During the 19th century, when many physicians were poorly trained and newspapers were often little more than rumor mongers, there were many incidents reported of comatose people being declared dead, then reviving later, sometimes even during funeral services. Due to such reports, the fear of premature burial became widespread in the Victorian Era.
So, perhaps Robert E. Lee’s mother was buried prematurely in 1805, and her story contributed to this phenomenon.
However, perhaps members of the Lee family were fond of Edgar Allen Poe and wove one of his short stories into their family history. His horror story, “The Premature Burial,” was published in 1844; and Poe wrote three other stories that included this theme.
Most likely, though, there is no way of knowing what the truth is regarding Lee’s mother. So, it will remain one of many curious traditional family stories in American history.
And perhaps, even though it is a bit early for Halloween, this tale will make your skin crawl, as if worms were crawling all over you. Then, you too might start worrying about being buried alive.