I work at a funeral home/cemetery/crematorium combination in the Midwest. I got into the job when I was 16 years old, and started by cutting the grass one summer while waiting for school to start back up. My plan was to work there until college. College didn’t really work out, but the couple that owned the funeral home and therefore ran the cemetery seemed to take a liking to me, so they offered me full time employment. This in turn gave me more responsibility, such as digging graves, arranging burial plots the night before a funeral, general office work, and in recent years, preparing bodies for funerals, crematorium duties, and night security on some occasions.
This job has, without a doubt, changed me from a skeptic to a full-fledged believer in the paranormal. The owners who hired me are an older couple who run it with their children, and they warned me when I started taking on more responsibilities that I would more than likely see some things that scared me, and that would be unexplainable. They were right. But they also assured me that as long as I watched my step, I wouldn’t be in any danger, and for the most part, they were right. Even so, though, there have been plenty of times that I’ve seriously considered quitting. I just thought you guys might enjoy some of the weird shit I’ve seen around the cemetery.
I suppose I should start with the first thing that ever happened, just to get the ball rolling. It’s not much of a story, just something strange. The cemetery has a main entrance which leads right to the front office, which is a pretty big structure, about the size of a modest suburban house. In it is where all the business is handled, a small chapel, a wake room, and in the basement is the crematorium. Aside from that, there is a few acres of land, about 65% of which is already developed and used for burial. Besides that, the rest is just large field areas that will be used as the space is needed.
The first thing to ever happened was about two and a half months into my employment there. I was cutting the grass on the riding mower, just making laps. I had one, maybe two more laps to go before the entire field area was cut, then I would move on to the more intricate areas where there were already graves. As I rode the mower past the first row of graves, I felt a bump under the mower. I looked behind the mower as I rode forward, but the ground was perfectly flat. Then, I hit another bump, and another. It was as if the ground was rigid. I turned off the mower and hopped off to look. The ground was perfectly flat, and I made sure I hadn’t gone too far to the side and had the blade hit something, and I hadn’t.
Just when I thought it might be a mechanical error, I saw something that told me it wasn’t. The spots where I’d hit the “bumps”, had taller grass. The mower had literally lifted off the ground a bit. No kind of mechanical error could have caused that. It happens sometimes, and it seems to be getting worse.
A few weeks after that happened, I was preparing an area for a burial ceremony. It was a particularly busy time of year, so I was finishing up just as it was getting dark. I was laying out the floral arrangements around the headstone (this particular burial was for a member of a family who’d had their headstones set already), and while I was on my hands and knees, I felt a breath on my neck. Not a gust of wind, but an isolated, direct, warm breath. I whipped around to see who was behind me, but there was no one there. My heart was racing, and I spent more than a few moments looking around before getting back to work.
After another few minutes, I began hearing leaves move. Not like they were being stepped on, but like someone was sliding their feet along the ground, in exaggerated, planned strides. Somehow, I couldn’t tell what direction the sound was coming from; it sounded like it was coming from all around me. And again, there was no wind at the time. As I was looking all around me, the noise stopped, and in the corner of my eye I saw the outline of a person sneak behind a tree, like they were hiding. I yelled out to whoever it was, telling them the cemetery was closed for the evening and that he was on private property, but got no response.
I called again, but to no avail. I got up and walked towards the tree slowly, fists clenched, prepared for whatever might happen. I made my way around the tree, which was small enough so that whoever was hiding couldn’t have gone anywhere without me seeing. But when I got to the tree, there was no one there. I looked up, and saw the outline standing maybe 5 feet away from me. Not an actual person, but the silhouette of a person. It wasn’t completely dark yet, so I didn’t know what I was looking at. It was like a shadow had leapt up from the ground. It waved at me and ran away, basically dissolving into the air.
I stood there, unsure of what I’d just seen and just stared into the distance. I eventually got back to what I was doing and finished up. But it wasn’t the last time I saw something like that.
Things went fine for a few weeks, until the owner of the cemetery’s son, who was, at the time, the cemetery’s only certified crematorium technician (I was licensed a few years later), allowed me to sit in on a cremation (morbid, I know, but for the business I’m in it was something I might as well get to put down on my resume). The body was that of a man that had been dead for upwards of 48 hours, and who weighed roughly 350 pounds. His weight being what it was, meant that the average 2 ½ hour cremation time might take a bit longer.
We were just sitting around, talking about whatever, when after about an hour and a half we hear a knock inside the retort (cremation chamber). Then we hear multiple knocks, over and over. The owner’s son, Anthony, stood up and told me he hoped that the man didn’t have a pacemaker that was mistakenly left in his body, because the heat could cause it to explode, damaging the equipment. Either way, there was nothing we could do. We looked in the viewing window to see what was going on, and all we could see was flames, so Anthony lowered them. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. The large man in the retort was leaning upwards, flailing. There was about a 6-inch space between the man and the roof of the chamber, and he was throwing his arms and legs up and down.
Anthony and I looked at each other, completely bewildered by what we were seeing. Then we heard something else. Screams. Muffled screams, like someone had a hand over the man’s mouth. He was crying and screaming like he was in the most agonizing pain of his life. But as I said, this man had been dead for over two days. His organs had been removed; he was literally a shell of the man he once was. There was no way, not scientifically, not technically, not physically, absolutely no way that this man was still alive, yet there he was. Being seemingly burned alive.
After about 20 seconds, he stopped. He just laid there, exactly as he had been when Anthony slid him in there. Neither of us said anything for about 5 minutes. Anthony then looked at me and told me in the most serious tone that I’ve ever been spoken to in, to not ever say a word about what had happened. I know he told his father, but I was never brought into any kind of dialogue about it again.
The last one I’ll say for now is short, but interesting. Me and another employee were tasked with digging a grave for an impending burial. This was about a year and half into my time working there. We were about a foot and a half down when I slammed the head of my shovel into the soil and nearly lost my grip because it didn’t stop where it should have. Dirt began seeping into the divot I’d made, and from there, me and the other guy poked our shovels down and it created a hole. A hole that we couldn’t see the bottom of. I don’t know how the grass and soil was being held up in the area, which ended up being about a 2 foot by 6 foot rectangle. At about 1½ feet the entire area of 2×6 foot area, the earth just…wasn’t.
I had the other guy drive to a dollar store nearby to get some glow sticks. When he came back, we cracked a few and tossed them down the hole. We saw them glow all the way down, until they got so far that the light was no longer visible. We couldn’t see the bottom. We placed some rope around the area so no one would fall, and then dug another hole nearby, one that didn’t go into the depths of the earth. About 3 feet away from the never ending hole we dug a normal grave site.
The next day, I brought the owner to show him the hole, but when we got to it, it was filled in. I don’t know how it was physically possible, but there was a mound of dirt where the bottomless pit once was. The only hole that was there was the proper gravesite me and the other guy had dug. And sitting next to the newly filled pit were the still lit glow sticks we’d tossed down. It wasn’t the last time I’d see those holes either.
The things that happened have been going on for 11 years, and there’s certainly more. I will continue.