Margorie McCall: Lived Once, Buried Twice
Legend has it that in 1705 a Mrs. Margorie McCall of Lurgan, Ireland dropped dead of a fever and was hastily buried to prevent the spread of infection. She also happened, at the time, to be wearing a rather expensive ring, the existence of which was apparently quite well known to the people of the area because, that very same evening, a grave robber disinterred Margorie’s body in order to steal said ring.
Initially unable to prise the ring from Margorie’s bloated finger the robber decided to cut the finger off with the ring still attached. However, upon making his first incision Margorie suddenly awoke! She had not been dead but rather was the victim of a premature burial. Naturally, the grave robber scarpered.
Margorie then made her way home, as one would, and knocked on the door. Her husband, John McCall, who was having dinner with their children, apparently recognised his wife’s knock and went to answer the door. Upon seeing his supposedly dead wife very much alive, he dropped dead himself and was buried in the plot Margorie had vacated.
The myth is a variation on the story of ‘The Lady with the Ring’, which was popular in European folklore from the 14th to 19th centuries and, although there have been numerous Margorie McCalls living in Lurgan, there is no evidence to suggest the story is true. In the 1860s a local stone mason erected a stone inscribed “Margorie McCall - Lived Once, Buried Twice” and fixed it to the headstone of a random John McCall in Shankhill Cemetery in the town. I happened to be driving from Belfast to Dublin the other day so obviously I had to pop in and see it for myself.
[Photo is mine]