The Irishman Who Was Buried Alive For 61 Days and Lived to Tell the Tale

DUBLINTIMEMACHINE: We briefly leave Dublin today to visit a mad Irishman in London, who was buried alive for 61 days…on purpose! Mick Meaney was a brawny Tipperary born boxer-turned-labourer living in 1960’s London.

His macabre world record attempt happened in the grim car park of a London lorry depot. To make things worse, the crazy Irish lad’s poor wife and kids back home in Ireland only heard about the stunt as it happened on the radio!

The event was promoted by another Irishman, eccentric Kerry native Butty Sugrue, who owned The Admiral Lord Nelson pub in Kilburn. Sugrue was no stranger to sensational acts either, styling himself as “Ireland’s Strongest Man” he was known for stunts like pulling a bus across Westminster Bridge with his teeth!

Training for the horrific stunt began in 1968 when Mick Meaney started sleeping in a coffin in The Admiral Lord Nelson pub. Eventually, the specially modified coffin with its courageous captive was transferred with much fanfare to the lorry depot and buried.

But Meaney was not the only action man looking for glory by being entombed alive. At exactly the same time in the US, another character called “Country” Bill White was attempting to break the same record. The BBC even organised a historic satellite link to allow the competitors to trash talk each other.

Celebrities of the day visited Meaney in his temporary grave, speaking to the cheerful stuntman using the pipe through which he also got his food, liquid, and oxygen.

The live burial was even discussed in the British House of Commons. Meaney’s daily underground regime involved waking at 7am in the morning in his grave and doing some very careful exercises within its tight confines. He would be given a newspaper and breakfast down his air pipe. He defecated and urinated through a hatch beneath him, which seeped into bags of lime. Through some superhuman willpower and a lot of whiskey, Mick Meaney reached the 61-day record.

Sadly, however, his herculean efforts were not recognised by the Guinness Book of Records because they had no official monitors there to confirm his conditions! Despite that his surreal act earned him legendary status among the Irish diaspora in London, countless free pints, and when he returned home to his wife and kids he was a local hero who had risen from the grave!