Grisly Crimes Committed in Cemeteries


Cemeteries are already pretty creepy places, but add a gruesome crime into the mix and you’re really cooking. Often ghouls and ghosts are blamed for their crimes until they’re caught. In truth, it’s often a fascination for all things dead that draws the attention of many criminals; particularly killers. If there’s nobody alive, there’s no witnesses, right? Obviously the perpetrators in the following stories weren’t so lucky and were caught for their horrific crimes. 

The Cannibal Brothers

In 2014, brothers Mohammad Farman Ali, 30, and Mohammad Arif Ali, 35 were arrested for a second time after they were found to be eating the bodies of humans they had exhumed from a local cemetery. Since there is no law specifically against cannibalism in Punjab, many believed the 14 year sentence the received was undeserved. The pair were convicted in 2011 for digging up and eating more that 150 bodies, but only served two years. In April 2014, a police search discovered the head of a boy, the brothers said they had eaten his flesh in a curry. 

Ed Gein

Ed Gein is a fairly well known name. Although Ed Gein didn’t murder many people in comparison to other high profile serial killers, he did enjoy exhuming bodies and creating various keepsakes from their bones and skin. Although he is mainly known for the infamous mask made from one of his victims faces, Gein also had skulls on his bed posts and vulvae in a shoebox. Although he denies having sex with the corpses, it is believed the crimes were sexually motivated.

Charlie Chaplin’s Grave Robbers

Exhuming bodies is already pretty twisted, but to do it for money is morally about the lowest you can get. Charlie Chaplin died in December 1977 and he rested peacefully until March 1st 1978 when his coffin and body were exhumed and not found for 11 weeks. His wife Oona was contacted by the criminals and asked for $600,000 in exchange for Charlie’s body. She refused, saying her late husband would find it ‘ridiculous’. It was discovered that the two responsible were refugees, Roman Wardas, from Poland, and Gantcho Ganev, from Bulgaria who had intended to use the money to solve their financial problems. 

The Murder of Jessica Lyn Keen

Jessica Lyn Keen was a fifteen year old cheerleader and honor student from West Jefferson, Ohio. She was found dead in a cemetery in 1991, however her killer was not found until DNA evidence proved his guilt in 2008. Jessica had been abducted, bound with duct tape and raped. She managed to escape the car and run into the cemetery, almost completely naked and scared for her life but sadly her killer caught up to her. There, she collided with a fence post and was bludgeoned to death with a tombstone that her killer had ripped from a nearby grave. Marvin Lee Smith Jr was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after pleading guilty and avoiding the death penalty. 

The snatching of John Scott Harrison’s body

John Scott Harrison was a member of the house of representatives in the United States. He died in 1878 and was buried in Ohio. Around that time, medical students would regularly exhume and steal corpses to improve their knowledge of the human body. At that time, donating your body to science was uncommon and they had few bodies to work with. At the funeral of Harrison, his son noticed that a nearby grave of friend Augustus Devin had been emptied and went on a search for Devin’s body. After following a lead to a medical school, he instead found his father’s body that he had buried a short time earlier. He discovered his father in a Cincinnati medical school, naked and hanging from a rope. Devin’s body was later found in a vat of brine at the University of Michigan.

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