As long as you're not employed in a cemetery like the one in Pet Sematary, the job can be pretty practical. You earn a decent salary, learn how to maintain plots, and work a somewhat flexible schedule. Plus, they often have a great deal of history, especially if they were built hundreds of years ago.
Indeed, the industry has changed significantly since the days when the world feared cholera and other epidemics. For instance, coffin makers used to take precautions against accidental burials, and safety coffins contained bells people could ring if they woke up underground. If you believe stories from cemetery workers, however, it isn't always a person stirring beneath the dirt.
True stories from cemetery groundskeepers mention strange objects left on graves, creepy sightings, and unexplained events that still haunt employees. Strange occurrences in cemeteries don't always lead to reanimated beings and possessed children, but they can be just as frightening. For another creepy cemetery story, don't miss the 2019 adaptation Pet Sematary in theaters on April 5, 2019.
From Redditor /u/Nickbotic:
I’ve had a number of odd experiences with our crematorium. One such instance was in 2012, following a [service] for a very large man, roughly 375 pounds. I got the retort (cremation chamber) preheated while my wife set up a movie to watch while the [man] was cremated. I used the elevating platform and then slid [him] in, closing the door to the retort afterwards and going to sit down.
About five minutes after I’d shut the door to the retort we heard a thump. Neither of us paid it much mind but a few moments later there was another, and then another. I stood up, worried that the man may have had a pacemaker still [inside him], however unlikely, as he had had his organs removed. The thumping and thudding got more hurried. We looked through the front window of the retort and couldn’t believe what we were seeing.
The [man] inside was flailing about, both of [his] arms and legs were bouncing around like he was in extreme pain. Now, it isn’t odd to see parts move while [someone] is being cremated - as the limbs are broken down, they will often contract as muscles and tendons snap - but this was most decidedly not that. The man’s fingers were balled up in fists and were banging against the windows, and his legs seemed to be kicking downward, as if to get out. The man’s mouth opened and first groans began emanating from within, then screams...
There was no way, absolutely no way whatsoever, that he could still have been alive. But for about 20 seconds after we'd gone to up to the retort, the [man] inside the cremation chamber screamed and flailed his arms and legs about.
From Redditor /u/Nickbotic:
My family has owned [a cemetery] for nearly five generations, and I’ve been working there since I was 12... The house that my family built on the property is about 30 yards back from the main office.
One night when they were kids, my grandpa and uncle were up late, my uncle happened to look out their window and swore to my grandpa that he’d seen someone walk behind one of the trees. The lamppost illuminated the very first handful of plots and headstones on the other side of the road, but at that point, they were undisturbed.
My grandpa and uncle stood at their window for a little while, with my grandpa ultimately teasing my uncle for being scared. However, when they woke up the next morning, the police were there. In the hours between when they looked out the window and saw the burial plots undisturbed (about 4 am) and the time they noticed the commotion (about 7 am), seven of the plots had been dug up. The headstones were stacked very deliberately, like a house of cards, and behind them the caskets were atop one another, the first one laying flat, the next one straight up, then flat, straight up, flat, straight up, with the final one flat. With basic casket dimensions taken into account, that’s nearly 30 feet high.
I’m sure you can imagine, even with machinery in the present day, that would take at least a little bit of time to accomplish. But nope, back in the 1950s, this was somehow done in a span of less than 180 minutes, with no one that lived in the house able to hear it going on.
From Redditor /u/mine_that_bird:
Dave is the oldest of the workers and has been here forever. I ask him, "Hey Dave, have you ever experienced anything creepy here" Dave replies:
"Back in the 80s I began working here with Old Frank. One afternoon we had a funeral for a child [whose] last name was kinda odd and sticks with you: Eggleton. We lowered the casket without a hitch, his family was gone, it was just about eight of us. We started lowering the vault cover that his family bought and my rope surprisingly snapped, my side came crashing down and took out the bottom right of the casket... I look down there and there the kid was, all I saw was his leg... Black pants, creamy white shoes. I had to go sit down after that while they fixed the cover. I was sitting literally five feet from the guys on a bench when I felt a hand on my shoulder, I looked over and it was a young man. He had a watering can [and was in] an all blue suit, I figured he was going to water flowers at another grave or something. He calmly chuckles, 'You're definitely not the first person to do that, don't worry about it... We all end up buried.' I laughed with him and watched him walk over to another grave under a maple tree and started watering the flowers at the stone. I walked over to check on the guys and just making sure - because I do believe in ghosts - [ask], 'Hey Frank is that guy actually there?'
Frank responds, 'That's not funny, of course he's there.'
I laugh but the next time we look over, he's gone. I've never seen Old Frank so startled in his life. He tells me, 'That grave is a single, and hasn't been dug yet, there's not suppose to be a tombstone.'
[Old Frank] pulls me to the side and tells me to keep it between us. I walk around 10 paces to the [grave site] and my jaw drops. There's not a thing there. No tombstone, no nothing."
A few years go by and [Dave passes away]. His burial was in an older section that rarely has burials anymore. We were lowering him and an innocent part-time kid couldn't bear the weight of the vault cover and dropped it. We finished it and I walked down to talk to [the kid] telling him not to worry, it happens to everyone. I brought a pail of water to fill up next to the bench so I can water the sad lonely flower pot someone brought for [Dave]. I put my hand on [the kid's] shoulder and joked while filling it up, I started walking up the hill and I noticed a grave with a name I couldn't forget, "Eggleton."
I had tunnel vision right to Dave's grave and up to the maple tree it was under. I'm in shock and I look all over my body while I'm wearing a navy blue suit. I immediately ran to the records cabinet to check to see when this grave site was bought by Dave... I went through pages and pages of years of binders filled with the records of purchases and who's where.
Dave nor his family never purchased the grave. No one has ever purchased that grave.
From Redditor /u/Sanman79:
I was originally hired because the cemetery had a period of time where they experienced some... people [sneaking] in to perform rituals. I was 21 years old, doing this as a side job, with [nothing to protect myself]. I was given a barcode scanner and was told to drive through the entire cemetery every hour or so to patrol, and to scan each of the pre-posted barcodes to prove I was actually doing it. Now this cemetery was massive. Pretty much broken into three parts, the newer part, the historic part and the famous part where celebrities are buried.
I did this routine once and never did it again, going so far as to break the barcode scanner so I didn't have to do it. While I was driving, it was pitch black. Coming around a long curved road, my headlights picked up what I could've sworn were a pair of legs walking across the path, but only up to the knees. Shoes, pants, knees then absolutely nothing! I stopped in the road and just watched this pair of legs... cross 10 feet in front me. I put the car in reverse, did what felt like the longest K turn of my life, and noped it straight back to the parking lot.