The Unquiet Grave of Harry Spitz

Some stories are just plain hard to explain, such as this one, from West Virginia:

Charleston Gazette, WV. 5/14/1976

It was discovered July 1, 1975, by Glenn Pierce, the aging caretaker of Oak Grove Cemetery in Morgantown. The sod was pushed up about eight inches, leaving a dark hole on one side. Pierce hesitantly focused the beam of a flashlight inside, then jumped back at the sight of a concrete vault with a broken lid about six feet down.

Pierce's superiors were inclined to put it down as vandalism, but when Morgantown police could find no shovel marks or any other signs of tampering, the discovery took on new dimensions. It was obvious the ground had been pushed up from the inside. A gas company inspector could find no evidence of methane or sewer gas.

A funeral director suggested gas from a decaying body might be the answer. Looking at the grave marker standing at an angle a few feet away, however, seemed to dispel this. It indicated the occupant was 3-year-old Harry Spitz, who had died in 1912. His body would have been too small and it was long past the time of gaseous decay.

Morgantown Police Chief Bennie Palmer and Lt. William Hughes looked on while diggers hauled up the vault and casket. The concrete vault came out in seven pieces. The wooden casket was intact. The cloth covering the lid was rotting but there was no signs of mildew or dampness. The stem of a flower and a metal name plate lay undisturbed in a small indentation in the lid.

Suspecting a clue might be inside the casket itself, Pierce unlatched the lid and cautiously opened it with a shovel.

Inside was the surprisingly well-preserved body of a child. His long, blond hair glowed in the noonday sun.

“He was almost as perfect as the day they put him there,” Pierce remarked.

On his chest was a flower stem and a metal piece with the inscription “Our Darling”. At the feet was a black and white teddy bear.

Monongalia County records indicate the child died of cholera. Dr. Otis Fansler, pathologist and head of the morgue at University Medical Center, wondered if anerobic organisms had survived and possibly infected the onlookers.

Fansler took skin samples from the hands, throat and nose of the body and turned them into cultures. He found them to be sterile. The same day the body and casket were placed in a new vault and returned to the ground.

After geologists discounted earth displacement, Mrs. Marion Stone, secretary-treasurer of Oak Grove Cemetery Assn., declared, "I think it was an act of God."

News of the phenomenon brought out droves of curious passersby, who negotiated the narrow cemetery road to stare at the grave.'

Fundamentalists opened Bibles to Thessalonians 4:16-17 and proclaimed the explanation: “For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”

A woman psychic from Pittsburgh, Pa., declared a love bond existed between the child and his mother and that his love had burst from the grave and rushed to his mother. The 91-year-old mother still lives in a nursing hone at Terra Alta, Preston.


Harry’s father, Henry, was born in Holland, and his mother, Desiree, was born in Belgium. The family appeared on the 1920 US Census in Morgantown, WV.

When I originally posted this story a number of years ago, there were many responses, which are shown below:



Comment by Brenda Radabaugh: 

June 20, 2008 @ 3:47 am

I was at Harry's grave yesterday. His mom and dad are burried beside him. I talked to a man that worked for the cemetery and was there the day this all happened. There is a lot more to the story, and some of your information from the Charleston newspaper is not correct according to the man that was there.

It’s a very interesting case. A close friend of mine also took care of Harry’s mother Desiree at the nursing home and was shocked to hear what all the people said to her when she started working there. She says they told her that on the same day every year the furniture in Deseiree’s room at the nursing home was moved around like someone had come in the middle of the night and did it. My friend said she thought they was messing with her the 'New Girl' but she came in to work one morning and it was true. She saw it with her own eyes. She said that they NEVER moved furniture there. My friend also told me that the 6 months she worked there, Desiree NEVER MOVED A Muscle. The nurses and CNA’s had to move her to change her bed and all the other ways to take care of her. She never talked, never moved the whole time. Strange huh?


Comment by Ada Smith: 

September 13, 2008 @ 3:26 am

I was wondering how Harry Spitz’s body could have been preserved for over 50 years….and then i realised there could be lots of ways…for instance,maybe the deadly disease the he had..(cholera) could have preserved him…or the vault he was buried in….nobody knows what really happened!


Comment by Brooke: 

January 28, 2009 @ 3:48 am

I had to read a little book about him and i thought it was very interesting and thats what made me come here because the book it had an ending that left you hanging so i came here to read some more.


Comment by Zach: 

April 23, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

Thats very kreepy


Comment by Zach: 

April 23, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

Thats so weird because i would think his body would decay or rott. But this world is not all discovered yet.


Comment by Zach: 

April 23, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

Im pretty sure his body would be rotten


Comment by cherokee wininger: 

April 23, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

this is a very awesome a spooky story. it would be very cool to find out how the casket came up out of the ground just like that.


Comment by selina koroma: 

June 24, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

i think its very weird and may have a spiritual or demonic link to have caused that


Comment by James: 

August 10, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

It makes you wonder if there are any cases like this out there today!


Comment by goerge: 

August 22, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

i first heard about this story in school just the other day . when my teacher first started tellin me about it . i didnt believe it . then i saw this . and i was really shocked !!!


this is some crazy stuff !!!


Comment by Bekim Shpati: 

September 16, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

Well his body didnt DEcay… -_-… WDF.. I dont know why but i think Ada Smith is right probbaly the Disease that prevented him from decaying or rotting. ^^


Comment by isabelle: 

October 10, 2009 @ 2:00 am

this is so creepy it scared me half to death when my taecher showed us the picture of his grave there has to be soem kind of reasonable explanation for this a body cant just not rott in 50 years after it was buried and maybe it was god sending a message to us saying that he will come again in the from of another if you people wou;d read the bible occasionaly maybe you would know that god tries to send us signs that he will once again return to earth or maybe harry spitz isnt really dead evryone just thinks he is but god sent for harry to die so that he could come to heaven to be with him the he is sending harry spitz soul to break the groun dand rearrange his moms furniture at the nursing home and then he retrieves it once again and brings it to heaven this maybe what caused the body to stay preserved for so long because he is constantly sending back harry spitz soul to reunite with his lbody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! READ THE BIBLE IT MIGHT DO YOU SOME GOOD


Comment by Keaira S.: 

October 26, 2009 @ 2:01 am

i wen to this site because i read about it in school its a really creepy story.

one of the cops thought that the reason that he did not decay is because of the sickness he had.

and his mom lived to be 104 years old they rebaried him in 1975.

they are going to see if he comes back up in like2027 or 2037


Comment by Someone: 

December 4, 2009 @ 12:24 am

ok then!


Comment by nathan: 

December 4, 2009 @ 12:53 am

that creeps me out!


Comment by Chad: 

February 13, 2010 @ 1:49 am

my teacher gave me a report on Harry Spitz. It’s really wierd but it’s really cool too!


Comment by haley: 

April 26, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

this creeped me out when my teacher told me in class. knowing this is real….


Comment by amisai: 

May 21, 2010 @ 3:52 am



Comment by Kyanna: 

September 9, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

Hi my name is Kyanna Cook. I am a 30 year old woman and my son was 3 and just passed away 9-3-10 Born 2009 2:00pm January 2nd.He was very ill with Cholera he was a sweet baby boy he walked and started to talk. He played with his toys and had 2 teeth. I live in Virginia. My son was burried in the same place Oak Grove Cemetery. When I read about this boy I started to cry I couldent beleave what I had saw, I looked it up to see if it was true. This really worries me because I think what if my son (was to do the same thing) If it was his spirt. Witch I beleave it was his spirt. My son died at 3:00 am If any questions please add me on


Comment by Tictac223: 

September 12, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

Hi im a 16 year old I think this is very sad and im pregnet and if I lost my baby i would be lost and out of my mind . I think this little boys soul is lost.


Comment by Mickey!!! :P: 

September 18, 2010 @ 1:28 am

omfg!!! i read this story in school last week at my school south valley…. and all my classmates and i thought it was fake and if real, that we dont wanna go 2 the cemetarry. omg its just soo kreepy on how this is a true story, i know it is because my mom told me she remembers listening to this on the news decades b4 i was born -__-

omfg this is so fricken scarry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! gosh i hope it doesnt happen 2 your child too Kyanna  (((


Comment by Brianna Harrison: 

October 28, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

This story was read to me by Mrs. Best in Hobbton Middle a little while ago. This story kinda made me get goosesbumps because i do belive in spirts and stuff weird though just weird


Comment by Tiara: 

November 2, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

I read a story about him at school and I had to look him up…I was so creeped out when I read the story.


Comment by naven: 

December 3, 2010 @ 4:16 am

this case is kinda weird but i guess there’s no need to wonder why that happened…ive read similar condition: a girl who died on the year 1930 but when discovered on 2009,her body is still the same the day she died.she looked even alive!human being as you could see it.That’s because of the man who embalmed her had some sort of great idea on preserving.maybe that’s also the reason why harry spitz’s body is preserved.


Comment by Emilie: 

February 15, 2011 @ 5:26 am

I heard this from my teacher and I was so creeped out I was like oh my God are you serious and I decided to look Harry up more. I want pictures! I wanna see this!!!!