canonize him to make a good saint.
On exhuming his body, they found scratch marks inside the coffin lid and splinters embedded below Thomas’s nails. In spite of holy resurrection after death, Thomas was denied canonization and never became a saint.
6 – Ng Swee Hock
Ng Swee Hock got into fisticuffs with his own brother and sustained so many injuries that even a ventilator could not revive him. The doctors of Penang, Malaysia hospital conducted CPR for 45 minutes and pronounced him dead following the unsuccessful attempts. However, after two-and-a-half hours, Ng began breathing again.
7 – Colombian Woman
February 2010 – After falling ill from a serious condition, a 45-year-old woman in Cali, Colombia, was declared dead. Staff at a medical clinic signed her death certificate, and her body was transferred to a funeral home to be prepared for her burial. Just as a worker went to inject her lifeless limbs with formaldehyde preservative, the woman miraculously began to breathe and move again.
8 – South African Grandfather
In July 2011, an 80-year-old man died of complications from an asthma attack in the Eastern Cape. His family came to fetch his body from the morgue. Twenty-one hours later, while the family was discussing the funeral arrangements, one of the morgue workers heard someone calling out for help. The worker called the police for backup and when the reanimated corpse of the man was released, he was “nearly scared to death”.
9 – Saudi Mom
In 2009, a woman was undergoing a caesarean delivery in a Kuwait City hospital. She was pronounced dead and her husband was handed her death certificate along with the new baby. The lady’s body was taken to the morgue. Two hours later, the woman was struck with life again and she banged the door of the deep freezer and screamed for help. Her pleas were heard by the morgue worker and she was rescued.
10 – Old Polish Lady
In June 2009, a man called for an ambulance as his 84-year-old wife had fainted. The emergency service declared the woman dead and sent her to the morgue. As she lay deceased for several hours in line waiting to be embalmed, life hopped into her once again. The morticians saw the woman’s bag moving and on unzipping it, they found that her vital functions were working again.
11 – Duns Scotus
Scottish theologian Duns Scotus died of apoplexy in November 1308 in Cologne, Germany. He was buried in a tomb in the chapel of the Franciscan Church. After some years, his vault was opened and Scotus was found outside his coffin.
After his resurrection, he had tried to open the tomb from inside but to no avail. His hands were torn and were covered in blood and he was dead once again.
12 – Grigori Rasputin
The famous psychic Rasputin is believed to have been murdered several times but he returned to the realm of the living time and again.
On June 29, 1914, Rasputin was first murdered by a former prostitute Guseva. She stabbed him in the belly until his tummy parts spilled. But he returned! On December 16, 1916, some friends turned enemies fed him cake and wine laced with cyanide. When he did not die, one man from the gang shot him in the back. Rasputin dropped on the floor dead and the conspirators left. When they returned, Rasputin was alive. They shot him couple of times more but it didn’t help. So, they hit him with clubs, tied him up and wrapped him in a blanket and dumped his body into the icy Neva river.
Few days later, Rasputin’s body was pulled out from the river. He was dead but his arms were outstretched which indicated that he had come back to life again. Water had filled in his lungs which proves that he was alive inside the water for some time. The autopsy report revealed his cause of death as hypothermia, despite the beatings, four bullet holes and the poison. In fact, he had survived a bullet shot in his forehead.
When his body was burnt in the woods in Saint Petersburg, he sat up in the fire and tried to move.