Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's Buried in that Graveyard?

I mean, besides the obvious stuff. I was rather shocked to find out from a cemetery grounds keeper friend of mine some of the things that he and his workers find on the grounds. Now, I’m not talking about some abandoned graveyard out in the woods, but rather a nice well-kept, city cemetery. The cemetery in question is large enough that visitors can easily drive a little way and be out of sight of the people in the office.

When you or I walk through the occasional cemetery, we’re not inclined to notice something that was not there yesterday – a small mound of dirt, an item sticking out of the ground. But people whose job it is to care for the monuments, the stones, and the grounds DO notice such things. And they’ll typically remove them.

Voodoo doll, Atlantic City Cemetery
The typical voodoo dolls are found, to be sure, along with the dead chickens. I’ve seen these too, but there are creepier things. One time my friend saw something sticking up a bit out of the ground near a grave. Upon investigation, he pulled out a three by ten-inch parcel wrapped in a scarf. He was curious, so he unwrapped it. Inside were two face-to-face Barbie-type dolls, naked, with coins and pieces of broken mirror between them.  One had a pin stuck in her.   

Another time, he found a plastic shopping bag full of dead headless chickens – in full feather − with a note tied on saying “Neptune.” He assumed this was done by one of these whackos whose job it is to warn us about space aliens – until he read in the newspaper the following week about Yvon Neptune, Haiti’s imprisoned Prime Minister. Probably had to do with that governments’ (2004) crackdown on voodoo priestesses (I’m not making this up!).

Snake Handle, compliments of Angela Dellutri Photography
Then of course there was the jar of dead snakes he found, swishing around in some liquid, the large jar just sitting on a headstone. All of this stuff, obviously related to voodoo spells, curses and conjures. According to, "Snakes are a common subject in the realm of hoodoo and folk magic. Their uses range the gamut from good luck to retribution, and the omens assigned to them as equally as varied." Now keep in mind, this was not in New Orleans, it was in Philadelphia. Whatever the locale, a graveyard is a popular place for voodoo practitioners to enlist the aid of spirits (of the dead) to help with spells. (Check out this video posted by one intrepid cemetery explorer, and see what he found in a cemetery in New York City!)

Even more disturbing than finding snakes in a jar must  have been when the cemetery groundskeeper at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California found the human hearts in a jar in 2010. (You can read about that in more detail in one of my previous blogs, "Human Hearts Found in Jars in Cemetery.")
"Police opened up one jar and found a human heart with the photo of a young man and woman pinned to it. Nearby was a second jar with the same contents, but bearing a photo of a different young man and woman. Officers also found partially burned cigars and candles…"
-The Oakland Tribune, 10/22/2010
Though I’ve never personally found snakes or hearts in jars, I started thinking about the weird stuff I have come across in fifteen years of cemetery travel, and wondered what other people had found. So I began a Facebook Group called “Unusual Cemetery Objects,” and encouraged people to post their findings. I was kind of hoping to tap into the experience of the cemetery groundskeeper, but so far, they are a shy bunch. I assume this is partly because cemetery managers would rather not make it known to the general public that jars of snakes had been found buried on the grounds. Still I encourage those people to add such findings to the comments at the end of this blog – if you’d rather maintain anonymity, email me and I will add your comments.

So this blog’s title phrase “buried in a graveyard” can also refer to found objects only figuratively buried, i.e. hidden from the public eye. When I asked people about the “Unusual Cemetery Objects,” they’d found, I did get some unexpected responses. While people certainly photograph odd-looking monuments and casket vaults, they typically don’t photograph the surprising things they come upon, like homeless people or nude model shoots (both of which are fairly common).

Here is a list of a few things people posted on my Facebook Group page, “Unusual Cemetery Objects:”
  •          stack of blankets and a comforter in a bricked in plot (homeless people apparently camped there)
  •          bullet holes in ceramic death portraits
  •          helium balloons tied to headstones in Scotland
  •         a dead body … came across police investigating the body of a dead prostitute
  •          a music video shoot with model and fog machine  [popular with the Goth set – ed.]
  •         a casket key         skeleton gloves in a trash can
  •         a headstone where a local serial killer scratched his name on the back
  •         grass that won’t grow on a plot
  •          the top of a skull in a pit in Pere Lachaise
  •         goat’s head
  •          Someone ELSE putting flowers on YOUR loved one’s grave!
That last one might just be the most unnerving! Which goes to show that there’s a world of life in cemeteries that we don’t normally see.

Headstones appear inside fallen tree!
When I read one person’s comment about the skull at Pere Lachaise, I was reminded of the human teeth I found in the Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans. I scooped up a handful of the gravelly walkway material because I thought it looked like broken up seashells, which it was, mostly, but there were also a half dozen teeth in my hand! (Once you learn about the above-ground burial techniques common in the area, you realize this is not unusual. But still ….)

Stuffed lynx (or perhaps an ocelot?) with garden furniture inside mausoleum!
Dead fox, Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Phila.
I’ve seen animals in cemeteries, live and dead. And bones. Bones are a strange thing to find in a graveyard, which is kind of funny and ironic when you think about it. I once found a pile of animal bones in the shape of the skeletons of the animals, probably wild dogs. They laid there along with three skulls of roughly the same size. They either fought each other to the death or this was the ancient wild pit bull burial ground.

Who knows what evil lurks?
One of the oddest things I ever saw in a graveyard was a freshly-dug, two-foot-square cement-filled hole, with a dog's footprints in the cement! This was among other graves in an abandoned cemetery. Kind of reminded me of an old, hand-painted plywood sign that used to be on the fence at Evergreen Cemetery in Camden, New Jersey, which said, "No unauthorized burials permitted."

But really, what’s the worst possible thing you can find in a graveyard? Yeah, the hearts in a jar was pretty gruesome, but compared to the horrible things living people do to each other, it’s nothing.


Thanks to Angela Dellutri for the use of her Snake Door Handle photograph.


  1. I'm friends with the sexton of our oldest cemetery here...and plan to ask him what he has seen in his 20 years there. Interesting!

  2. I'm 55 and 3 years ago I was at my Aunt's burial site after funeral and after gravesite ceremony, the men that began to shovel piled dirt the 1st shoveled dirt scooped had a snake crawl out and a nest of yellow jackets come out. One man (her Son-in-law) was very allergic to the yellow jackets and had to run from the angry, stirred up nest, as did some other public members. I've been to many burial sites as ceremony was being finished and a 1st occurance for me and many others. This Aunt had displayed evil and hateful behavior, plus abuse to her children, my siblings & I and cousins. It was creepy and perplexing. Have you ever heard an experience like this? Thank you.

  3. I never believe this will happen to me Dr. Oseiboh restored my life back to me,i had a curse placed on me by someone with jealousy,that make everybody in my neighborhood hate me from the heart my business got down, Dr. Oseiboh canceled and destroyed the voodoo spell curse placed on me and returned it to the person who did it to me,since then everything about my life is working perfectly my business is moving bigger everyday. Email him now for your own help. via email add him on whatsapp line or call +2347017565415. he can help with . LOVE SPELL TO GET YOUR EX BACK ,LOTTERY SPELL,PREGNANCY SPELL, DIVORCE SPELL,STOP COURT CASE AND WIN ANY COURT PROBLEM,DEATH SPELL,BUSINESS SPELL, MONEY SPELL, AND MANY MORE YOU MAY NEED

  4. My Husband and I have been together for 3years, we started having issues and we both broke up this years, after our fight over his cheating habits which they all say it's not their fault but I was the one getting hurt for it . I was upset over the whole issue that I had to call for the separation but I felt really bad. The separation really had effects on my daughter who had to live away from her father that I had to think of a way to settle things out and find solution to my husband's awkward behaviour. I found out about a spell caster called Dr Adoda on this link ( ) who helped me with the problem to make my spouse come back to me and make him stop cheating. Soon, Richard came back to me begging at Sicily where I stayed after our divorce and I told him he has to show me he has changed for me to believe him. He came back twice after that day to Sicily begging me to have him back. Its been 2 months now since my husband came back to me and we have been living together since that day. I believe this man can also help you too in getting your Ex lover back. also you can call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348112825421.

  5. My husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promised never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. Thank you Dr OSELUMEN  for saving my broken Marriage. Dr. OSELUMEN is the best online spell caster that is powerful and genuine. Email him today. Email him:   or Call or text him on WhatsApp: +2348054265852  .. .......    He can also perform the following spell below 1. Lottery spell ......2 Good luck spell........3. Spell to win case in court.......4. pregnancy spell  ........5. Death spell....

  6. i will never ever in my life stop telling the whole entire world the great Job Dr. Abolo whose contact details is did for me by making my relationship the best and the perfect one i wished for with his powerful love spell that works beyond human oh my goodness his spells is so effective and secondly there is know side effect and most importantly he is very legit what ever he says that is what he dose. now this was how meant with him that change my love life all of a sudden. I saw a comment here a few weeks ago about Dr Abolo and i decided to contact him as instructed, thanks to this man for bringing joy to me as wished for. i followed instructions which he gave in other to get my lover back who left me and the kids for 3years now, but thanks to Dr Abolo because they are back to me now for good and we are happy together. please do contact him for help too if in relationship problem via email at: ( ) And testify for yourself.

  7. İzmir ilinde escort arayanlar için izmir escort:

    izmir escort

    izmir escort

    izmir escort

    izmir escort

    izmir escort

    izmir escort

    izmir escort

    izmir escort

    Ankara ilinde escort arıyorsanız tıklayın ve kalitenin farkını yaşayın:

    ankara escort

  8. Kaliteli escort bayanlarla tanışma fırsatı yakalamak için tıkla: ankara escort - ankara escort - ankara escort - izmir escort - ankara escort - ankara escort - ankara escort - ankara escort - ankara escort

  9. Using herbal medicine is the best decision you can take, its natural and the best treatment you can offer for any health problem. I totally got rid of my systematic lupus and type 2 diabetes, with the herbal medicine I ordered from Dr Aziza, I am really glad I did, reach him via email:

  10. Hello everyone, I am Mia. from Oklahoma USA, I want to use this medium to appreciate Dr Ogedegbe the great black magic spell caster for the successful death spells he cast on someone for me. I contacted him when my husband left me for another woman who uses witchcraft power to take my husband. I was desperately in need of help when I found his contacts online about his genuine powers. I told him my situation and how I wanted the bitch who took my husband gone. He told me not to worry. He cast the death spells ritual on her and the bitch died in her sleep within 24hours. Now my husband  is back home and we are living happily. Thank you so much Dr Ogedegbe, You are so real and true. Below are his contacts in case you want to contact him via email or Call/WhatsApp:  +2348109374702....
    he also render the following services.....LOVE SPELL....LOTTERY SPELL....PROMOTION SPELL...etc..   

  11. powerful herbal healer called Dr. voodoo who use his natural herbs to cure
    my HIV disease I suffered from 5years, but now I am a happy woman and i am
    free from this disease that has been problem to my living, after using Dr.
    voodoo herbal medicine within 1week i was diagnose negative, I will
    recommend Dr. voodoo to everyone reading this article because this herbal
    healer is capable to heal anything below.

    1. Diabetes
    2. HERPES 1/2
    3. CANCER
    4. Lymphoma disease
    5. Conceived a child
    6. Fibroid

    Email Dr voodoo at: add Dr. voodoo on
    whatsApp: +2348140120719