These Cryptic Tombstone Messages Only Hint At Their Mysterious Backstories

Tombstones are meant to memorialize the dead, and while some can showcase the deceased's sense of humor, others are rather unsettling. Arguably, the most perplexing tombstones are the ones that leave cryptic and ominous messages. Some inscriptions were written by family members, while others were erected decades after the deceased passed.

From the Salem witch trials to a modern-day stone Ouija board, we'll look at what some consider to be the creepiest inscriptions ever etched into a tombstone.

  • One Man Was Crushed By Stones During The Salem Witch Trials

    Nineteen people were executed during the Salem witch trials in early 1691, most of whom were hanged. Giles Corey, however, received a different sentence. During his trial, his torturers tried to make him admit to practicing black magic and being devoted to the devil. They did this by piling rocks on his chest one by one while demanding he confess.

    All his neighbors watched as he was crushed in a pit, only willing to say "more weight" rather than confess to something he had not done. These proved to be his final words before he was pressed to death and was buried in an unmarked grave.

  • A Woman Was 'Murdered By Human Wolves'

    While this tombstone suggests werewolves, the real story is actually far more sad than scary. In 1917, Dr. A.H. Yates faced charges for performing what was then considered a criminal operation that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Katherine Cross.

    The illegal operation was an abortion, which was not only taboo, but incredibly dangerous at the time. The doctor was eventually released and his charges dismissed, and Katherine's parents used her tombstone as a means to have the last word. In 2016, someone stole the headstone, and it's reportedly still missing.

  • An Old West Gunfighter Received His Tombstone Decades After He Died 

    Robert Clay Allison fought on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War, later becoming a rancher and gunfighter. Allison was known for joining lynch mobs and shooting other men in duels, including experienced gunfighters. He once even shot the corpse of a man who had already been hanged from a telegraph pole.

    Rather than dying in a gunfight, a wagon rolled over his head, killing him when he was 46 years old. Allison did not receive a headstone until 1975, nearly 90 years after his death.

  • One Headstone Immortalizes A Tragic Accident

    Ellen Shannon was only 26 when she died as the result of a kerosene lamp explosion. Although these types of explosions were relatively common in 1870, Shannon had reportedly used R.E. Danforth's Non-Explosive Burning Fluid.

    Her family made their anger toward the company known by having her cause of death boldly inscribed on her tombstone. A 12-year-old boy later died after using R.E. Danforth's in 1872.

  • The Tale Behind This 'Baby Monster' Tombstone Is Less Scary Than It Sounds

    Coming across a headstone bearing the word "monster" sounds like something out of a horror film, but the truth behind this marker is sad rather than scary.

    "Monster" was the last name of a family buried in Washington state's Saar Pioneer Cemetery. The baby never reached four months and was apparently never given a name. According to the tombstone, the baby's father died only a year later and was buried with them.

    Some speculate that the headstone could have been placed years after the child's death and that their name had simply been lost to time.

  • An Artistic Gravestone Speaks Of Deep Tragedy

    This unusual gravestone allegedly belonged to a sideshow performer known as Ironfoot Eva. The statue was built by John Ehn and is located at Old Trapper's Lodge in California. Ehn created a number of large statues like Eva's in the 1950s to help promote his motel, so more likely than not, Ironfoot Eva is a product of Ehn's imagination.

    However, Ehn could have based the memorial off of a real person, as many of the statues portray life in the Old West.