Thank you to Mrs Askbu for transcribing the stories of her Uncle, a cemetery groundskeeper, with us. We hope you enjoyed them as much as we did!
1. The mysterious man in the picture
Sometimes spooky stuff happens that you just can't explain. A man walked up to us as we were throwing the canvas over the dirt trailer and commented on how beautiful of a resting place it was. We assumed he was a part of the family that was currently holding visitation and told him we were sorry for his loss and agreed that it was a beautiful spot. Later on, when the crew walked through the funeral home to get to the lounge for lunch, we all saw the picture they had set out for the guy that had died. It was the same man that had just came to the burial site a few hours before. He didn't have a twin, and no one else in the family looked that much like him. That kind of crap stays with you. Chills you to the bone.
2. Saw a kid wandering around alone...
I was cleaning off some headstones and cleaning up the grounds when a little girl caught my eye. She was playfully wandering around and looked happy. But I didn't see any adults around so I figured she had wandered outside from the funeral home. I took my gloves off because I was about to go on break, and figured I would ask where her parents were on my way to the building. I turned around and set the gloves down. When I turned back around, she was gone. A few weeks later, I helped set a picture plaque onto a headstone, and it was 100% the same little girl I had seen. Again, another thing I can never explain.
3. Moving a grave of a 6 year old who died in 1877
If a grave is sloping down a hillside or sinking too much, we get permission to move them to more level and stable ground. This particular grave was one of the first that had been in the cemetery, and the dates read April 1871-August 1877. Back then they buried their dead in pine/wood boxes. We had to move this grave as it was in a bad flooding spot on the grounds and just kept sinking further down every year. When we got to the coffin. The top had caved in and you could see the remains of the little boy curled up into a ball. That gave me chills like nothing else. We figure they unintentionally buried him alive, and when he woke, he didn't know what to do, and eventually just curled up in a ball and died. You could see his little skeletal hands wrapped around his knees. I'll never forget that.
4. Saw a guy kicking a headstone trying to break it
Turns out this guy was pissed that he was left out of the will, and came to the cemetery to show his disrespect to his grandmother's grave. I don't care what that person did to you. If you try to kick anyones headstone over, I'm kicking you in the nuts and calling the cops.
5. Go to tend the grounds in the morning...
Unfortunately, this happens more than you would think. We started the morning mowing the grounds. I went to mow the far end of the grounds first, but stopped when I noticed a person laying at the edge of the woods. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that the person had died by suicide. Later, they did find a suicide note, but we never learned why he did it there. I assume he lost a loved one and just wanted out of the pain. Or maybe wanted to make sure he was found by someone other than family. Makes you sad, man.
6. An elderly man still goes to his wife's grave every single Sunday
Good ol' Don. He's a nice guy. He brings the crew lunch some Sundays. Because every Sunday, he and his wife would go out to lunch after church. He is there every Sunday to read to her from the Bible and put fresh flowers down. He's a sweet old man and has been coming there every Sunday for as long as I've worked there. he tells us stories about their life together and gives that sad, longing kind of smile when he's done. True love man. You cant deny that good ol' Don was truly in love with Mrs Margie.
7. Go to lower a teen into their grave as the family looks on...
This one freaked EVERYONE out. A teen who had been killed in a car accident (19 I believe) was being lowered into the grave when we all heard a thumping noise coming from inside the casket. You could of heard a pin drop it got quiet so fast. Of course the director Re-opens the casket. Turns out the family buried him in the jacket he was wearing in the accident, and the thumping was a ringtone he had set for an alarm that day. They had been looking for his phone, and somehow the battery had lasted the whole time, but the phone was on silent. That is, until his scheduled alarm went off. The mother almost passed out, because she thought her son had come back to life or something. It was really heartbreaking to witness.
8. We find ritual candles and occult symbols on graves at least once a month
Not sure if it's teens being stupid or if people actually perform rituals to try to bring people back, but we clear off at least one grave a month.
9. Moving a grave in the same cemetery as the 6-year-old
So, again, on the other side of the cemetery is where most of the early graves are. And it floods a lot over there. Another grave started sinking and sloping to one side of the hill. Same case with this woman. We hoist the wood box up and the lid slides off the top. And to our horror, there are claw marks. And I mean tons of them, on the inside of the lid of the coffin. This poor lady was unintentionally buried alive around 1900, had obviously woken up buried alive, and tried like hell to get out, but she didn't. Another one I'll never forget.
10. Baby coffins are the heaviest to carry
I had to include this. No matter how many times we do it. Children are the hardest to bury. Its the saddest thing you will ever see and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. The weight of the grief pours over to us too, and it never ever gets easier to bury someone's baby.