Friday, August 2, 2013

Suspicious Previous Owners

Four years ago, I became convinced we had a dead body in our backyard.

Four years and two months ago, we moved into this house.

It's August of 2009.  In the short time since we've moved into our house, we've been doing normal cleaning and moving in-type stuff, mostly focused on the interior of our home.

One day I venture into the backyard to investigate the compost heap the previous owners so kindly left behind for us (<---- I've tried typing that statement several different ways and it always sounds sarcastic, but it's not- I really was happy that this was a feature of our new yard), digging through it a bit to see what they've been piling on there.

Then I notice the giant black trash bags.

There were at least a dozen of them, and they were piled high in the small space between the fencing of the compost heap and the corner of the fence that surrounds our yard.  They all seemed to be hugely full.  I tentatively grabbed the drawstring of one, pulled to test the weight, and discovered that it was absurdly heavy.

Obviously there was a dead body in there.

In my mind, there was no other possible explanation.  Yes, those were the huge black yard waste-style trash bags (big enough for a body), but why on earth would you put grass clippings and such in bags when you have a two compost bins, a fire pit, and miles of flower beds that need to be mulched?

I poked at the top layer of bags a bit with a stick, and while it didn't feel like poking a dead body (because I have so much experience in the "poking corpses with sticks" field), it was more than conceivable to me that they filled the top bags with leaves or whatever and buried the body somewhere in the morass of supposed yard waste.  It was quite brilliant, really.  The compost pile would help disguise the smell of decomposition (or so I'm led to believe based on my considerable knowledge gleaned from murder mystery books), and after a few years it would all be more organic nutrients for the garden, anyway!

This is really not where I meant to go with this post.

I decided a dead body was way more than I was willing to deal with and, thanks to my possibly unhealthy ability to compartmentalize, willfully ignored those trash bags for four years.

Until a few weeks ago.

I finally decided it was time for me to grow up and find out exactly what was hiding in there.  Astonishingly (to no one but me), there were no humans anywhere in that mess, dead or otherwise, although I did have a bad moment when one of the bags broke open when I was dragging it into the open, it burst open, and thousands of roly polies came swarming out.

I got the corner cleaned out.  The bags contained grass clippings, leaves, and pine cones.  And the roly poly family reunion.  And an earthworm that was so big I thought it was a snake at first.

Maybe in another four years I'll have screwed up enough courage to clear away the cinder blocks piled out side the back of our fence (why would they have left a pile of those things in such a strange, out-of-the-way location?  CLEARLY something is afoot here).


  1. I really think you should contact them and find out why they would leave you bags of yard waste, sitting right next to a nice compost pile? I mean, what else were you to think? :-)

    1. Oh, they've done A LOT of things to this house that I'd like to ask them about. The bags would probably be near the top of the list, though.

  2. You are BRAVE.

    What are roly polies? Are they the same as pillbugs?

    1. Haha, YES, roly polies are pillbugs. I remember living in Connecticut and someone looking at me like I was crazy when I mentioned roly polies. Look at you figuring that one out, no translation needed!

  3. I love the way you think. After poking with the stick; however, I would have shot the bags as well. Just in case they were zombies. Not that I believe in that stuff, but you can never be too careful.

    1. I'm already a little afraid as to what my neighbors think of me; I'm afraid the sight of me shooting a plastic bag would send them over the edge. And then I'd have to explain that there may or may not be a dead body in there, and my nervous laughter would no doubt show up, and there's pretty much no way it would end well.

  4. that really WAS kind of them to leave their compost pile - strangely (and sadly) enough, our sellers took their entire pile with them. it wasn't contained or anything...they just somehow moved all (and i mean ALL) the contents elsewhere. maybe THEY had something buried under there that they were hoping to keep hidden.

    though, not to be morbid, a well-decomposed body is probably great for the garden. so if it was, indeed, a dead body hidden under there, maybe they just wanted to keep it with them, less out of hidden guilt, and more out of the desire for awesome tomatoes at their new place.

    1. They just, like, took it with them? When I move, I'm so sick of packing up all my crap that I end up giving or throwing large quantities of it away; I cannot even imagine caring enough to move a compost heap. You really DO have suspicious previous owners.

  5. (because I have so much experience in the "poking corpses with sticks" field)

    I started giggling with the above line and kept going all the way through the comments. I'm imagining you shrieking loudly when those pill bugs came scrambling out of the bags... or maybe I'm projecting?

    The only crazy we've got here has to do with the "remodeling" done by the previous owners. Seriously, there are some crazy choices -- every house guest has commented on them!

  6. Giggle.
    A very logical conclusion, of course.
    It's amazing the things we learn from our murder mysteries. Things like if you die and you have a cat in your house, it will start eating you. Or if you want to get rid of a dead body you can put it in with a pen of pigs. ;)


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