The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside entitled 'Extraordinary Case!'


Extraordinary Case !

A Full and Wonderful Narrative of the Extraordinary Suffer-

ings of Mrs JANE TOMKINSON, who fell into a Trance,
and was buried alive, a short time ago, in this vicinity?her
observations and feelings?her extraordinary escape from the
Grave?her wonderful recovery in the Dissecting-Room, in
consequence of a galvanic experiment, and happy return to her
family and friends.--All as related by Herself.

" ONE day towards the evening, the crisis took place, I was seized with a
strange and indiscribable quivering. A rushing sound was in my ears?I saw
arround me innumerable strange faces?they were bright and visionary, and
without bodies, and I tried to move, but could not. For a short time a terrible
confusion overwhelmed me; and when it went off, all my recollection returned
with the most perfect distinctness, but the power of motion departed. I heard
the sound of weeping at my pillow, and I heard the voice of my nurse say?
" She is dead." I cannot describe what I felt at these words. I exerted my ut-
most power of volition to stir, but could not move even an eye-lid. After a
short pause, my friend drew near, and sobbing and convulsed with grief, drew
her hand over my face, and shut my eyes. The world was darkened, but still
I could hear, feel and suffer. When my eyes were closed, I heard by the atten-
dants, that my friends had left the room, and I soon found the undertakers were
preparing to habit me in the garments of the grave, Their thoughtlessness was
more awful than the grief of my friends. They laughed at one another as they
turned me from side to side, and treated what they believed to be a corpse, with
most appalling ribaldry. The coffin was procured?I was lifted and laid in?
my friend placed my head on what was deemed its last pillow, and I felt her
tears drop on my face. I was then left alone, every one shunned the room. I
knew, however, that I was not buried ; and though darkened and motionless, I
had still hope ; but this was not permitted long. The day of interment arrived
__I felt the coffin lifted and borne away?I heard and felt it placed in the hearse.
There was a crowd of people around it: some of them spoke sorrowfully of me.
The hearse began to move. I knew it carried me to the grave. It halted, and
the coffin was taken cut; I felt myself carried on the choulders of men, by the
inequality of the motion. I was laid in the vault. Some short time after some
persons came near, and began to break up the coffin. Can it be possible, I
thought, that my friends suspect they have buried me too soon ? The hope was
truly like light bursting through the gloom of death. I felt the hands of some
dreadful being working about my throat. They dragged me out of the coffin
by the head. I felt again the living air, it was piercingly cold ; and I was car-
ried swiftly away. When borne to some distance, I was thrown down like a
clod, it was not upon the ground. A moment after I felt myself on a carriage ;
and by the interchange of two or three sentences. I discovered I was in the
hands of those robbers who live by plundering the graves, and selling the bodies
of parents, children and friends.

" One of them sung catches and scraps of songs, as the cart rattled over the
streets. By the conversation of the two fellows, I learned then I was that night
to be dissected : they were pleased to find that so good a subject had been procured.

" Previous to beginning the dissection, it was proposed to try on me some gal-
vanic experiments, and an apparatus was arranged for that purpose. The first
shock vibrated through rny nerves ; they tunged and jingled like the strings of
a harp. The students expressed their admiration at the convulsive effect. The
second shock threw my eyes open, and the first person I saw was the very doctor
who attended me. But still I was as dead ; I could, however, discover among
the students, the faces of many with whom I was familiar : and when my eyes
12:47 AM 1/24/04were open, I heard my name pronounced by several of the students with an ac-
cent of awe and compassion, and a wish that it had been some other subject.
When they had satisfied themselves with the galvanic phenomena, the adminis-
trator took the knife and pierced me on the bosom with the point. I felt a
dreadful cracking, as it were, throughout my whole frame, a convulsive shud-
dering followed, and a shriek of horror arose from ail present. The ice of
death was broken up?my trance was ended.

" Notwithstanding the trials I had undergone, I found myself sufficiently strong to
rise on my seat upon the table. Many of the students left the room precipitately; the
demonstrator, with several others remained, watching, with the most profound attention,
every movement I made. The power of speech had not yet returned, and efforts to speak
were unavailing.?Conscious of the indelicacy of my situation, being surrounded with
men, and being only partly covered with my shroud, I got off the table, and walked to-
wards the door, in hopes of meeting some female who might procure a decent covering.
The students followed in silent amazement. I passed down a long lobby, and entered an
apartment at the farther extremity, where some person was in bed ; I approached and
drew the curtain ; at this moment I found myself again able to speak, and I implored the
person, who proved to be a male servant of the house, to conduct me to a room where I
might find the company of a woman, but the person was so petrefied by fear as to be un-
able to answer; the demonstrator and the students, however, were in a body behind me
and in a few minutes every necessary was procured, and the utmost exertions were made
fully to restore me. ?In the course of an hour 1 was again in the bosom of my family."
Edinburgh:....Printed for James Mathewson,? Price One Penny.

previous pageprevious          
Probable date of publication: 1825   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(2)
Broadside entitled 'Extraordinary Case!'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland