The Grave of Timothy Clark Smith

By on April 24, 2013

The grave of Dr. Timothy Clark Smith in VermontIn life, Dr. Timothy Clark Smith of Vermont had been so concerned about being accidentally buried alive, that he arranged plans for a special crypt to be constructed upon his death. He was deeply afraid of contracting sleeping sickness, which would give the illusion of death until the lucky individual woke up alive, trapped in a cold, dark grave.

Upon his death on Halloween of 1893, the good doctor was interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven, VT. in his specially prepared grave. It consisted of an odd, grassy mound upon which a slab of granite was placed. This stone was fixed with a small 14″x14″ window looking down into the earth, with a six-foot cement shaft leading down to Timothy’s face. According to old cemetery records, there is a second room in the burial vault which houses Timothy’s wife. A set of stairs lead into the crypt, capped by the stone in the lower front of the mound.

Though the glass in the window is now scratched, stained and hazy with condensation, people years ago claimed to have seen Timothy’s skeletal face looming in the darkness, as well as a hammer and chisel nearby to aid in his escape. Another legend claims a bell was placed in Timothy’s hand to allow him to signal in case he woke up.

A stone with a window looking into the burial vault

The window looking down into Dr. Timothy Clark Smith's grave

Photos courtesy of Bill Alexander of www.vermonter.com. Read his article here: The Premature Burial in Vermont

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