Woman Buys Her Family Farm & Finds A Skull Behind The Barn That Turns Out To Be A Bizarre Family Secret

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Big red barn Digital Vision.  / Canva Pro

A woman has been left slack-jawed after inheriting her family farm and making an unnerving discovery on the property. But the family story it ended up being tied to was even stranger — and far more macabre.

She found a skull behind her barn that turned out to be part of a bizarre family secret. 

The woman's story has all the makings of a gothic ghost tale told 'round the fire on Halloween night, or, say, the newest stylish A24 horror movie (which would obviously be titled simply "The Skull Behind The Barn" and feature the unhinged madness of Rosamund Pike, who will win an Oscar for the role). 


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Anyway, the woman was so perplexed that she wrote to the long-running advice column Dear Abby because she needed "a second opinion" on what went down when her grandfather recently sold her "an old farmstead that has been in the family for 200 years." 


I don't even know what "an old farmstead" is, but it sounds actively sinister and thrilling. "Last week, he showed me a wooded area behind the barn with a human skull."

I am registering this screenplay idea with the WGA right now and WILL take legal action if anyone tries to stop me from making this blockbuster. See you in court, farmstead lady!

The skull was her great-grandfather's. Her grandpa just threw him in the woods when he died as an experiment.

Yes, you read that correctly, and none of it is a typo. "He told me that when his father died more than 50 years ago, he was curious about how long it would take a body to decompose, so he left his body in the woods to keep track of its progress," she went on to write. "He has 50 years of photos and notes."

Empathy is important, so please take a moment to imagine being in this woman's shoes and listening to your grandfather tell you he flopped his dead dad out in the woods and then watched him decompose for FIFTY YEARS like it's the most normal thing that has ever happened in his life. 


"Went to college, saw Paris, got married and had two kids, tossed my father's corpse out back and photographed his rotting corpse for half a century, retired and moved to Boca Raton." I am calling INTERPOL.

Skull Behind Her Barn Turns Out To Be A Bizarre Family SecretPhoto: worac / Canva Pro

It gets weirder. Her grandfather just told the family his dad was cremated, "and apparently no one questioned him about the ashes," and that is because they all ate them in a Satanic ritual. 


Just kidding! That's not part of the story but it didn't seem implausible, did it? I'm telling you, this picture has legs! It'll make "Barbenheimer" look like a flop!

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Since no laws were broken, the woman has no idea how to handle the fact that, I cannot stress this enough, her dead great-grandfather has been decomposing in her backyard for 50 years. 

"It feels like I’m helping my grandfather get away with something, and it feels 'icky,'" she wrote, in the most hilarious understatement I have ever read in my entire [redacted] years on this planet. 

She checked with an attorney, who informed her that no laws have been broken in her state — which might sound strange. But it turns out, in every state except California, Washington, and Indiana, it is perfectly legal to bury someone on your property. Because why not?! Some even do, like former President Donald Trump, and bury their ex-wives on their property, theoretically for tax reasons.




A handful of other states do require a funeral director to be involved, and many have zoning laws that apply to burials or require some form of certification — you can't just bury your loving aunt in the middle of your suburban cul-de-sac or whatever. 

But in nearly the entire country, you can indeed just throw Grandpa out back and let him decompose in the yard so you can document the rotting of his corpse like an absolute lunatic. Who knew?!

In any case, the woman said she is "resenting my grandfather for putting me in the middle of this" (in the middle of what, exactly, oh, you mean THE GRISLY MURDER OF HIS OWN FATHER?). She wondered if she should tell the rest of her family that their grandfather was an absolute slavering psychopath. 




But Abby, in all her wisdom, told the woman to just "decide whether to donate your great-grandfather’s skull to a medical or dental school (or coven?)" and then place this particular family secret firmly in the column labeled "what positive thing would be accomplished by sharing this unpleasantness with them?"

This seems like great advice. Some family secrets are best left buried. Or, you know, left out back behind the barn, not buried at all in the most sinister way possible, as the case may be.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.