Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tales from Edwardsburg - The Pig Farmer and the Crypt

A stock photo of an old crypt.

Back behind a house I once lived in was an old field. And in that old field were my fort, a field, a creek, and a well-worn trail winding through the woods into the cemetery.  This old cemetery sat on high ground, with steep slopes on its edges worn by erosion and curious kids.  The cemetery introduced itself to travelers on this particular trail by presenting a mysterious crypt, guarded by rusty, heavy metal doors that creaked when opened.   I remember the first time I discovered that crypt.  With only the light of the sun shining through the cracked doorway, I peered inside.  There were steel beams arranged in racks, a dirt floor, and ceiling and walls dotted with inscriptions from previous explorers.  I gathered my courage and entered, mesmerized by what I was sure was the archaeological discovery of the century.  The smell of cool damp soil and aging metal filled my nostrils.  What was this place?  The signatures on the walls and ceiling dated back over 50 years.  I was in heaven.

It was during this time my middle sister was dating the son of a pig farmer, let’s call him Bobby B.  Bobby B. had red hair, freckles, was a bit stocky, and wore bib overalls as standard garb.  He was also what one might call full of machismo. 

One day I decided to assist Bobby B. in getting in touch with his feminine side.  I told him of this dark, scary crypt that I had discovered but was too afraid to enter.  Would he go and protect me?  “Of course”, he said in a manly sort of way.  The date was set for that Friday night. In the dark, of course.

Friday afternoon I hopped on my bike and rode to the town’s only grocery store to spend my Tastee Freeze earnings on several packages of raw liver and fishing line.  I then road back across town to my street, and peddled my bike into the cemetery using the proper entrance.  I ditched my bike next to the old tombstone with the angel on top, and slid down the hill to the entrance of the crypt.  Carefully I removed the liver from its packaging and threaded several strands of fishing line through the juiciest pieces.  Slowly and deliberately I began to make my way around the crypt, strategically placing chunks of cold organ on ledges where one would be mostly likely to place an unsuspecting hand.  I hung liver d├ęcor in areas sure to draw attention.  It was a masterpiece.

Later that night, me, Bobby B., my sister, and a few other friends gathered at our home on Hamilton Street, readying ourselves for the trip.  Flashlights? Check.  Candy bars? Check. Cans of pop? Check.  “Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked the group, fabulously feigning fright.  Bobby B. assured us there was nothing to fear as long as he was with us.

We started down the trail, five lanky teens and Bobby B., with beams of light bouncing off tall grasses and trees.  “Are you guys sure you want to do this?” I again asked, this time exuding so much fear I almost had myself convinced.  “Aw come on you chickens!” said the pig farmer’s son.  “Only if you go first Bobby B.” I said.   So he did.

Old green flower pots with faded plastic flowers began to appear, signaling that we were getting close to the crypt.  Bobby B. began to slow.  “What’s the matter Bobby B.?” I asked?  “Nothing!” he sort of bravely shouted.  “It’s in there, behind that old rusty door” I said.  “What was this place for?” someone asked.  “I was told this is where they stored dead bodies in the winter, when the ground was too frozen to dig.  That is why there are racks in there, they piled up the caskets all the way to the ceiling” I informed them.  Bobby B.’s expression began to change. Was that worry?  Fear?

“Go on Bobby B., you go in first”.

Bobby B. slowly opened the door, its rusty hinges adding to the ambience of the evening.  He entered the musty room and began to make his way around the crypt, the others followed.  Except me.  Soon I heard a scream, no a squeal, no maybe it was best described as a squeam.  Then, a great commotion ensued and Bobby B. burst through the doorway of the old crypt screaming better than a girl.  I never knew someone could run so fast in bib overalls.  I laughed in hysterics as Bobby B. disappeared down the trail, still emitting sounds of great terror.  Close behind were the rest of kids.  Me?  I sat down and laughed so hard I cried.

Bobby B. never dated my sister again. I hope she forgives me.


  1. Awesome story! I remember that old crypt on the west end of the cemetery. I never went in it. Of all things I was afraid was the roof collapsing on me. I could see you doing this prank to someone. THANK YOU for bring back some old childhood memories. May peace follow throughout life adventures. Ladd

  2. Just read this to mom and she got a chuckle out of it! Love you Barb. Kathee Barton