A crazy Brazilian man named Freud is so afraid of being buried alive that he's built himself a tomb nice enough to live in, complete with TV and food. You know, just in case. It also has built-in megaphones that would allow for him to call for help just in case his body raised from the dead in some sort of zombification ritual and he wanted to lure in some easy victims.
But it isn’t a conventional final resting place. Inside the crypt, there’s a TV, also a water pitcher and a fruit pantry. Fresh outdoor air flows in through four vents from the chapel roof. Within reach of the coffin are two makeshift megaphones — plastic cones attached to tubes running out through the wall. One Saturday recently, Mr. de Melo lay in the coffin, shouting into the cones in a voice that echoed into the countryside. "Help me! Come quick! I've been buried alive!" It was only an equipment check — not an actual emergency. Mr. de Melo, a resort operator and politician, built a burial vault he could survive in because he's gripped by a rare condition called taphephobia, the fear of being buried alive. "I have awful, awful nightmares of trying to dig myself out from underground," says Mr. de Melo, whose physician father named him, presciently, for the pioneer of dream analysis.