When anyone mentions graveyards the first thing you think of is Ghosts. My great uncle was a gravedigger and lived in a caretaker’s cottage at the back of the graveyard for free. Living there for free was the only way the town, that was over the graveyard could get anyone to stay there to keep teenagers from vandalizing it. My Uncle never married and was a loner, so this job was perfect for him.
Anytime anyone would ask him how he liked his job his comment was, “It’s a dead-end job, but someone has to do it,” followed with a crooked smile that he was known for. When someone asked him once, was he scared to work there with all the dead people and ghosts he’d say, “I have plenty to talk to and no one ever disagrees with me,” followed by another crooked smile.
Some say Uncle was a little touched, and could always see the best in everyone, including the dead or how else could someone stay there by himself. Many say he was seen walking around the graveyard at night talking to himself. One evening a group of teenagers waited until they saw the lights go off in Uncle’s cottage and started knocking tombstones over and throwing flowers placed on loved one’s graves when the teenagers saw the lights come on in the cottage and ducked behind tombstones hiding from Uncle. Uncle started walking toward the tombstones that were knocked over and the teenagers heard him let out a horrible cry…NOOOOOO!!! When the kids heard Uncle’s scream, they stood up to run, but they couldn’t. Something had ahold of their ankles and all they could see was boney fingers!
When Uncle let out the second scream the boney fingers gripped tighter on their ankles and that’s when the teenagers started to scream. When Uncle saw them and saw the boney fingers wrapped around their ankles, he gave the teenagers a crooked smile. He gave them a tongue lashing about how disrespectful they were by what they had done and he was going to let them go this time, but if they ever showed their faces they would never leave the graveyard the next time and no one would ever find them. He then said, “release” and all the boney fingers let go. The teenagers ran out of the graveyard screaming and the next morning everyone in town was talking about the incident.
When the constable came and questioned uncle, he gave the crooked grin and said the kids were knocking over the tombstones and he yelled for them to leave and that was that! Uncle said the kids were so scared that some vines must’ve got tangled around their ankles and their imagination went into overdrive! The constable laughed and said, kids and their imaginations are something else. He apologized to have bothered Uncle and left. Uncle looked over the graveyard and gave the crooked grin and said, “You guys better behave yourself.”
For years no one had to worry about vandalism in the graveyard after the stories the teenagers told and kept stretching more each time, they told it. When Uncle had to spend a week in the hospital for pneumonia another groundskeeper filled in and when Uncle returned the replacement groundskeeper told Uncle never to get sick again because he would never fill in again, that this was the most haunted place he had ever seen. The noises at night were deafening, but when he would go out and shine his flashlight there was nothing there. Uncle just smiled the crooked grin and told him he was just imagining things.
After the replacement groundskeeper left Uncle he turned around and smiled the crooked grin and said, one day I’ll be here with you guys and someone else will be watching over all of us and you have to behave yourself or the graveyard will be deserted and no one will take care of us. The ground seemed to shake and then it calmed down.
Years later Uncle joined the graves, and no one ever heard or seen anything out of the abnormal after Uncle joined the spirits. Some say Uncle keeps them in line and they listen to him since he took such good care of them while he was living and, he would talk to them and became their friend while he was living. Maybe Uncle wasn’t touched, just had the special ability to help souls who couldn’t cross peacefully.