Friday, October 07, 2005

The Dead Alive: London, March 17th, 1803

We passed the evening with the Grimstones, talking about the Duke of Bridge-
water, who, it was then thought, might very possibly be brought to life again, though he had been dead above a week. They told me the following extraordinary
story:

Many years ago, a Mrs. Killigrew was supposed to have been dead above a week; when she was to be put into her coffin, her body was so swelled that it. was found impossible to get her diamond hoop-ring off without cutting the finger; this her husband would not consent to; accordingly, she was buried with the ring.

The sexton, who had observed this, determined to steal the ring that night. Having forced open the coffin, he proceeded to cut off the finger, but the first gash of the knife brought Mrs. Killigrew to life again. The sexton, frightened, ran away, leaving his lanthorn, which she immediately took, and walked to her own house.

There her appearance, of course, created great consternation among the servants; no one would venture to open the door; fortunately the rumour reached the ears of her disconsolate husband, who went directly to receive her After this event she lived ten years, and in the course of that time had two children. A maid who belonged to
Mrs. Killigrew, after her death lived with Mrs. Walters, grandmother to the Grimstones: from her they had this story.

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