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Back To The Cemetery, Please

 

Near my home is a huge, old, lovely Cemetery. Big trees provide shade over beautifully carved headstones. Many of them have military and Masonic symbols, and the oldest dates of decease are from the 1910's. It is a nice, quiet place to be. During the day it is open for the public. I used to take my two boxer dogs there, and go (respectfully) all around. I really like to read the names and dates, and imagine who lies under the stones. I did not grow up in this area, but some of the names are the same as those of local streets and such, so I imagine those were the "best" families, in their day. I am not frightened of cemeteries at all. What happened there does not make for a "scary" story, but it scared me, nonetheless.

I found a marker which read "died in France" and listed the WW1 unit of the deceased. Call me a sentimental fool, but right there I said out loud "my uncle fought in (same unit) WW2 and died in Belgium, and now he watches over me. I wonder is your soul in France, where you fell, or did you return to whoever put this gravestone here to honour you?" Then the dogs and I meandered through the rest of the cemetery. We walked home through the humdrum summer sunset.

The weirdness started after dinner, at home. When put outside to do her business, my older dog, Felix, kept barking at the house wall, below my bedroom window. Then she kept barking, inside at the same place, fussing and whining below the bedroom window. Each time I checked, no one was outside. This kept up for several days. The other dog, Leila, carried on totally normal, no barking, no staring or whining.

Then Felix actually started digging a hole, outside there, below the window. She is not a digger dog. So I figured there was a varmit in or under the wall, since she kept fixating on that spot. I examined the whole wall, inside and out, and found nothing to show where mice or bugs were invading. I couldn't hear anything either, and you may know that vermin nesting in the walls eventually make noise when they think the coast is clear. (Yuck.)

After almost a week of Felix barking at the wall, and trying to dig below it, I yelled at her to stop, in frustration. She looked at me with that reprimanding way dogs do when they are right and you are wrong. I was sick of her nonsense and told her so. (Yes, I talk to my dogs like people.) I pushed all the dirt back with my foot again, as if that would stop her from digging.

When we got back inside, Felix headed right back to the bedroom and went to staring and whining at the wall. I was going to holler, she was making me crazy.

Then I noticed a penny on the floor, placed exactly beside where she had been digging at outside. I picked it up and dropped it in my front flower bed.

I was more than a little freaked out by this. I am not someone who wants any sign or needs confirmation of spirits. I use sage and salt, with proper offerings and blessings, to protect my home. Who left that penny there? Until this point in my life I thought of "ghosties leaving dimes" as utter nonsense, especially since I have only heard of it from daytime teevee.

All week outside, Felix kept barking at and digging below the same spot of wall, or staring at it from inside. Twice more, I found pennies in the exact same place inside, beneath the wall heater, up against the wall. I removed them from the house.

It seemed clear that someone was there. I was afraid to acknowledge how bad the pennies scared me. We're "they" inside or outside. Or both!? I lived alone, and it was also nerve-wracking to have one dog keep alerting like someone was lurking outside my bedroom window. The other dog showed no interest in Felix's obsession.

At the suggestion of a friend, early one evening, I stood by where Felix was trying to dig and spoke out loud my intentions to "head up to that gorgeous cemetery on the hill." I made sure to say that EVERYONE THERE was heading back with me and how nice it is. I brought the dogs and went along the same route we had taken coming home the last time. When we got to the grounds, I wandered around saying something along the lines of "the light of the Goddess is stronger than my light, so if you must follow someone, find God's light" and made it clear that my dogs and I were leaving the cemetery alone.

We did, as far as I could tell. Who knows for sure?

I welcome any thoughts or comments on this whole strange episode. I will answer all the questions I can-

The dog never fixated on that wall, inside or out, or tried to dig under the house ever again.

I never again found pennies on the floor.

I have been back to that cemetary numerous times, although now I keep my thoughts to myself.

Please note: I have lived off cash tips my whole adult life, and the change adds up fast. I cannot abide wadded up or disorganized money. I won't even carry pennies. More than a couple pennies gets heavy, so I make change by rounding up a nickel. I carry two dollars in "silver" coins, as part of my "bank", but every single other cent goes straight in the piggy bank after each shift. To be very clear, I think of money as absolutely filthy, and would NEVER leave coins around. I would not want money touching my things, I keep all my coins in my wallet, never jingling in pockets or dumped on the dresser. That is just like having a stinking pile of dirt sitting around.

My piggy bank is kept in the living room. It is an enormous, heavy, old glass water cooler jug, and I only take money out of it for Christmas (ok, and once to pay the water bill). There is NO WAY there were loose pennies to roll all the way into the bedroom.

Living with two dogs who eat anything they find on the floor is another reason there would never be coins loose on the floor. The whole piggy bank couldn't cover the veterinary operation to fish a nickel out of a dog.

I am one hundred percent for sure certain that no coin could just fall beneath the heater, and damn sure that two more pennies would not fall and land in the EXACT SPOT as the first, two more times. If not for the pennies, this story would be about my dog's overactive imagination and my own tendency to romanticise death in combat, and I would not venture to share it on YGS...

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, BettinaMarie, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

BettinaMarie (10 stories) (49 posts)
 
4 months ago (2018-09-14)
RC Ruskin LuciaJucinta- I was too scared to look at the coins or keep them in the house. I was afraid to even touch them, and also scared to seem like I was chucking them out. Maybe too much talkshowTeeVee or maybe me being superstious about accidentally welcoming evil, or accepting gifts from unknown sources. Probably both.
BettinaMarie (10 stories) (49 posts)
+1
4 months ago (2018-09-14)
Zaruje- I appreciate your research. I wonder the same things. My southern friend learned from the HooDoo religion to leave the nine coins and tobacco at the gates of a graveyard and that seems good, so now I do. I don't know much about that religion. I like the tradition of leaving a stone, too.
BettinaMarie (10 stories) (49 posts)
+1
4 months ago (2018-09-14)
Haven- Sometimes I wish that I didn't chicken out and had studied the pennies or left them there. I was mostly scared that I did not know who was there or how they got in my house. Also my dog was freaking me out. The comments make me wonder if my Uncle left the pennies to indicate or honour the Other, who seemed outside or in the wall.
BettinaMarie (10 stories) (49 posts)
+1
4 months ago (2018-09-14)
Augusta-I will certainly leave a coin next time. The city keeps all the grounds nicely, and the VFW makes sure everyone who served is honoured, but that is not quite the same as your own people.
BettinaMarie (10 stories) (49 posts)
+1
4 months ago (2018-09-14)
Cuddlebear-I never knew there was an official or unofficial symbol behind the different coins, and it makes me wonder if who followed me had passed more recently than the fella that died in WW1 France.
BettinaMarie (10 stories) (49 posts)
+1
4 months ago (2018-09-14)
My last answer was typed on my phone in a hurry-but I am very grateful for the research amd responses so I will try to answer everyone properly. It is a comfort beyond measure to be able to tell these events to other people without being judged. YGS comments are always so helpful. I have learned an awful lot from how brave people are, and the comment threads. It is so nice to feel a part of such brilliant conversations.
Bettina
BettinaMarie (10 stories) (49 posts)
+2
4 months ago (2018-09-11)
Hello All and many thanks for reading. Thanks for your kind comments. I agree that cemeteries are home to very few spirits whose mortal bits are actually there, if any spirits at all.

I have to sort of selectively apply my superstitions, and I feel that as currency, coins are handled too many times to carry much more than the luck you invest in them. I love foreign coins and old pennies, but not laying around, ever.

Because of the daytime TeeVee I thought right away that a loose penny so carefully placed could in no way happened by "natural" cause. My Dad collects pennies, so I kind of look at them out of habit if they look old. I have some old 1930's pennies.

However, the pennies On the floor I did not look at or add to my penny jar, on purpose. Not without knowing exactly how they got there under the heater.

They were shiny pennies. I can't remember which way they faced. Although I often leave foreign or pretty, new coins at shrines in my garden, these I dropped in with the shells by my front porch. There are other treasures there, so I was not so much chucking them away, as putting them outside the house.

At the time I was unaware of any practice with coins left at cemeteries. After this a chess friend from the south taught me to leave nine pennies and tobacco, so now I do. Or better if I know them. It makes me very happy to think it was some lonely soldier. I will find that grave and leave a coin next time I am there.

I feel my Uncle is often with me, although not in a ghostly way-so to speak, and have ever since I can remember. I have mostly spoken to him when I need courage. My family on both sides has died fighting on many fields, but he and my cousin who died in Vietnam are the two in living memory.
Cuddlebear (3 stories) (105 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2018-09-07)
To Augusta M - It was not my intent to mislead you. I could almost swear I "knew" of the this practice prior to the 21st century. I seem to remember accompanying an older cousin (a VN vet) to cemeteries and his doing this, but I could be wrong. Who am I to argue with the Great World Wide Oracle? I'd say I'd research further but I've always found that further research on the WWW rarely confirms things, but rather just muddies them up... πŸ˜• But thank you for correcting me, I'll be more circumspect in the future.

To BeautInside - Thank you for the kind words. We've been married for 27 years and hope to see another 27 with that wonderful lady. I hope you, and everyone, has such a partner in their lives.
BeautInside (3 stories) (317 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2018-09-03)
Hi Bettina,

Even though I believe cemeteries aren't the most active places for supernatural encounters, I dare to say that this particular cemetery is an exception.
Interesting encounter, it's good to know that whoever/whatever followed you home also followed you back to the cemetery.

Cuddlebear,

"For many there is a big difference, to find a penny face up is a harbinger of good luck; whereas tails up, not so much. I actually leave a penny in my wife's car every morning (face up) for luck."- What a beautiful gesture! 😊

Thank you for sharing Bettina. ❀
LuciaJacinta (5 stories) (148 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2018-09-02)
This is a neat story. I also would have checked the dates on them. Did I read that correctly that you threw away the pennies? What did you do with them? If there are more I'd take them back to the cemetery to the soldiers grave.
Jubeele (17 stories) (733 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2018-09-01)
Bettina, I actually know a few people that used to find dimes in all sorts of places. I used to find 5 cents everywhere; at home, at work, on the road or footpath, in my drawer at work, even in my pockets. I keep my coins in a separate zipped pouch. Never thought much about it. But now I wonder if someone was trying to say a friendly "hello" at the time?

Augusta, many thanks for the expert research (as usual!) to clarify that legend. And Cuddlebear, thanks for that legend about the coins - that was interesting and something new for me. Like RC, I'm curious how old the pennies were or were they filched from someone else's purse? This might explain other accounts where people were missing money.

Glad everything has settled down and Felix isn't digging any more holes. Thanks Bettina for sharing. 😊
AugustaM (4 stories) (792 posts)
+3
5 months ago (2018-08-31)
Your comment, Cuddlebear, lead me to do a bit more research since Google "rabbit holes" call to me so πŸ€“ Now I find that the earliest reference to the alleged Vietnam-era tradition of an unofficially codified military system of leaving coins to convey discreet messages as they marked their visits popped up in a chain letter email in 2009. Several articles explain that it is mostly just a legend - the reality being that from pebbles to coins, people of all stripes often leave small tokens on the graves of love ones either as a token of remembrance or to show that someone who cares has been by to visit etc and are as likely to do so now as they have ever been. So the pennies were possibly just a simple "I was here" in answer to her question.
Zaruje (11 stories) (147 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2018-08-30)
Hi! I've tried to search about the pennies connection to the french soldiers tombstone that you had visited, but none showed up. One did. It says that people leave nickels or pennies on the tombstones of the soldiers as a respect for the family of the deceased. I hope this helps even tho I'm not really sure how πŸ˜•. Anyways thanks for sharing!

Z ❀ ❀ ❀
RCRuskin (8 stories) (494 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2018-08-30)
Hi! Sure seems like you brought someone home with you, Miss Betina. Like many, I am curious about the pennies. Did you check the dates on them?
CuriousDee (8 stories) (630 posts)
+4
5 months ago (2018-08-30)
Hi Bettina,

I talk to my dog and cat too, you are definitely not alone on that. 😊 I learned about the tradition and meaning of coins being left at military grave sites awhile ago. My cousin, who served in the Navy, passed unexpectedly and when visiting his site, I discovered coins there frequently. After researching, I learned exactly what Cuddlebear pointed out.

With your incident, coins were left for you to find at home, which in my opinion, could be a sign from a passed loved one, letting you know they are around. I can understand the connection you made, however I wonder if you were being visited by your uncle? You mentioned him at the cemetery, and stated he watches over you. Perhaps he was trying to show you that he's grateful you still think of him and to let you know he's ok. Realizing that you had become uneasy with his 'contact', he stopped leaving the coins. Just a different perspective to consider.

Either way, the activity stopped after you verbalized your discomfort, so I would think this spirit is quite respectful. As far as using salt and sage to protect your home... I've learned that this keeps out the negative. So this wouldn't apply to a positive spirit (family, guides, etc). I guess it would depend on your beliefs of course, but maybe it will give you peace of mind.

Thank you for sharing. ❀
Dee
Cuddlebear (3 stories) (105 posts)
+5
5 months ago (2018-08-30)
To AugustaM -

The tradition of leaving a coin on the grave (or more precisely the headstone) of a soldier starts with the Vietnam War. Therefore it is unlikely that the WWI vet would do it. The coins are left on Memorial Day or Veteran's Day (less likely though). The coins have meanings for the relatives of the fallen soldier, seaman, or airman.

A penny means you visited the grave.

A nickle means you went through Basic Training with the departed.

A dime means you served with the departed.

A quarter means you where there when the soldier died.

Coins that are not collected by the families are often collected and donated to some veterans organization.

Coins may also be left to pay the ferryman, though this is traditionally silver.
Haven (12 stories) (200 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2018-08-30)
Hi BettinaMarie -

Thanks for sharing such an interesting story. I do believe something followed you home that day. It had probably been a long time since anyone visited that man's grave site. You did ask him questions, I believe he was trying to give you the answers.

You did the right thing by "taking him back" to the cemetery and telling him to follow the light.

Regards
AugustaM (4 stories) (792 posts)
+5
5 months ago (2018-08-30)
First, I love that you talk to your dogs like people - I have always spoken to my pets, it's always seemed natural and it makes them so happy ❀

I believe it is a tradition amongst the military (and others) to leave pennies on the grave as a sign that it has been visited - a token of remembrance perhaps derived from old traditions of leaving offerings for the dead. I think the soldier followed you home to answer your question and left pennies to prove it - it seems light hearted and a little cheeky☺️ Maybe when you visit the cemetery now, leave a penny on his grave as you go by to let him know that he doesn't have to walk abroad to be remembered.
Cuddlebear (3 stories) (105 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2018-08-30)
An interesting tale, thanks for sharing.

Do you recall if the pennies were left face up or face down? Or was there no pattern...

For many there is a big difference, to find a penny face up is a harbinger of good luck; whereas tails up, not so much. I actually leave a penny in my wife's car every morning (face up) for luck.

If the pennies were uniformly face up (or more or less evenly distributed) I would suspect the leaver of the penny was wishing you good luck. If they all were face down then probably not so much...

Do you recall if the pennies were of recent mintage or were they old? Should this recur I suggest you leave the pennies, at least for a while, to see if they accumulate.

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