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Family Finds 1850s Crypt In Their Backyard, Teaches Kids Cool History Lesson

This is actually pretty amazing.

Krystin Cooney

When Krystin Cooney and her family went on a walk on their property in Deerfield, New Hampshire, it was simply an afternoon bout to stretch their legs. After all, Cooney, like many other Americans, has been cooped up with her family as schools are canceled and shelter-in-place measures become the norm across the country.

Then a neighbor called out to her and her family — which includes her fourth-grade daughter and two other kids — that a moose had just passed by. They had never seen one, so they got quiet and walked through the woods behind their house. That’s when they found a stone structure that they thought was a fort, built like a shed that went underground.

“I thought it was that someone built a really cool fort, and then I realized it was no one’s property because no one’s house is near it,” said Cooney’s daughter to New Hampshire Public Radio. After they explored and went home, they did some research and learned that what they thought was a very cool fort was actually a crypt — from the 1850s. 

Luckily, Cooney is a history teacher at a nearby high school, and in her thorough research learned that in New Hampshire, families built crypts for when family members died in the winter, and the ground was too frozen to dig.

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She explained to her three children what the crypt was, and her fourth-grade daughter has used it as a sort of ‘show and tell’ for her fellow classmates as they have been virtually learning. Crypts are creepy, but historical artifacts are cool, and sharing them is even cooler. Moral of the story? Sometimes you’ll never know what you’ll find on a family walk — be it a moose or a 170-year-old crypt or…nothing at all.