Monday, 15 February 2016


Images copyright DC COMICS

1974.  The date trips off my tongue with such familiar ease that it
still seems fairly recent to me.  Hard to believe, then, that it was actually
42 years ago when I was still a mere lad.  Back then, DC COMICS had a
title called BLACK MAGIC, which reprinted SIMON KIRBY tales
from a magazine of the same name published in the 1950s.

I remember buying the first issue with such startling clarity that I
almost feel I went to bed last night as a 15 year old boy and woke up
today the age I am now.  Life really does go by so fast.  However, it's a
story in the second issue which made an impression on me which has
lasted to this day - "BIRTH AFTER DEATH".

It purports to be a true account of events leading up to the birth of
Sir WALTER SCOTT, the famed Scottish novelist, playwright and
poet born in Edinburgh in 1771, who died in Melrose at the age of 61
in 1832.  (ROB ROY and IVANHOE being but two of his works.)

Although I've checked, I've never been able to find any corroborating
evidence to back up the tale, but I find it hard to believe that Simon &
Kirby would simply have made the whole thing up.  I remember reading
the comic (on the day I bought it) in the graveyard of a local centuries-
old church, complete with the burial vault of a once-prominent family
from ages past.  Creepy but apt, don't you think?  Obviously that's
why I associate the tale with the place today.

1822 portrait of Scott by Raeburn

Anyway, have a read and make up your own mind.  Fact
or fiction?  To me 'though, it's one of those stories that - if
it isn't true - it ought to be.


UPDATE:  Simon & Kirby's story is true (with a little artistic
licence in regard to minor details).  From The MILWAUKEE
JOURNAL, Tuesday, October 18th, 1932, comes the following
account.  (Thanks, Tongalad.)

Sir Walter Scott's Mother Buried
Alive Five Years Before His Birth

Old Essay Reveals She Was Rescued
From Tomb Due to Ghoulish Sexton

London England - The astonishing fact that Sir Walter Scott's
mother was declared to be dead and was actually interred five
years before Sir Walter Scott's birth is recalled in a letter to the
Daily Express, sent by George MacDonald, Birmingham.

"Her weird sepulchral experience," says MacDonald,
"is described as follows by a great essayist of many
decades ago."

Buried in Vault

Here is the description:

"Miss Rutherford, while lying in a trance and declared
by the physicians to be dead, was laid away in the family
tomb in the great vaults under the parish church.

"At night the ghoulish sexton stealthily entered the tomb,
opened the casket and proceeded to rob the elegant and en-
tombed lady of the jewels which were on her person according
to the then prevalent custom.  Finding some of the finger rings
too tightly fixed, the unconscionable thief took his pocket
knife and slashed the flesh from the fingers.

"Came to Life"

"The sudden shock and flow of blood caused a reaction of
the vital forces, and the reanimated lady opened her eyes,
uttered an exclamation of amazement and attempted to
rise up.

"The guilty and horror-stricken rascal's hair rose straight
upon his head, and with the yell of a desperate madman he
rushed forth, thus raising the alarm which brought help
and rescue to her.

"She lived many years subsequently, none the
worse for her awful adventure which occurred five
years previously to the birth of Sir Walter."


  Click the link below (provided by Tongalad)
 to see the actual newspaper's front cover:
id=uahQAAAAIBAJ &sjid=2SEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5668,6482729

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