Therapist Buries Patients Alive To Fix Their ‘Psychological Problems’

'When I got out of the coffin, I felt as if I had become a new person.'

Matt Cardy / Getty Images

'When I got out of the coffin, I felt as if I had become a new person.'

Andrey Zhelvetro is a psychologist who believes in treating his patients in quite an unorthodox manner – he buries them alive in an attempt to cure their psychological problems, reports the Mirror.

At first glance, such a procedure seems to be straight out of the Hannibal Lecter school of psychology. Yet according to Andrey Zhelvetro, the bizarre, and some would say morbid process, helps his patients feel really alive.

The medical professional’s strange practice was unearthed earlier this year when a villager stumbled across 12 empty coffins which had seemingly been abandoned in a wooded area near the capital city of Kiev in northern Ukraine.

The concerned villager also discovered a dozen freshly dug graves and alerted the police immediately.

Police swooped in on the area and began investigating who was responsible for the macabre mystery. Their avenue of inquiry led them directly to Zhelvetro.

The psychologist had no hesitation in holding his hand up and admitting the coffins belonged to him. He informed the authorities they were used as a form of psychological treatment.

Zhelvatro explained how he buried 12 of his patients alive for two hours in the forest. He filmed the burial of one of his patients to give prospective candidates a better idea of how the process worked.

The film shows a coffin being laid in a shallow grave. A young, smartly dressed man lies down in the coffin and he is then buried.

During the two hours of therapy, a pipe is fed into the coffin so the patient doesn’t die from lack of oxygen.

One of the patients who reportedly experienced the procedure said, “When I got out of the coffin, I felt as if I had become a new person. That was strange.”

Zhelvetro explained, “I created this treatment few years ago. I was the first person who underwent it. This training helps you feel alive.”

A police spokesperson said Zhelvetro has committed no crime.

“The training participants were buried voluntarily. Nobody was injured during the procedure. No signs of criminal activity have been found.”

The all too human fear of being buried alive is as old as the hills.

In 1891, Italian psychiatrist Enrico Morselli coined a term for it – taphephobia. The word is Greek for “grave” and “fear.”

Morselli said, “the taphephob is an unhappy person, his every day, his every hour being tormented by the sudden occurrence of the idea of being buried alive.”

The rise of taphephobia led to the creation of “safety coffins” in the second half of the 19th century. These coffins involved a mechanism such as a rope used to ring bells above ground which could notify the living that all was not well with the buried person.

Famous tapehphobes include George Washington, Frederic Chopin, and Hans Christian Anderson.

Would these great men have benefited from Andrey Zhelvetro’s technique?