An Irish woman who was buried alive in the 18th century gave grave robbers the shock of their lives when she woke up during the robbery.

Margorie McCall was born in 1705 in Lurgan, County Armagh. As an adult, she took ill and was pronounced dead. She was buried in the Shankill Graveyard.

In 1705, Marjorie McCall fell ill and died suddenly. Her husband, who was a doctor, pronounced her dead and she was buried in Shankill Cemetery in Lurgan. However, rumors soon began to circulate that Marjorie had been buried alive.

"Margorie McCall was reputed to have lived once but buried twice, as it says on her gravestone,” historian Jim Conway told

"This is the grave I have been asked many questions about, as there are a lot of people who are skeptical about the truth – whether the story is myth or not.

"I believe the story to be true based on my research."

One night, a group of men decided to dig up Marjorie's grave to check if the rumors were true. They found that her body was warm and that there were scratch marks on the inside of the coffin. It seemed that Marjorie had been buried alive and had desperately tried to escape her coffin.

"Shortly after she was buried the grave robbers came to retrieve the ring," Conway said, referring to a valuable ring that McCall was supposedly wearing.

"They dug up the grave and tried to get the ring from her finger." As they cut her finger they drew blood and woke the "dead" woman. The robbers fled.

"She was reported to live in Church Place, Lurgan and returned home with a knock at the door. Her husband opened the door to find Margorie standing in front of him," he continued.

The story goes that "Margorie went on to have more children before dying in her old age and [was] buried in the same spot."

"Her headstone now reads ‘Margorie McCall – Lived Once, Buried Twice."

Today, Marjorie's story continues to be retold as a cautionary tale. Visitors to Shankill Cemetery can still see her grave and read the inscription on her headstone, which serves as a reminder of the importance of proper burial practices.

* Originally published in 2017, updated in April 2023.