It’s undeniable that someone rising from the dead is a fascinating occurrence. In fact, it’s the belief in one man’s miraculous resurrection from the dead on which the largest religion in the world is anchored. However, the spontaneous return of circulation in a body after failed attempts at resuscitation has been documented many times. In fact, the phenomenon has been labelled the “Lazarus syndrome” after the biblical character whom Jesus supposedly brought back to life. In other cases of “dead” people coming back to life, however, there could have simply been a misdiagnosis of the person’s condition due to the inability to hear a faint heartbeat or sense faint breathing.
Here are ten amazing cases of people who were believed to be dead but amazingly came back to life:
10. Unnamed / South Africa (2011)
It’s hard to blame the workers at a morgue in South Africa when they ran away after hearing terrifying screams from a refrigerated portion of their work area where dead bodies are kept. However, the screams were not from a ghost, but those of a 60-plus-year-old man who was incorrectly thought to be dead after he lost consciousness due to an asthma attack. Perhaps the misdiagnosis was the result of the family calling a private mortuary company instead of paramedics when the unconscious body of the man was found. It’s still shocking, though, that the man was able to survive 21 hours in the refrigerated morgue.
9. Hamdi Hafez al-Nubi / Egypt (2012)
Hamdi Hafez al-Nubi, then a 28-year-old waiter from Egypt, suffered a heart attack while at work and was soon after declared dead. His body was then washed according to Islamic tradition and prepared for burial. Later, however, a doctor who was going to sign Hamdi’s death certificate realized that the body was still warm. The doctor then checked Hamdi’s vital signs and found that Hamdi was still breathing, prompting the doctor to revive the body. Afterwards, the doctor also had to revive Hamdi’s mother as she had fainted after learning that her son was still alive.
After the resuscitations, rather than abandoning the funeral, the family turned the gathering into a celebration of Hamdi’s apparent “resurrection”.
8. Carlos Camejo / Venezuela (2007)
33-year-old Carlos Camejo appeared to have died after a serious highway accident and was taken to a morgue for a standard autopsy. After the first cut had been made on his face, the examiners were surprised to see fresh blood flowing from the wound. Suspecting that the man was still alive, they quickly stitched up the incision, and Camejo regained consciousness in the middle of the procedure. “I woke up because the pain was unbearable,” Camejo told reporters.
Camejo’s wife had shown up at the morgue to identify her husband’s body, but instead, she found him very much alive in one of the building’s corridors.
7. Walter Williams / United States (2014)
The elected coroner for Holmes County, Mississippi got the shock of his life when a man he had declared dead and had sent to the embalmers suddenly came back to life. The story started when Coroner Dexter Howard received a call from a nurse who said that Walter Williams, 78, had passed away. After Howard had checked the man’s pulse and had declared him dead, men from a funeral home were called to prepare the body. The cadaver was then placed in a body bag, but in the embalming room, the embalmers noticed that the body was moving its legs in a kicking motion. When the men checked on Williams, he was breathing, which prompted them to call an ambulance.
Later, doctors theorized that a defibrillator that had been implanted beneath the skin of Williams’s chest had jump-started his heart.
6. Li Xiufeng / China (2012)
Living for 95 years apparently wasn’t long enough for a Chinese woman, who six days after being placed in her coffin, woke up and proceeded to cook herself a meal. Li Xiufeng of Beiliu, Guangxi Province was thought to be dead after a neighbor found her in bed, motionless and not breathing. The neighbor believed that Li’s death had been caused by a head injury resulting from the elderly woman tripping and injuring her head in her home two weeks before she was found. As is customary under Chinese tradition, Li was placed in an unsealed coffin and left in her home so that relatives and friends could pay their respects. Shockingly, two days later and one day before the scheduled funeral, Li’s body went missing. Mr. Qingwang, who discovered the absence of the body in the coffin, called the neighbors and searched for Li, who was then found cooking in her kitchen.
“I slept for a long time. After waking up, I felt so hungry, and wanted to cook something to eat. I pushed the lid for a long time to climb out,” the elderly lady narrated. Sadly, however, Chinese tradition, which saved Li’s life, also caused Li to lose all of her possessions as Chinese custom also dictates the burning of all the belongings of the dead.
5. “MaNdlo” / Zimbabwe (2013)
Those who say they want to have killer sex may reconsider their longing after hearing about the case of a prostitute in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. “MaNdlo” was in the act of doing business with a customer at the Manor Hotel when she collapsed and appeared to have died. Authorities were then called, and the woman was placed in a steel coffin. However, “MaNdlo” suddenly woke up and screamed, “You want to kill me!” at the officers. Several shocked onlookers were so horrified by what they had seen that they ran away.
The resurrected prostitute was then brought home by another working girl, while the man who “killed” her was said to have snuck out of the hotel soon after the cops had left.
4. Kelvin Santos / Brazil (2012)
Antonio Santos and his wife were heartbroken when their 2-year-old son, Kelvin, died at the Aberlardo Santos Hospital in Belem, Northern Brazil. The boy had appeared to succumb to complications related to bronchial pneumonia. The boy’s body was placed in an airtight body bag for three hours, and later that day, the family gathered for an open-casket wake. That was when the boy’s aunt noticed that the supposedly dead toddler appeared to move repeatedly, then later sat up and asked his father for a drink of water. However, just seconds later, the boy fell back in the casket, and the family could no longer revive him. Rushed to the hospital, the boy was declared dead a second time.
“Dead people don’t just wake up and talk,” the boy’s father lamented. “I’m determined to find out the truth.”
3. Luz Milagros / Argentina (2013)
If you found what happened to Kelvin Santos heartbreaking, you might find the case of Argentina’s Liz Milagros to be doubly tragic. Just twenty minutes after being born as a 1.5-pound baby with just 26 weeks of gestation, Luz Milagros’s death certificate was signed. She was then put in a coffin and taken to the hospital’s refrigeration room. Twelve hours later, when her parents opened the coffin to say their last goodbyes, they were stunned when the baby trembled and let out a tiny cry when the mother touched the baby’s face. Mother Analaia Bouter dropped to her knees in shock. Sadly, just a few months after her first birthday, Luz Milagros passed away for good due to multi-organ failure and intravascular coagulation. At that time, the baby had improved to weigh about 13 pounds but showed signs of slow brain development.
2. Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov / Russia (2011)
This story ought to appear in the dictionary as an example of what “irony” means. Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov, 49 years old, from Kazan, Russia, appeared to die after suffering a heart attack. She was then laid out in a coffin for her wake, but her mourners were astonished when she suddenly woke up just as they were reciting prayers for her soul. Realizing what was taking place, Mukhametzyanov suffered another heart attack. Her relatives managed to take her to a hospital, but there, she was declared dead a second time after surviving for just twelve minutes. The hospital is investigating the incident, and the dead woman’s husband, Fagili, was reported to be planning to sue the hospital.
1. Hardy Lyudmila Steblitskaya / Russia (2012)
Coming back from the dead once is rare enough, but how about doing it twice? That’s what a then 61-year-old Russian cook, Hardy Lyudmila Steblitskaya, was able to do in 2011 and 2012. In November of 2011, Lyudmila felt unwell and was taken to Tomsk Regional Clinical Hospital. The following Friday, her daughter, Anastacia, called the hospital to ask about her mother. The hospital then broke the news that her mother had died. Devastated, Anastacia relayed the news to family and friends and proceeded to prepare for the funeral. After she had completed those tasks, she went to the hospital to collect her mother’s body but was instead told that her mother was alive in bed. Lyudmila then recounted to her daughter how three days after her supposed death, she woke up in the morgue, her skin peeling off from the cold.
Later, in October of 2012, Lyudmila again had an apparent death, but after several hours, doctors were able to revive her.