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Thursday 29 September 2016

Legend Irish woman was buried alive is 'true' - says historian

Margorie McCall was born in 1705 in Lurgan, Co Armagh

Mark McConville and Denise Calnan

Published 05/06/2016 | 09:50

A woman of no major wealth, her name is now infamous with the tale of how she was buried alive.

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The 1700s was a time of a "terrible famine", according to local historian Jim Conway.

He told Independent.ie how Margorie reportedly took ill, before she was pronounced dead.

Grave robbers were quick to visit her grave in the Shankill Graveyard, but got more than a shock when she woke up during the robbery.

She reportedly walked home and lived to an old age, even going on to have more children.

"Margorie McCall was reputed to have lived once but buried twice, as it says on her grave stone," Mr Conway said.

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

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

Mr Conway described how Margorie was woken from her fever-heavy slumber.

"Shortly after she was buried the grave robbers came to retrieve the ring," he said.

"They dug up the grave and tried to get the ring from her finger. It was during the process of cutting her finger, she drew blood and then she awoke – while the robbers fled.

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

"Legend goes that Margorie went on to have more children before dying in her old age and buried in the same spot."

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

Parish records held in the Public Records Office (PRONI) record the deaths of nine Marjorie McCalls in Lurgan, three of whom were married to a John McCall.

No record is held of the death in 1705 of a Marjorie McCall married to a John McCall, but Mr Conway explained how the records collapsed at that time due to a famine.

Watch the video as Jim Conway tells the story.

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