Graveyard shift, saved by the bell, and dead ringer

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Back in the day, when they started running out of places to bury people, they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to the “bonehouse” and reuse the grave (the bonehouse is where they stacked all of the bones).

When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins was found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night “graveyard shift” to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be “saved by the bell” or was considered a “dead ringer.”

Credit: Our Lady of Victories R.C. Church, Harrington Park, New Jersey

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