Angelo Hays

Angelo Hays: A Man Who Survived After Being Buried Alive For 2 Days


Angelo Hays (born c. 1918, died January 12, 2008) was a Frenchman who became famous for surviving an alleged two-day premature burial, and inventing his own security coffin.

This article was updated on September 27, 2020.

September 1, 1937: The Motorcycle Crash

survived premature burial

On September 1, 1937 (age 19), Hays took a joyride on his motorcycle and fractured his skull. After skidding out of control, he was thrown from the vehicle headfirst into a brick wall. The impact was so severe, his own parents were not aloud to view his body. When doctors examined Hays, they could not find a pulse. He was declared dead, and was laid to rest.

A couple of days after he was laid to rest, insurance investigators requested his body to be exhumed. What raised suspicions was an insurance policy that was taken out on Hays just days before the accident.

When forensic examiners took a look at Hays, they were in shock when they realized that despite being buried in a coffin for two days, his body was still warm. They later determined that Hays was in a deep coma caused by his head injury.

Angelo Hays went on to live a full and prosperous life. Although he had to endure several operations, he made a full recovery.

The Invention Of A Security Coffin

Hays became a minor celebrity in France. People would travel from afar to speak with him. In the 1970s he went on tour to demonstrate his invention, which was a security coffin developed for other people who might be mistakenly buried alive. The coffin was equipped with a food locker, oxygen supply, chemical toilet, radio transmitter, alarm bells, and even a library.

safety coffin

This is a 19th century Taberger’s Safety Coffin. A bell was a signaling device just in case one was buried alive.

How Hays Survived Being Buried Alive

It is hard to imagine how one could survive being buried alive for an entire two days. So how did Hays do it? When he had been in a deep coma, his body required very little oxygen, which increased his chances of survival.

Hays died on January 12, 2008. The cause of death is unknown.

Images Of Hays On The Internet

angel hays image

young man Angelosurvivor

old inventor


If you go to Google and type in “Angleo Hays,” you will see some images from various sources. The websites show him as a young and older man. Perhaps these are not the same person?


According to British author and physician Jan Bondeson, the fear of being buried alive runs deep in human history. So deep, it is our most primal fear. In Bondeson’s book Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear, he calls the Angelo Hays case “probably the most remarkable twentieth-century instance of alleged premature burial.”

This entry was posted in Weird Stories on by .

About Joseph Caltabiano

Joseph Caltabiano is a writer, oddities lover and a former surgical technologist. He left the field of surgical technology to pursue a career in blogging and internet marketing. As clearly shown in his posts, Joseph is very passionate about unusual topics. His two most favorite topics are medical and weird science.