back to article Dead bloke reanimates in mortuary

A 50-year-old South African man, whose relatives had prematurely packed him off to the local mortuary, proved very much alive when he woke up screaming, prompting two terrified attendants to take to their heels. The poor bloke was declared dead by his own family on Saturday night when they couldn't wake him, the BBC reports. …


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  1. Wize

    Obligitory Monty Python

    "'Ere, he says he's not dead"

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like ...

    ... Miracle Day?

  3. Code Monkey

    Poorly equipped

    Countless films have told us you need blunt objects handy in case of such an emergency.

  4. Thomas 4

    Lost out on valuable bonus points

    ....if he'd only started shuffling, lurching and moaning "brains...."

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Lost out on valuable bonus points

      Er, Rule 2 is a bitch as a punchline to that gag......

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Quality of staff...

    There is something to be said for staff that turn and flee in fear rather than those who actually realise what has happened and call for an ambulance PDQ.

    When presented with a weird situation, what sort of person ignores the real possibilities in preference for make believe?

    Ockham would be spinning in his grave.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's South Africa, and worse, it's the Eastern Cape...

      Sadly in rural areas of Southern Africa, the old legends and stories still hold fast, even with people who know better. How many well-to-do people with roots in the rural areas will publicly say they don't believe in tokoloshes, yet still put their beds on bricks to avoid upsetting just that same mystical being? A lot, unfortunately.

      And mortuary workers in Southern Africa unfortunately tend to be not the well-educated, been-to-university kind. So when you, who had rudimentary education at a school and who dropped out as soon as it was possible to do so (or worse, were removed from school because your family either couldn't afford school fees anymore or because you were promoted to main breadwinner), suddenly hear a rumpus in one of the refrigerated cabinets holding dead bodies, you might be inclined to believe the stories your old gogo or the local sangôma told you when you were a little boy.

      Ockham might be spinning in his grave, but then again he didn't grow up in Africa where nothing is a surprise for you and where stories like this are greeted with a shrug of the shoulders and a "what are you to do" facial expression.

      1. Goat Jam
        Thumb Up

        Breaking news

  6. dotdavid


    Surely morgue employees learn to recognise dead people after a few hundred examples?

    "Your foster parents are dead" because, well, are you sure?

  7. Mike Green

    Possibly not the best idea Thomas....

    For an example, see Zombieland and Bill Murray's attempt to carry off this gag...

  8. Graham Bartlett


    There's something to be said for those staff, and that's "you're fired".

  9. Fred Mbogo

    Was his name...

    Jake Armitage? You know him, AI courier, green pants, gray trenchcoat. Known to hang out with a shapechanger woman.

    1. Bongwater
      Thumb Up


      I dated Kitsune.

      Damn El Reg can you create a Shadowrun icon so I can stop using the thumbs?

      Vielen Dank :)

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Mortuary professional test, level 1

    1 question...required pass mark: have 1 hour to complete the test

    Please choose one answer to the following question:

    When someone is dead they are:

    A) warm to touch and breathing

    B) cold to touch and not breathing

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Well, to be fair...

      I have encountered someone cold to the touch, not breathing and unconscious.

      Before I resuscitated her.

      Kind of lucky that someone desperately searching for help said they were looking for a first aider within my earshot really, because without a first aider my casualty would have been brain dead before the ambulance arrived. That was a very, very long ten minutes.

      Thus illustrating the wisdom of our system of a doctor checking someone is actually dead before they get stuck in a mortuary. Someone can actually be cold to the touch, not breathing and yet not actually dead beyond recovery. I'd prefer a doctor certifies me as dead rather than a mortuary attendant, personally.

  11. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Eating funny fish in Japan

    There have been a few cases of people eating funny fish in Japan; eating the wrong bit and being diagnosed dead (including latest state-of-the-art monitoring kit). They then get packed off to the morgue, but wake up later.

    Now everyone who prepares said funny fish has to be licensed to try to ensure that they remove all the right bits, and only leave enough poison for it to be funny to eat. Then anyone found to have died from eating funny fish have to be left a minimum amount of time to see if they re-animate before actually cutting them up, or burying them.

    Sorry for calling it "funny" fish, but my brain is currently fried so can't remember which species of rock/spiky fish it is.

    1. hplasm

      Known as being in

      a state of Fugu...

    2. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      That would be Fugu (pufferfish)

    3. Galidron

      Puffer Fish

      Title says it all

    4. LaeMing

      Funny fish

      Like... a clown fish?

      Ba da dum!

  12. Painless

    It's not just in South Africa....

    I worked as an organ transplant immunologist in Seattle and we had very advanced med tech and there was someone who came in as an organ donor and woke up during a blood draw and wound up going home. He was back a few weeks later, but hey...a few more weeks are a few more weeks!

    1. Anonymous John

      Yes, but...

      You didn't run away screaming. At least I hope you didn't.

  13. JohnG

    Last Will....

    I guess this bloke will now change his will to say that his relatives will get nothing if they fail to get him a doctor for his next death.

  14. Bucky 2

    Wake-Up Call

    It was probably just the most recent episode of a long string of all-night debauches. Once again, he was out all night partying like a naughty teenager.

    His family figured they'd teach him a lesson and called the mortuary. A "scared straight" gambit to hopefully make the 50-year-old grow up already and act like an adult.

    The alternative--that the family was hoping that the guy really was dead, and hoping so hard that they didn't dare call paramedics instead of the mortuary--is just too terrible to contemplate.

  15. George Nacht

    I do understand the bit

    about the mortuary attendants being a bit superstitious and being scared shitless when confronted with reanimated client, and this being Africa and all....

    but....they abandoned him for 24 FREAKING HOURS?

    Unless the mortuary was (for superstitious reasons) built 100 miles for nearest human setllement, I just don´t get it.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Anonymous Coward

    and worse, it's the Eastern Cape

    This is the kind of discrimination that really should be stopped, just because someone is from the eastern Cape Does not make them an idiot. just as being from Africa does not make them an idiot just as being black does not make them an idiot. Poor Education and rife superstition is what causes this problem, and it COULD happen anywhere, saying 'oh it's Africa' is the kind of discrimination that needs to halted, and shows our failings.

    1. Lamont Cranston


      if Africa is rife with superstition, and has a very poor education system (and things are worse on the eastern cape), surely this is not racism, but a statement of facts?*

      The judgement being made is not "eastern cape africans are stupid", but "africans living on the eastern cape are likely to be poorly educated and superstitious, and thus more likely to presume that noise in a mortuary is the work of the undead".

      Isn't it?

      *asuming these are the facts

  17. Naughtyhorse

    well i for 1 would not have run away

    there would have been too much drag generated in the back of my trousers!

    oy vey

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