Story of an old friend’s demise proved greatly exaggerated...

Trevor Laffan recently wrote about a man he believed was deceased... only for him to turn up on his doorstep!
Story of an old friend’s demise proved greatly exaggerated...

AN OPEN AND SHUT CASE: Trevor Laffan was stunned to see an old friend he thought was dead knocking on his front door! Stock picture of coffin.

ACCORDING to the website, there is a thing called the Lazarus phenomenon, when the ‘dead’ come back to life.

They gave the example of a woman whose heart had stopped beating. She was no longer breathing and was declared dead. At 91 years old, she had lived a long life, but she was not about to stop living it.

Eleven hours later, she awoke in the hospital mortuary with a craving for tea and pancakes. Apparently, she is just one of many people said to have ‘risen from the dead’.

In 2014, a 78-year-old man from Mississippi was declared dead after a hospice nurse found him with no pulse. The next day, he woke up in a body bag at the morgue, having experienced Lazarus syndrome where patients who are pronounced dead after cardiac arrest sometimes experience an impromptu return of cardiac activity.

An article in listed a few more.

A 65-year-old heart attack victim in Yemen had been washed and wrapped in special cloth, according to Muslim tradition. Mourners had placed him in his grave, and were preparing to cover him with dirt, when the man suddenly came to. He was not amused.

“You want to kill me and bury me alive,” he shouted.

After the shock wore off, mourners gave the no-longer-dead man fresh clothes and turned the funeral into a party.

A South African man in his sixties passed out after an asthma attack and, thinking him dead, his grieving family called a private funeral company, instead of paramedics.

After spending 21 hours in a refrigerated morgue, the man woke up surrounded by corpses and started to scream. Two workers heard the noises and panicked. They thought it was a ghost and they ran for their lives. The entire mortuary team returned together later and freed the undead man.

I don’t blame them for getting a shock. Seeing someone coming back to life can’t be easy. In fact, I know it isn’t because I’ve had that experience and I’m still not the better for it.

I wrote a story in this column recently about my experience with a dodgy electricity transformer in Cobh back in the ’80s and ’90s when I lived in the countryside, and how we regularly lost power.

I explained how Dick was my local ESB engineer and a regular visitor to my house in those days.

Standing well over 6ft tall and built like a tank with big broad shoulders and a full beard, Dick reminded me of the Desperate Dan character from the comic books, but like most men of that size, he was a gentle giant.

One day, while I was in the middle of doing something or other, the power went as it regularly did when it was windy because the transformer was overloaded.

I made the necessary phone call and bit the head off whoever answered the phone. I was running out of patience and demanded action.

Soon after, I saw my six-year-old son, standing in the hallway with his mouth wide open, staring at the front door. The hallway went dark, so I knew straight away that Dick had arrived. His massive frame filled the doorway and blocked all the light coming into the house. My son was mesmerised.

Dick came in and I had a little rant and a moan about the constant power cuts. He didn’t say much, he just walked past me into the kitchen and reached up to the fuse board and flicked one of the circuit breakers and the power was restored.

It hadn’t been a problem with the transformer this time. I had tripped the switch myself somehow, and I alone was responsible for cutting off our power supply.

I was so used to dealing with the bad transformer that I just assumed it was the same old problem.

He just looked at me and smiled, but I would have felt better if he had abused me for being so stupid. I felt completely ridiculous, and no amount of apologising seemed adequate. He had a cup of coffee and left the house laughing.

I finished the article by saying I only discovered a few years ago the poor man had died, and I was so sorry to hear that.

The day after the story appeared in the Echo, I was sitting at home when the doorbell went. I nearly fell in a heap when I saw who was standing there. Dick was far from dead, and he was right in front of me.

He hadn’t changed a bit either, except that he was a lot more alive than I had been led to believe.

He told me his phone was hopping from friends, slagging him about the tale of his demise appearing in the paper. He made some inquiries to find out where I had moved to and made his way down to see me.

Dick wanted to see the expression on my face when I discovered he was far from the grave I had placed him in.

The reunion was complete when my son Colin arrived on the scene, 25 years since we all previously met in a hallway.

I was shocked but delighted to see him. I apologised for writing him off, but he just laughed, as he did the last time I made a blunder.

We chatted for a while and when he left, I sat down to write this piece while it was still fresh in my mind. I was grinning from ear to ear and genuinely so pleased to see him.

I had a drop of Jameson to steady the nerves and to toast his return.

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