The first half of the story gives supposedly real examples of people that have been buried alive. Some made it out safely and some didn't. The second half is the narrator's own story of how he suffered from catalepsy, a condition that mimicked death, and was in constant fear of premature burial by someone who didn't know of the condition. Apparently, this was a common fear at the time this story was written.
To be buried while alive is, beyond question, the most terrific of these extremes which has ever fallen to the lot of mere mortality. That it has frequently, very frequently, so fallen will scarcely be denied by those who think.
I thought this was a bit of an exaggeration but apparently there were hundreds of such cases and there was a Victorian Society for the Prevention of People Being Buried Alive. This is also the era when they were fitting coffins with safety devices such as bells that the buried person could ring if they were indeed still alive.
I can only assume that this was a real fear for Poe as he wrote about it more than once. Yet in this story the narrator overcomes the fear after an incident where he believes he has been interred prematurely. Poe gives the opinion that the fear of death is crippling and that life is better lived without that fear. I doubt he ever lost his own fear of death though.
For next week, I've chosen the poem The Haunted Palace.
Admitting to a fear of small spaces, especially ones under dirt,