Premature burial, also known as live burial, burial alive, or vivisepulture, means to be buried while still alive.
Animals or humans may be buried alive accidentally or intentionally. The victim may accidentally be buried by others in the mistaken assumption that he or she is dead. Intentional burial may occur as a form of torture, murder, or execution; it may also occur with consent of the victim as a part of a stunt (with the intention to escape). Fear of being buried alive is reported to be among the most common phobias.
Premature burial can lead to death through the following: asphyxiation, dehydration, starvation, or (in cold climates) hypothermia. A person trapped with fresh air to breathe can last a considerable time and burial has been used as a very cruel method of execution (as in cases of Vestal Virgins who violated the oath of celibacy), lasting sufficiently long for the victim to comprehend and imagine every stage of what is happening (being trapped in total darkness with very limited or no movement) and to experience great psychological and physical torment including ex...