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'Dead' 95-year-old Wakes Up During Funeral Rites

Newsweek logo Newsweek 16/11/2018 Katherine Hignett
A statue of Kali, Hindu goddess of death, time and doomsday, is pictured. © Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images A statue of Kali, Hindu goddess of death, time and doomsday, is pictured.

A "dead" 95-year-old Indian man has reportedly woken up during preparations for his funeral. Budh Ram Gujjar, of Bhaktanwalan Ki Dhani in Rajasthan, India, shivered and began to breathe when family members poured water on his chest during a traditional pre-funeral ritual on November 3, The Times of India reported.

A doctor had pronounced the man dead after he fainted earlier that day, his family said. 

“The priest had started the rituals and a barber had shaved the heads of the men in the family. We were about to bathe the body as a customary practice before the funeral procession,” his son, 65-year-old Balu Ram, told The Times. “He started breathing and [sat up] soon after… It is nothing but a miracle.”

Budh Ram Gujjar then told family members he had fallen asleep after experiencing chest pains. His family were excited they would be able to enjoy last week’s Diwali celebrations after all.

"This is a very happy Diwali for us. Had my father been dead, we wouldn’t have celebrated the festival as is the norm in any house where a death has occurred. But this time, the celebrations are going to be grand," said younger son Ranjit, 55.

This isn’t the first time a "dead" man has woken up in India. In March, reports emerged that a man being stored in a morgue was actually alive. According to News18, a pathologist noticed a pulse moments before cutting into his body to perform a post-mortem examination. The man, who was still brain-dead, was later sent to a hospital with more appropriate facilities.

In June, a "dead" woman in South Africa was rescued from a morgue fridge when a worker noticed she was still breathing. She had been declared dead at the scene of a car accident that killed two other people.

News emerged in January that a supposedly dead man in China had woken up as a mortuary worker applied make-up for his funeral. His wife had sent his body to a morgue after presuming he had died when she discovered him limp one morning. He had been suffering from terminal stomach cancer.

Last year in Peru, the ribs of a man declared dead after root canal operation appeared to move during his open casket funeral, leading family members to conclude he was still alive, Los Andes reported at the time. After he was transferred to a nearby hospital, doctors confirmed the man was in fact dead.

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