Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along roadside would often take them for dead, and prepare them for burial.
The "deceased" were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days, and families would gather around, and eat, drink and wait to see if the person would wake up, thus began the custom of holding a "wake."
How about this.... The nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosey is a rhyme about the plague. Infected people with the plague would get red circular sores ("Ring around the rosey..."), these sores would smell very badly and common folks would put flowers on their bodies somewhere (inconspicuously), so that it would cover the smell of the sores ("...a pocket full of posies..."), People who died from the plague would be burned so as to reduce the possible spread of the disease ("...ashes, ashes, we all fall down).
Cremation does assure not being buried alive, but only that.
When it was introduced, that was one of the selling points.
Imagen that!! Burned alive would be far worse. That is as bad as saying "I`m being cremated so bugs don`t crawl on me. - What, the fact you burn and then someone takes the bones and crushes them isn`t as bad?"
Once the body is lifeless, the method of disposition isn`t something one will `feel.`
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