1800's Safety Coffin Bell




Bell and String


Causes panicked feelings of claustrophobia





Collected by

Warehouse 13



Date of Collection

August 3, 1987



The first recorded "Safety Coffin" was constructed in 1792 under the orders of  Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, who had a paranoid fear of being buried alive after the cholera epidemic of the 18th century came with many reports of false deaths and mistaken burials. Though this coffin did not have the bell that would become the signature of the Safety Coffin, it did inspire German priest P.G. Pessler to suggest a series of cords that linked to the church bells that a person who was buried alive could ring for attention.

Though impractical, the idea of the bell hung on, and in 1829 Dr Johann Gottfried Taberger invented a smaller but more usable solution. Each coffin was to have a small bell attached to the headstone, with a cord leading down to the inside of the coffin. If the person buried were to wake up, they could ring the bell and alert anyone nearby to assist them. Though the idea took off, there are no reported cases of a Safety Coffin ever saving a life, though the image of the bell above the grave has become ingrained into the popular culture.


Whoever rings the small copper bell will experience intense claustrophobia, as if they were trapped in a wooden box several feet underground. They will suffer from panic attacks and insist that they can feel the walls closing in. Even after the bell is neutralized, the person may still have fears of being buried alive and may still show symptoms of claustrophobia for several weeks following.

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