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Crazy Cemetery Stories: Who is Down There?

Updated on September 20, 2013

What on earth is down there?

A lot of things can go in to (and out of) a grave before the casket. Some of them are supposed to be in there (graveliner, grave digger). Some are not wanted, but expected, and removed before you arrive (water, a bit of dirt that fell in).
Some things are never meant to find their way into a grave, yet they do. These little literary bits are about those odd things that fell into the oddest of places….

Francine the frog knows better then to go jumping into holes!
Francine the frog knows better then to go jumping into holes! | Source

For The Love of Frogs

The weird thing about this story is not what was getting into the graves; it is the response of this particular cemetery visitor.

Many of the headstones in this cemetery include a bronze flower vase. The design allows the vase to be lowered into a plastic tube when not in use. Unfortunately vases go missing due to theft or damage, leaving a plastic-lined hole where the vase is supposed to rest.

So there is a hole about 3 inches in diameter and maybe a foot deep in the headstone. Not a huge deal in cases where the grave is no longer visited. Just leave it. It isn’t going to bother anyone.

But what about the dead frogs?!

Yes. That is right. Something just had to be done about the dead frogs! This was the demand of one very peculiar woman. I knew her personally. She visited the cemetery frequently. A very nice lady, though a bit on the odd side. Hey, we all have our quirks. She happened to notice that there were dead frogs here and there in the empty vase holes.

I have a feeling the frogs were falling in as they were hopping around and couldn’t get back out. Poor little guys were perishing at the bottom of their mini-grave. This woman was so distraught over what she viewed as the senseless death of frog upon frog that she made frequent reports to the office and grounds crew. She even contacted the director personally. Something had to be done to save the frogs!

A happy ending for the frogs!
A happy ending for the frogs! | Source
Maybe Jim should be downgraded to the push mower until he brushes up on his driving skills.
Maybe Jim should be downgraded to the push mower until he brushes up on his driving skills. | Source

I love frogs. I hate the negative impact of humans on their environment. I felt awful about these little froggies. But what was I supposed to do? It is much like the bugs and frogs and whatnot that swimming pool owners deal with all summer long. It happens. Humans are just bad for nature.

None of the victims were rare species. There weren’t piles of dead frogs and toads mounding up. There were still plenty of green fellows hopping around the ponds. From a scientific perspective, things seemed ok. From her frog-loving side this was a crisis! How could we let this happen?! What kind of heartless place was this?!

What did I do? Nothing. What did the director do? Nothing. We patently listened, over and over. We expressed our concern and explained that we really did not have the resources to save the frogs. We could barely keep the grass mowed!

Lucky frogs! Due to events completely unrelated to frog deaths, the state provided funds to cap all of the holes from missing vases. Our slimy friends were safe. The frog lady was free to take up a new cause. Did you think she wouldn’t?

Mow the ... Man Down!

This story is about “Jim” Jim hates when anyone shares this. I know this by the fantastic red color he turned every time the incident was brought up. Did that stop anyone? Heck no! And now I am sharing it with you….

How do you mow a 90 acre cemetery? Riding mowers of course. Three at a time. And it still takes days. That is unless the guys mowing decide to act like it is the Indy 500 of lawn mowing! Note: Faster is not always better. Best to slow down and pay attention.

I do not know if speed was a factor in this incident. I have a feeling it was more operator error (incompetence really).

Jim was mowing as he has done hundreds of times before. He was well aware of the things to avoid: flowers, benches, people, pets, open graves, etc. Leave it to Jim to hit one of them that day. Only thing I can figure is that he was being lazy. He was not the brightest or the hardest working. That day, for reasons known only to him, Jim drove a little too close to a grave opening. Next thing he knew, Jim was in the bottom of a grave dazed, thankfully uninjured.

There were some ladies visiting a grave nearby and they heroically ran to Jim’s rescue! Or not. They just looked down, saw that he seemed ok, muttered something, and left. Seriously. Not even an offer to go get help. They left him to fend for himself! Serves him right really. Open graves are pretty darn noticeable.

Lucky for Jim he had a cell phone and he contacted the Super for help. Jim and the mower both ended up fine. Jim’s ego, on the other hand, was seriously bruised. And with good reason. The guy drove a lawn mower into a grave! What a moron! Boy do I wish someone had it on video!

Rock City Falls, NY
Rock City Falls, NY | Source

What a Stinker!

Never in a million years did I think I’d find myself “talking shop” with a funeral director in Virginia. I did. Somehow we got talking about finding weird stuff in graves. Maybe it was sparked by Jim’s story above.

I bet it was easy to extract a groundskeeper and mower from the bottom of the grave. There is plenty of heave equipment on hand at a large cemetery. These rural places though, they have lifted out some interesting, and less cooperative, sorts of things. Like what, you ask? How about a cow?!

In rural Virginia there are farms. With cows. Some of these farms are near cemeteries. Sometimes cows get out and go wandering. When they wander in cemeteries, sometimes they wander right down to the bottom of a grave! Poor Bessie! I have not witnessed the extraction of a cow from a grave, but it sounds like a tricky maneuver. At least they are domesticated and it isn’t a bull. From what I was told they cooperate. And surprisingly most make it out ok. Thank goodness! Not so much for the wild critters.

One critter in particular tends to give them a very unwelcome surprise. The least welcome of the unwelcome visitors are the skunks. Mr. Stinky must be moseying along in search of grubs and other delectables, paying more attention to what to eat than where he is going. One false step and plop!

Extracting a skunk from a giant hole is tricky. This is due to that wonderful defense mechanism bestowed on them by nature. Skunks are gentle, only spraying that stink when threatened. They prefer to “tuck tail and run” rather than raise tail and spray. Unfortunately a grave doesn’t give much opportunity to run. So hopping in there to get Stinky will result in more than the skunk stinking!

I wonder if my inbred kitty would have the sense to stay out of the graves. Knowing him there is a good chance he would jump in after a critter!
I wonder if my inbred kitty would have the sense to stay out of the graves. Knowing him there is a good chance he would jump in after a critter! | Source

Lucky for the skunks they can be trapped and lifted out - if they cooperate and go into the trap. Skunks that are uncooperative, injured, or sick aren’t so lucky. They are humanely dispatched, if you know what I mean.

I am absolutely against harming any animal if it is not 100% necessary. I have smelt the stink of a fresh skunk spray. One of my cats repeatedly tangled with the stinkers. The stench is enough to make your eyes water and your stomach turn, at the least. Big kitty promptly got a long bath in a homemade concoction. Still the odor lingered. And forget about the house. Even that stunk for days! Thank goodness they invented febreeze!

Funerals are unpleasant enough for most of us. Adding that sort of stench would not help matters. A smelly service is just not an option and last I checked febreeze doesn’t come in the super-tanker-truck-size. I wonder what the Frog Lady would have to say about the skunks? Maybe a proposal to put little ladders in the graves to let the animals out? Hmmm....

I hope you enjoyed these little nutty nuggets.

When you are laying old uncle Joe down into his final resting place, or visiting Great-grandma Betty, now you might just wonder.... are they first one to go in there??


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    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Pamela - thanks for stopping by. I am glad you like my stories. when you think of working at a cemetery it seems like it would be such a quiet job. it is just the opposite. who knew?!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I really enjoyed your cemetery stories, and it never occurred to me what the everyday problems of running a cemetery might entail, which obviously can be a little tricky. Overall, this was really funny and interesting hub. Voted up!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Docmo - Thank you very much for the encouragement. "effortless writing"? Not quite, though it is enjoyable. I am glad it comes off as being so natural. Yes. One of these days it will be in a book thanks to support from friends like you.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      5 years ago from UK

      I do love this series- you SHOULD make a book out of it. The gentle humour, the effortless writing and the truth that is often stranger than fiction - great stuff!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Mike - thanks for giving my cemetery stories a try. I really do enjoy sharing them. You should read the one about the Ashes. That is a doozie! .... thanks a bunch for voting and sharing. :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      5 years ago from London

      Great stories and hub, Dana! Have to admit that it's the first i read so on to catch up with the rest of your series! Voted and shared!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Bob - Goodness! Is it wrong of me to say I am a little jealous. What a sight that must have been. Wish I was there, though I will do without the wetted pants... :)

      So pleased you like my stories. Thanks for sharing yours!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Mhatter99 - My goodness, Martin, you are a pro! I am sure you have seen plenty. It is amazing how it can range from utter despair to outright hilarity. That is life (and death) after all, isn't it?

      Thanks for the visit. It is always a pleasure.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      FlourishAnyway - Oh I bet your uncle has some amazing stories to tell! I used to socialize with a few of the funeral directors - what an odd sort!

      The frog lady really was sweet. A royal pain in the butt, though always nice so I never minded.

      Thanks for the visit and the votes.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      MartieCoetser - so happy to see you!... the cemetery where I worked covered the open graves with plywood. I suppose that is why we never has skunks and whatnot dropping in. I am not sure what the smaller places do, if anything..... I do wonder what the trees and such are "feeding" on. Suppose that is the circle of life....

      It is such a shame that cemeteries have become increasingly unsafe. I would never wander around one at night. Even during the day be sure to lock your car! I know women who have has purses snatched off the seat while they were only a short distance away. Some people have no respect!!!!

      Thank you for the great comment. See you around.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      pstraubie48 - Yeah. Poor Jim. That story never gets old. I find it especially funny that those women just left him there!... thank you for sharing!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Stephanie Henkel - I truly am happy you like these. Having been the one that lived it, I wonder sometimes if my audience will find them as amusing.... It is super tricky to write these and still keep characters anonymous and avoid offending too many people. I have been so pleasantly surprised by the response to them. Thank you so much for sharing your comment!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      cam8510 - Thank you! happy you like them.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Bill - gad to see you! I missed writing these. I have been out of the writing loop for a while and have just started back up..... There are more to come!

    • diogenes profile image


      5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I once saw 4 drunken pall-bearers, the preacher, two guests - all with beers - and the coffin tumble into a hole in Valle Bravo, Mexico. It's the only time I can remember genuinely peeing myself in laughter (we were watching from my rented farm house which backed onto the graveyard).

      You lovely and amusing hum puts a whole new slant on the name "Croakers, doesn't it!?


    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      With 247 funerals under my belt, I've seen my share. Thank you for this.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      I enjoyed this, as my uncle (the black sheep of the family whom I featured in a hub) is a former funeral director. Who knew death could be so funny? I'm glad there are frog advocates out there, bless that eccentric lady's heart. She sounds quite concerned and sweet. Voted up and funny.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      I have seen many trees growing out of that hole meant for a vase. Amazing. Eventually feeding on the remains of a coffin and corpse?

      Why, oh why, can they not cover open graves with a safety net? Or some kind of a fence?

      Interesting and awesome hub! I love strolling through cemeteries. But very dangerous nowadays.... Sick souls ready to cut a throat in order to score a cell phone or purse, could be anywhere, waiting like a spider for its next meal...

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      I love this. Poor Jim.. I do understand why he gets crimson upon the retelling of the escapade. voted up++++ and shared Angels are on the way to you ps

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      5 years ago from USA

      Entertaining and interesting as always, Dana! I love your cemetery stories, and you have a wonderful way of telling them that lets your audience in on the humor of the situation without being disrespectful to your "clients." Keep 'em coming!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Flagstaff, AZ

      Dana, thanks for the crazy stories. Well told and funny.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I've missed these stories, Dana! Great as always....just when you think you have heard of everything, people come up with more surprises. :)

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      tillsontitan - nice to see you here. and so soon! Yes. behind the scene looks at things always interest me. Who knew a cemetery would be my forte! So glad you enjoy these. There will be more to come. Thanks for sharing!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Sunshine625 - Hi Linda! thanks for the quick visit. Don't like cemeteries?! I guess I can understand that. Maybe after reading enough of my stories you will like them. Or not.! :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      I absolutely love your behind-the-scenes hubs and this one is no exception. Great stories that show just how far human nature goes, no matter where it is. Really, frog ladies, poor Jim and skunks in graves! Your sense of humor is incomparable!

      Voted up, useful, funny, and awesome. Shared too so others can laugh.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you Dana for another wonderful edition of your cemetery stories!! I enjoy your tales very much!! I just do not like cemeteries, at all.


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