Tales From The Crypt

I originally published this last fall, but as Halloween is drawing near, I thought I would share it with you again. If you’re interested in how I spun this activity for my kids or in more Halloween themed activities check out the link below to a previous blog post on my other site: The-Thrifty-mom.com.


Some of you may remember the creepy circa 90’s TV show hosted by one of Jim Henson’s marvelous puppet creations- The Crypt Keeper. In case you weren’t alive yet check out this link for a hilarious photo of the Muppet. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096708/

What I have compiled here is NOT a bunch of creepy stories with laughably bad 90’s special effects. What I HAVE compiled is a bunch of photos of interesting graves that caught my eye during our yearly ‘grave yard’ walk coupled with whatever information I was able to locate on the actual lives of the people buried in them. Kind of an interesting read as we near Halloween night. Enjoy!

Some of the graves tell a very sad story.

Some of the graves will never tell their stories again.

Robert here is patiently awaiting his wife, Joyce. Good thing he has man’s best friend to keep him company. Here is the link to Robert’s obituary https://legcy.co/3aLYnkw

Harry Ellis here was a tough one. Outside of a few lines about what plot and cemetery he is buried in I can’t find any other info. I did find a neat story about Harry Ellis Wooldridge, an English musician (see link) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Ellis_Wooldridge. This is definitely not the same man as the birth and death dates do not match, but a neat story all the same.

Katherine Sabo was born in Latvia as Julia Gobil and you can read a bit about her here https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14802313/katherine-julia-sabo her husband Joseph, went by Paul and was WWII veteran (thank you for your service), a plumber, and a ‘moose’ member . You can read more about him and see some photos of him and Katherine at this link https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14802304/joseph-paul-sabo .

Were Loie and Hal couch potatoes? Perhaps not, I think more than likely this grave may be an example of a ‘mourning chair’ circa the 19th century. In the absence of benches in cemeteries during this time period considerate families had the grave stones of their loved ones fashioned into chairs and couches so that overwhelmed mourners had a place to recover. You can read more about it at this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil%27s_Chair_(urban_legend) As the practice went out of fashion, people forgot the original purpose of the ‘chairs’ and local youths re-named them ‘ Devil’s chair’s’.

These graves were neat to find and unlike anything else in the entire cemetery. According to the article that I have linked here https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/why-gravestones-are-shaped-like-tree-stumps ‘The tree-stump stones were part of a movement to turn the focus of death back to life…’ Why did we ever abandon this practice? Seems like a lovely way to visualize the concept of death being a natural part of life.

This memorial is difficult to read. I believe the name reads Christian Johnson and the dates are 1957-1993. I cannot find any info on this person, but I also cannot be sure I have the correct name and dates. Just one more stone with a story it cannot tell.

The only thing I could still make out on this grave is the shape of an angel. The angel is used to symbolize many things such as grief, unexpected death, devotion to God, the soul ascending to heaven, innocence, innocence of child hood, and immortality (of the soul). You can read more on the history and symbolism of angels on grave sites at the following two links: https://www.milanomonuments.com/blog/what-is-the-significance-of-an-angel-headstone-or-memorial https://cemeteryinsightsandbeyond.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/cemetery-angels-history-symbolism-and-lore/

This is the tallest of the graves we discovered on our walk. It simply contains the name Fargo on it. According to the website I have linked here https://gravelyspeaking.com/2012/09/10/the-obelisk/ ‘The obelisk is said to represent a single ray of sunlight, petrified from sunlight into stone.  It was thought that the Egyptian sun god Ra lived within the obelisks.’ In this case, however, I believe it signifies that this individual had preformed military service. 

This grave features, very clearly, the images of a crown, a cross, and open gates. According to the website ‘Gravely Speaking’ https://gravelyspeaking.com/2014/05/18/crown-and-open-gates/

‘The open gates, which are central to the Last Judgment, have above the gates a crown.

The gates represent a passageway, the gates are the portal for saved souls to make their passage from the Earthly realm to Heaven upon Christ’s return.

The crown is a symbol of glory and reward and victory over death.  The reward comes after life and the hard-fought battle on Earth against the wages of sin and the temptations of the flesh.  The reward awaits in Heaven where the victor will receive a crown of victory.  The crown also represents the sovereign authority of the Lord.’

Unfortunately, I can’t find any info on whom Harry Nilson was.

This grave caught my eye with its unique symbols. I am assuming that the semi-truck pictured above Donald meant he was a truck driver or a teamster. The rooster above Maureen sometimes symbolizes awakening (I’m guessing spiritual awakening rather than actual getting up in the morning awakening so perhaps she was involved in the church or was a very spiritual person).

You can read Mary Margaret’s obituary here https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/dailyherald/name/mary-kaman-obituary?id=30208860. She was a homemaker and lived 88 years. Her husband Frank worked for Skil (the tool company perhaps?). It is bittersweet to see that she did not have to wait long for him to accompany her into the afterlife.

You would think there would be tons of information on the only mausoleum in the grave yard, but all I could ‘dig up’ was that Otto Nottolini was originally born in Italy (the last name kind of gives it away). I would imagine they were wealthy based in the size and amount of granite pictured here.

Alas, I cannot find a beautiful story to go with the beautiful picture I took of this grave at sunset. I can find some information of Erik and Anna Lundin, but none of the birth/death dates match. I feel that if I had more time to go and hunt through the library’s collection of microfiche I may be able to find more info on these older tombstones. I do want to point out that Erik only has one date listed. At first I though it meant that he had not died yet, but that would make him around 172 years old! Just another ‘grave mystery’.

Now Frank’s grave tells us significantly more information. He clearly lived a career of military service (again, thank you). I was able to find his obituary which you can read here https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/chicagotribune/name/frank-whiting-obituary?id=2505600

Hopefully you were as entertained as I was in reading these small tidbits about lives that have been lived and some of the forgotten ways we have chosen to memorialize them. If you have any further information about the people mentioned in these stories, please feel free to leave it in the comments section. Happy Halloween!





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