This isn't really a scary story, but it was pretty dramatic at the time.
Last summer, DH and I finally got round to employing some builders to build an extension along the back of our house. About the first thing they had to do, of course, was measure up and then start digging the foundations for the new building. They brought in a digger and dug out a trench where the new wall was going to be, all about a metre deep.
As a little background, we live in one of the oldest named settlements in England (although our road dates back only to the 1930s or so). So it's not unheard of to find historical remains when doing any digging around the area, and in fact our next-door neighbour always told us the story of how a skeleton had been found in our back garden 20 years ago when the then owners were putting in a new garden path. Our neighbour, a lovely old lady who adores chatting with people, had told our builders all about it.
So when one of the builders happened to mention to his boss that he had seen what looked like human bones in the bottom of the trench as he dug it out, the boss decided he had probably better follow it up. Boss came round to our house during the evening, explained what had happened, and we all went out into the garden and climbed down into the trench.
What followed was exactly
what would happen in a film. Boss took a shovel and said 'That's where he thought he saw the bones', and prodded at the side of the trench. There was a sharp crack, and out of the earth fell a curved piece of bone, with half an eye-socket and a nasal bone on the unbroken edge. We cleared away the earth from the side of the trench very gingerly, and there was the rest of the skull, staring straight out at us.
So DH went and called the police. He said the conversation went along these lines:
DH: Oh, hello, I'd like to report that I've found some human bones in my garden.
Police: Right. Are you sure that the bones are human, not animal?
DH: It's a skull.
Police: And you're sure it's a human skull?
Shortly after, the police started arriving. It started off with one of the lower ranks, who confirmed that yes, these were human remains, and set up tape across our driveway saying 'Crime Scene: Do Not Cross'. He then called someone of higher rank, who in their turn called someone of even higher rank, and so on and so forth.
Very fortunately, it was concluded that the bones were definitely old, and almost certainly from the Anglo-Saxon cemetery on which our road had been built. Also, there were no artefacts, just bones, so the archaeologists weren't interested other than to note that another find had been made. DH and I spent a couple of hours searching through the spoil heap from the trench to find as many fragments as possible (the trench ran straight through the middle of the burial, so had carried away ribs, vertebrae, arm bones etc.). We bagged up everything we could find and put it in behind a barrier before the concrete went in for the foundations, and that was that.
One of the police had coincidentally studied archaeology at university, and she judged that the skeleton was that of a fairly young woman. The burial was probably pagan, since the body had been laid east-west. Interestingly, looking along the trench, we could see numerous other places which were probably other graves, including one right under where the old garden path had been, so our neighbour was absolutely correct.
So, I suppose it's just as well that DH and I aren't particularly squeamish about this kind of thing, since we have a grave right underneath the sink in our new kitchen, and probably several more under the house and garden. Mind you, I imagine that there are quite a lot of places like this in the UK!