If you can imagine your worst fears, what would they be? Would it be drowning in the middle of the ocean with no one around to hear your screams? Would it be being chased up the stairs by Jason or Freddy Krueger just after you turn the basement light off? Would it be being covered with snakes, spiders, and scorpions while you are paralyzed with fear? How about being buried alive? In my opinion, being buried alive would be absolutely horrific but this story takes that dark fear to a whole new level of terror. This story begins with a woman named Olivia Smith Hatcher who lived in Pikeville, Kentucky during the late 1800’s. Medical practice has come a long way since then but over the course of history some terrible and grave mistakes were made. One such mistake that unfortunately would claim the life of Hatcher, and go down as one of the most horrific stories I’ve heard of. Olivia Smith Hatcher was mistakenly buried alive but how exactly does this happen?
During the late 1800’s a terrible disease overtook the city of Pikeville and claimed many lives, especially children. The disease ravaged the entire community.
Olivia Hatcher had a young boy named Jacob Hatcher who became sick from the disease. He passed away in January of 1881.
Due to the loss of her child, Olivia became very depressed which lead to her becoming very ill in May of that same year. She eventually slipped into a coma, so her concerned husband contacted the county doctor.
The doctor came to assess Olivia and pronounced her dead on the scene of unknown causes. Olivia was quickly buried because it was a particularly hot month and people were worried about this disease spreading. Embalming wasn’t a practice at this time which sadly, may have actually saved Olivia’s life.
About one week after Olivia was buried, the doctor noticed that many people who were showing the same symptoms and had been in a coma as well were starting to wake up. They were getting better each day after waking up. Her husband realized that they may have made a terrible mistake and immediately dug up the coffin of Olivia Hatcher. What they found was a sight of pure horror.
It turns out that Olivia was in fact buried alive. They opened the coffin and found that the lid was scratched and torn to pieces. Her fingers were worn down to the bone from trying to escape her horrible fate. She passed away before they realized the mistake they had made. To honor her memory, her husband had this beautiful statue erected which still stands in Pikeville, Kentucky today.
This story gives me chills down my spine and made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I can’t imagine just how horrible the last moments of Olivia’s life must have been. Luckily today these same mistakes are next to impossible to make but it sure is a reminder of how much this probably happened in the past. It saddens me to hear about the demise of Olivia Hatcher from being buried alive but her memory will be forever honored with a beautiful statue.