Friday, March 22, 2013

The Mummy with the Gray-Green Fungus: A Guest Entry by Rev. Robin Swope

In the late 1970s, a cemetery near Pittsburgh had built a new Mausoleum. It had been promised for years and the salesmen eager to make a lucrative commission had pre-sold crypts long before they were available. So many makeshift cement above ground crypts were quickly built for those who had purchased mausoleum spaces and had passed on before they were built.

When the mausoleum was finished it was the job of the gravediggers to disinter the bodies and place them in their new crypts. It was a disgusting and dirty job, for many of the caskets leaked the liquefied remains of the deceased. To make matters worse for the gravediggers, every body had to be physically identified by a mortician who had originally embalmed the victim and note clothing or jewelry to make sure the corpse in the casket was the person named on the make shift crypt.

The supervisor remembered each decaying face, for it was burned in his memory but one stood out. Most of the bodies had long since dried up and become desiccated. If any flesh was left, it was almost tanned leather hanging off the bony skeleton. Some looked as if they were made out of jello as the corpse had decomposed into a liquid goo. But one was odd.

When they opened the coffin of the old man it was like he had just been laid to rest, except for one disturbing and obvious fact. He was covered with a furry grey-green fungus. All his flesh had been eaten by the fungus, but it held the shape of his face so well it shocked the superintendent and the undertaker. Except for the odd color and the fleecelike look of his skin, he looked like he might just open his eyes or mouth at any moment.

They quickly got over the initial shock and noted that he was indeed who he was supposed to be, and put the coffin in the second level in the back of the newly constructed Mausoleum.

Monday morning, when the maintenance crew came to open up the office, they noticed the mausoleum door was open. As they near the open door they immediately knew something was wrong. Something was smeared on the glass door of the mausoleum, and as they looked inside one of the crypts was open. And it was empty.

Fearing they had graverobbers they went to call the police, but as they rounded the corner to head back to the office they passed the old make shift cement crypts. One was open and it held a casket.

It was the casket of the mold man, right back in the place he had been interned for the last five years. To be sure everything was all right and they did not have a grave robber playing a joke, they opened up the coffin. The body was still there and the jewelry he wore was still intact. They called the police, but there was nothing they could do but file a vandalism report. The body was placed back in the mausoleum.

After they sealed up the crypt again the staff noticed that the smear on the door was the same color as the mold that covered the man. Also disturbing there seemed to be small pieces of the stuff on the carpet that covered the floor from the crypt to the doorway. The body did not look molested at all, and the casket had shown no visible signs of forced opening, but it was still very disturbing.

Two weeks later, it happened again. Everything was the same, the crypt was opened and the casket was found resting in its old spot. Even the smear and pieces of mold scattered here and there. But one thing was different this time. It had recently rained and the ground was soft. A single trail of footprints ran from the mausoleum to the make shift crypt.

And they were almost erased by the tracks left by the dragged coffin.

There were only a single set of tracks.

And it was then that they noticed the handles of the coffin were also smeared with the gray green mold. It was if the mold man had somehow came out of the coffin and dragged it back to his original resting place.

But that was physically impossible…wasn’t it?

Nevertheless a close look at the corpse and the fallen mold made everyone present shiver. They were the same material. Once again the body was laid to rest in the mausoleum, and the funeral director brought in a Catholic Clergyman to once again give Last Rites and a blessing on the tomb. Mold man stayed put this time.

The maintenance crew always gave his crypt special attention. They always feared that one morning they would find it open again, and see the evidence of mold man once again walking the earth.

When you work at a cemetery for any length of time and meet others who have lived the life of a gravedigger for years, you hear some strange and unexplained stories.

And you hope that you are not the next one to come in the next morning with fear in their eyes and tell the others, “You are not going to believe this, but…”

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope


When I first read this story, it was in Brad Steiger's 2010 book Real Zombies, the Living Dead, and Creatures of the Apocalypse. I thought that it was genuinely creepy, and it's clearly the story of a revenant who is displeased with his burial arrangements. I hope that you, my readers, enjoy it as well. I owe a huge "Thank You" to Robin for allowing me the privilege of reposting this story on my blog. The original story may be found here: Graveyard Tales: The Thing That Moves At Night.

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