Just one day before Halloween a woman in Connecticut discovered a centuries-old skeleton underneath a historic tree. According to the New Haven Independent, Katie Carbo discovered a skeleton under an oak tree that was uprooted by the winds from Hurricane Sandy.
The skull was found upside down with the mouth open and still attached to the spine and rib cage. Carbo called investigators, who arrived at New Haven Green to inspect the ground. The park was once used as a burial ground.
“I noticed what I thought was a rock at first, I kind of poked it and a piece came off in my hand, and I noticed it was bone fragments,” Carbo told local station WTNH. “So I took a stick and knocked some of the dirt away and noticed it was an entire skull and body and vertebrae, ribs.”
The New Haven Independent spoke with Curtis T., who was walking by to check out the commotion, and he said, “You think it’s the hurricane? I think a dead man [is] trying to tell a tale.”
WFSB has said that the skeleton discovered in the tree is probably the victim of smallpox or yellow fever between 1799 and 1821. The bodies from the burial ground were never moved when the headstones were taken from New Haven Green and placed at the Grove Street Cemetery. The tree was planted back in 1909 to honor President Abraham Lincoln. Officials knew that New Haven Green was a burial ground but did not know any bodies were still on the property.
Robert Greenberg, New Haven historian, cited a section of the New Haven Green chapter in “Historical Sketches of New Haven.”. The book said, “Sometimes, at the dead of night, apart from the others, the victims of smallpox were fearfully hid here. The ground was filled with graves between the Church and College Street; sixteen bodies having been found within sixteen square feet.”