Grave robbing and other deep subjects

UPI was absolutely in love with the strange, the creepy and the absurd. The odder the story, the more they wanted to go after it. The company believed that readers were fascinated by the peculiar, and I have to say that I saw plenty of evidence that they were right. So if I heard about some story that was macabre or unusual, I went after it. This story, about grave robbing, is an example.

By ARTHUR FREDERICK

NORWAY, Maine (UPI) – Oxford County Sheriff Alton Howe said Monday persons who robbed three graves in (the town of) Sweden may have been after skulls to sell to an out-of-state cult.

Howe said three graves were opened at the Black Mountain Cemetery more than a week ago. Other counties have also reported the opening of graves, most of them more than 100 years old.

“We found out that a cult out-of-state is paying more than $100 for skulls,” Howe said. ”Whether or not this is it, or some other stupid thing, I don’t know.”

The three graves, one of a woman and two of men, were dug up more than a week ago. The holes were six feet deep, five feet long, and two feet wide. Howe said the skulls appeared to be missing from each grave, but said the remains were in such condition it was hard to tell what, if anything, had been taken.

“We found a set of false teeth in one and a few small bones and fragments of fabric and hair in the others,” he said.

Most of the bones, Howe said, appeared to be from a foot. Another bone, which appeared to be a thigh bone, also was found.

The grave robberies were not the first in the state in recent months. Another grave was opened at the Black Mountain Cemetery last year, and other grave openings have been reported in Cornish, Waterboro and Fryeburg.

In addition, there was a twist to the previous grave opening at the Black Mountain Cemetery.

“The peculiar part was that one of the new grave openings was alongside the one that had been previously dug up,” According to Sweden Civil Defense Director Donald Laffin. “Whoever did that one filled the grave back in.”

“All we found were some fragments of clothing and pieces of the casket.”

In Waterboro, Leland Swett knew about the grave openings in that town because the robbers had dug up the resting places of some of his relatives.

The diggings there took place in the Swett Cemetery, a private burial plot on Ossipee Mountain.

“One of the graves was my great grandmother,” Swett said. “They were all relatives,. There’s three generations buried there, if not four.”

It wasn’t known if anything was taken from the graves, because the local road commissioner filled the graves back in.

Howe isn’t sure what the diggers were after if it wasn’t the skulls.

“None of them were war veterans, so there were probably no medals,” he said. “And I doubt if it is a matter of finding jewelry, so we are considering the possibility of occult practices.”

“The persons responsible worked hard for whatever they were after.”

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