The Legend of Margorie McCall
The legend of the “Lady with the Ring,” a woman who was accidentally buried alive, but revived when the grave diggers returned to steal her valuable jewelry.
While some believe the story of Margorie McCall, the “Lady with the Ring,” is true, others believe a lack of evidence and burial records suggest the legend of the Lurgan woman who survived premature burial is mere folklore. The famous gravestone was created by stonemason William Graham and placed in Shankill Cemetery in 1860. According to researchers, the church has no records of a Margorie McCall buried in 1705, nor of her being buried again later.
True or not, here’s the story of Margorie McCall, the woman who died once, but was buried twice:
After succumbing to a fever of some sort in 1705, Irish woman Margorie McCall was hastily buried to prevent the spread of whatever had done her in. Margorie was buried with a valuable ring, which her husband had been unable to remove due to swelling. This made her an even better target for body snatchers, who could cash in on both the corpse and the ring.
The evening after Margorie was buried, before the soil had even settled, the grave-robbers showed up and started digging. Unable to pry the ring off the finger, they decided to cut the finger off. As soon as blood was drawn, Margorie awoke from her coma, sat straight up and screamed.
The fate of the grave-robbers remains unknown. One story says the men dropped dead on the spot, while another claims they fled and never returned to their chosen profession.
Margorie climbed out of the hole and made her way back to her home.
Her husband John, a doctor, was at home with the children when he heard a knock at the door. He told the children, “If your mother were still alive, I’d swear that was her knock.”
When he opened the door to find his wife standing there, dressed in her burial clothes, blood dripping from her finger but very much alive, he dropped dead to the floor. He was buried in the plot Margorie had vacated.
Margorie went on to re-marry and have several children. When she did finally die, she was returned to Shankill Cemetery in Lurgan, Ireland, where her gravestone still stands. It bears the inscription “Lived Once, Buried Twice.”
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