In the Vault

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In the Vault is a short story by the author H.P Lovecraft. It is thought to be the earliest record of zombies biting their victims.


George Birch, undertaker for the New England town of Peck Valley, finds himself trapped in the vault where coffins are stored during winter for burial in the spring. When Birch piles up coffins in order to climb out through the vault's window, his feet break through the lid of the top coffin, injuring his ankles and forcing him to crawl out of and away from the vault.

Later, as Dr. Davis investigates the vault, and finds that the top coffin was one of inferior workmanship that Birch used as a repository for Asaph Sawyer, a vindictive townsperson whom Birch had disliked, even though the coffin had originally been built for the much shorter Matthew Fenner. Davis finds that Birch had cut off Sawyer's feet to fit the body in the coffin--and that the wounds in Birch's ankles are teeth marks.

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