Finding bones from a centuries-old skeleton beneath a historic tree sounds like a segment out of a scary movie, but the scene became all too real when a Connecticut woman made the frightening discovery the day before Halloween.
On Tuesday, Katie Carbo, a bystander, alerted police about a skeleton found beneath a historic oak tree that toppled over from Hurricane Sandy's intense winds, the New Haven Independent reports. Carbo spotted the skull in the roots of the fallen oak. The skull was positioned upside down with its mouth open, still connected to the spine and rib cage. Investigators headed to the scene at the New Haven Green, a 16-acre park that had once been 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."
SCROLL FOR FULL SIZE IMAGES
Carbo was not spooked by her discovery, but passerby Curtis T. had his own thoughts on the uprooted tree. "You think it’s the hurricane? I think a dead man [is] trying to tell a tale," he told the New Haven Independent.
The skeleton found in the New Haven tree is likely that of a victim of smallpox or yellow fever who may have been buried between 1799 and 1821, WFSB reports. Headstones from the burial ground on the New Haven Green were moved to the Grove Street cemetery, but the bodies were never relocated.
The oak tree was planted in 1909 in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, WFSB reports.
City officials knew that the New Haven Green had been used as burial ground but did not believe any bodies remained, according to NBC.
Police spokesman David Hartman says the skeletal remains will be evaluated by the Connecticut medical examiner, according to the Associated Press.
PHOTOS: Skeleton found beneath historic oak tree uprooted from Hurricane Sandy's intense winds.
Remains found in historic New Haven oak tree.
State Death Investigator Alfredo Camargo, in white Tyvex suit, examines bones up close.