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Man Buried with 'Tools for His Escape'

When someone requests a grave with a view, it’s usually a plot overlooking a valley or an ocean—not an actual window down to the casket underground. But that’s exactly what Dr. Timothy Clark Smith wanted when he died in 1893.

Dr. Smith was a schoolteacher, a clerk for the Treasury Dept., and a medical doctor. But according to a well-established story, he suffered from severe taphephobia, a fear of being buried alive. Let’s just say that although Dr. Timothy Clark Smith has been dead for many years, things are definitely looking up … or at least he is. Beneath the odd, grassy mound of earth, Dr. Timothy Clark Smith’s face was positioned beneath a cement tube that led to the surface. The 6-foot tube ended at a piece of 14×14-inch plate glass allowing Tim to gaze upward if he was buried alive.

Supposedly, Smith also had his tomb outfitted with “tools for his escape.” Although condensation and plant growth inside the shaft now block one’s view, past residents claimed to see the tools along with Smith’s bones. Said one, “You can see the face of the skeleton down there with a hammer and chisel crossed on the ground next to it.” Another source claims that when Smith was interred, “In the corpse’s hand they placed a bell that he could ring should he wake up and find himself the victim of a premature burial”

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