Where did the word “Wake” come from?

One more story from our tour guide:  In the old days before the medical world knew about diabetic comas and such, when someone died, the family sat with the body for 72 hours so that if they were to wake a loved one would be right there.  After that, they were placed in their crypt but a bell was put into their hand and tied to their thumb.  Then for the next 72 hours someone came by and banged on the crypt wall and would yell “hey, you awake in there?”.  And they would listen for the sound of the bell.  From all this came the term “wake” and some expressions that are still with us today; “saved by the bell”, “does that name ring a bell” and my personal favorite, “dead ringer”!

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