Ghost Hunting Tales: The Grim

It’s funny to me to hear paranormal investigators who scoff at the thought of investigating cemeteries. There are no ghosts there, they’ll say. Their spirits have already moved on. That tells me they’ve never heard of a Grim.

A part of English and Scandinavian tradition, a Grim, or more commonly a Church Grim, was created when a new cemetery was consecrated. An animal, usually a dog (though sometimes a boar or horse would be used), would be buried alive on the grounds so that its ghost would serve as a protector of the surrounding property.

The belief was that the first person buried in a graveyard would rise to guard it against the devil’s advances. To keep this from falling on the dearly departed, a black dog would be interred first that it might serve as eternal guardian.

There are several local boneyards where activity can be attributed to a Grim, such as Jerome (near Greentown), the Indian Cemetery (near Hobbitland), or Little Pipe Creek (outside of Converse).

Little Pipe, in particular, I feel is haunted by a Human Grim. I do not believe an animal was sacrificed there to protect its inhabitants. The apparition I witnessed there seemed to come from the oldest part of the yard, and the urban legends surrounding the mysterious gate, and its perchance for assaulting men when they entered makes me think they saw men as a threat, whereas women were more readily welcome inside…

As for the nature of these sentinel spirits, removing the threat of the “devil” from the equation, one might see how a protective guardian might put people at ease. Not only was a Grim charged to defend against Old Scratch, but against grave robbers too.

So, the next time you’re in a graveyard late at night, don’t dismiss those footfalls you hear, or the growl of some unseen hound. It just might be a Grim you’re hearing. Best to not give it cause.

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