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Taphophobia Part 2

I watched The Crown Season 6 Episode 8, The Ritz, and one scene stood out to me. The actress portraying Princess Margaret is speaking to the actress portraying Queen Elizabeth II.  They are discussing her ill health and Princess Margaret is pointing out her specific plans for her funeral including, “Promise me, that I will actually be dead when they close the coffin.” to which the Queen shares a chuckle with her. Whether or not this scene is based on real life events I do not know, but it does illustrate that taphophobia is still rampant today.

Taphophobia is an irrational fear of the grave, or fear of being put in the grave while still alive. The word taphophobia comes from the Greek "taphos” (grave) and "phobos" (fear).

Although there have undoubtedly been incidences over history, it is statistically highly unlikely in modern times due to the advances in modern medicine and much more definitive ways of determining death in people.

Sarah Michelle Gellar has publicly admitted to suffering from taphophobia. Additional taphophobia sufferers who feared being buried alive include Hans Christian Anderson, Frederic Chopin, George Washington, and Alfred Nobel.

Psychologists classify taphophobia as a specific anxiety disorder. According to one article, see source, “Taphophobia can also be called taphephobia. Most people who have taphophobia have been discovered to have developed some other forms of phobia such as thanatophobia (which the fear of death), placophobia (which is the fear of tombstones), coimetrophobia (which is the fear of burial grounds), and claustrophobia (which is the fear of closed and tight spaces)…. There is no one who knows what actually goes on after death or if there is any truth to the reality of life after death. The anxiety to know what happens after death can lead to the development of thanatophobia as well as taphophobia.”

Therapy, medications, and self-help are all beneficial courses of action taken by sufferers of this real condition. You may wish to read my previous blog for a more detailed post on this topic.

source The Fear of Being Buried Alive, by Deborah, July 10, 2023

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