OPINION: No(ah)-It All: Mystery leak at crypt not so mysterious


Following wild reports of a mystery fluid leaking from crypts at Cullman Memory Gardens, I decided to go out to investigate this peculiar claim.


Upon arriving, Ron Foust, owner of Stone Bridge Farms, was speaking with a local police officer and a former employee of the now seemingly deserted mausoleum and gravesite. The trio was discussing the puddle which has been drawing a lot of attention lately.


The former employee, who asked to remain nameless, walked me to the site pointing out the various puddles and leaks between the outer marble façade. He explained since the grounds have been in limbo for several years, the building, along with the gravesites, have fallen into disrepair.


Over the years the building has taken some hard hits, whether it is with the electricity being cut off to the sanctuary area inside the mausoleum to a tree falling on the southeastern wall – the same side as the mystery leak – causing a bit of damage to the roof.


After explaining these few simple details, we walked roughly 20 feet to the front of the building where he pointed out that the front door remains unlocked year round. This may seem insignificant on the surface but if you’re looking into a claim of mystery fluids, one may want to enter the building in question to see if there were any other such fluids.


Of course, to no surprise, there was a giant pool of fluid pressed against the southeastern wall, completely soaking the carpet. While standing back to take a photo, a drop of water fell onto the camera. We looked up and spotted the culprit. A leak in the roof, well three leaks to be exact.


Once discovering the leaks in the ceiling, I looked closer at the carpet and wall to find mold, signaling these leaks have been present for quite a while. The former employee departed and I exited the building and went back to the not-so mysterious puddle with one nagging question.


Why did multiple agencies report smelling death emanating from the crypts? This quirky answer was solved with a bit of insight from the former employee just before he left. I was informed that less than 40 days ago, an individual was placed into his final resting place, which so happened to be located two spaces to the right and two spaces up from where the puddle was gathering.


Anyone with any basic level of understanding about the decomposition process would know a body will be emitting various gases at this stage, some of which can leak out of the crypt and into the surrounding areas if it is not properly vented or maintained.


Knowing the cemetery has been without a caring owner for some time now, while adding in the information regarding the loss of power and possible damage from a fallen tree, it all tends to make sense that the leak was in fact nothing more than a water leak.


But then again, I actually like to find out as much as possible about a story before writing about it, so I took to the sky for some aerial photos of the building. A quick inspection of the roof began to reveal that it, in fact, has drainage issues and some areas where water collects.


Zooming into the section of the wall that produced the puddle of not-so mystery fluid revealed that leaves and debris, forcing water to divert in order to find a way off the roof, block the drainage port.


After seeing the roof, examining the inside of the building and staring at the puddle, I could only come to one mind-boggling conclusion. Why did anyone freak out over a leaking roof?


Here’s how it goes. If it were a health issue, the government would have moved in quickly to quarantine the area. Since this isn’t the case, and knowing all the other details, I can only reason that the leak is nothing more than water being forced down an exterior wall due to a blocked drainage pipe on the roof. This water is being forced to run down the face of the inside of the mausoleum, ultimately collecting at the base of one particular crypt.


*Originally published May 26, 2014 issue of CullmanSense print edition*