“Talked To Death” - A Macabre Find Full Of Intrigue & Mystery

Favourite Finds


Ahoy there!  Welcome to this week's instalment of 'Blog Post Monday'.  I hope this finds you well.

A few weeks back I found an intriguing little treasure.  It was one of those where, the more you researched, the more fascinating it became.  It's so fascinating in fact, I just have to tell you the story that I've uncovered around it.

So, as always, get that kettle on and sit quietly, as we take a look at the possible ill effects of meddling during the 19th century...


Image:  my 19th century "Talked to Death" find


The piece I found was a rare 19th century miniature trick coffin which had the phrase “talked to death” on a plaque to the front and a mysterious little button to the base.


Image:  my 19th century "Talked to Death" find

Firstly, in order to confirm the age of the piece, I wanted to find out about the phrase “talked to death”.  I'd obviously heard it before, but I had no idea how old the phrase was or where it came from.  This is what I found out...

"Talked to death" is based on local folklores from the 19th century and is believed to have originated from the medical condition, ‘Prostration’.  Prostration was used fairly frequently as a cause of death during the 19th century and refers to a crippling depression where often the person is confined to bed.


Image:  Newspaper articles about Alice Phillips

The case of an Alice Phillips in 1891, is a fine example. Alice was disabled and was constantly pestered by townspeople on how she should go about regaining her health.  She was so troubled by the constant meddling that she ended up dying from prostration.  As a result, her husband had the phrase “talked to death” engraved onto her headstone as the cause of her death.


Image"  Alice Phillip's gravestone 


But what was the meaning or purpose of this little coffin that I found...?


Image:  my 19th century "Talked to Death" find


We may never know for sure, but perhaps it serves as a grim reminder of the possible ill effects of meddling and was perhaps used as a trick to ward off meddlers.


Image:  my 19th century "Talked to Death" find


And, the reason I say this is that, it's not only coffin shaped and has the phrase “talked to death” to the front, but it also has a wooden button to the base, which, when pressed, strikes the victim in the finger with a sharp needle...!


Image:  my 19th century "Talked to Death" find


So, let me know what you think...  What could it be...?  What was if for...?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

In the meantime, you'll be pleased to hear that this fascinating little curiosity is currently available to buy HERE



Anyway, that's it for this week folks!  

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So, until next week, stay safe, keep buying those antiques and keep spreading that Source Vintage love!

Owner Source Vintage

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  • Brenda Howorko on

    Coolest darn thing ever! I enjoyed the article very much – keep it coming!

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