Despite numerous attempts to go near the altar, the pastor just wouldn’t allow Shirley to the passage. It now got to a point where things got weird and suspicious.
Shirley decided that no matter what, she would find out the reason behind the pastor’s odd behavior. She would soon regret her decision, as by approaching the altar, she would find out the terrible truth, hidden for years.
Sundays became a special day for Shirley Jeffords and her family. They would have homemade pancakes with fresh strawberries and maple syrup for breakfast.
Then they’d get dressed in their Sunday outfits for church service. It was Shirley’s favorite event of the week. However, things had changed over the past couple months – certainly not in a good way.
Their usual pastor had retired. He was worshiped by the community so it became difficult for everyone to accept it – especially Shirley.
When the new pastor arrived, she sat nervously in her seat to hear his first message. Shirley crossed her fingers.
The new pastor didn’t seem as passionate as their previous pastor but the address was fine. However, as the time went by, Shirley began to notice strange changes around the church.
It seemed rather odd to her knowing about the new Sunday school curriculum. He also added constraints for shortlisting the charity volunteers. Something wasn’t right.
All of that made her more observant around him. He seemed a little strange to everyone, especially to Shirley as she got a creepy feeling out of him.
His eyes always appeared stone-cold and his grin – wolfish. There was something unusual about him. This made Shirley insecure.
She stared out the window as they drove home, trying to shake off the creepy feeling. Shirley asked her husband, “Am I overthinking?”
He just smiled and said, “I noticed it too, but I think we should give the man a chance.” It wasn’t bad advice. The following week, as they entered the church, she saw a shocking sign at the altar.
She stared at the handwritten note with wide eyes. Her shock quickly boiled into anger. She had never seen a sign like this in that church before.
As the pastor approached, she pointed at the offensive words and asked what was going on. The note read, “No women or children past this point.” He smiled briefly and said it was nothing for her to worry about. His reply angered her.
The more encounters Shirley had with this pastor, the more she knew her instincts about him were right. Now it was becoming sure that something was definitely wrong with him and her disliking was valid.
She was going to find out what that was. When she saw him sneaking around the ‘forbidden’ area, her skin crawled.
Shirley’s blood boiled to the point that even her husband knew it was better to remain silent. It would have been a different story if it had said “no one”, but to women out in this day and age was ridiculous.
Things only got worse when she noticed his behavior becoming more and more strange. It seemed like he was guarding the area around the altar. He was definitely hiding something.
Now it was getting out of hand and Shirley could not hold it any further. She waited until the pastor was turned away. Then she quickly slid behind the golden partition, pulled aside the velvet curtain and stepped into the forbidden zone. The first thing she found was a mound of dirt.
Tools, boxes, and debris lay cluttered around the small back room. There was an odd smell – damp and mouldy. She pinched her nose. It was almost completely dark. But the daylight managed to escape through the curtains making the dust particle shine like glitter. Suddenly, her heart dropped.
Shirley was so absorbed by the strange atmosphere that she almost fell to her death. In the middle of the stone floor, was a huge hole with a ladder beside it. He was digging inside the church? Why? What was going on?! There was no way she was turning back now. Shirley grabbed the ladder and made her way down.
Her heart pounded as she descended. The floorboard beneath the ladder creaked with every step she took. As she reached the end of the ladder, her imagination was in overdrive. There have been incidents of deranged priests and pastors and religious orders throughout history. She desperately hoped she wasn’t entering into another one.
Soon enough, her eyes adjusted to the darkness and she could just about make out a strange form sitting at the far end of the room. A pile of old and long slats of painted black wood sat on the sides.
When she finally realized the form they made, she gasped in horror and jumped back. But suddenly a foul smell reached her nose. Where could it be from?
Shirley was scared to death. It all made sense now. She steadied herself and tried to get photographic proof of this but now, it was getting scarier than ever.
She crept closer to the pile of wood. Boxes looked like they had been here for centuries. What was she looking at?
Shirley found coffins! Not just one or two but a huge pile of coffins! They seemed to be decaying. It was clear that they were hidden for decades.
Shirley hoped that the new pastor didn’t dig them up in some perverse search of his own. Disturbing burial chambers were supposed to be illegal. But there was only one way to find out.
Quickly, Shirley grabbed her phone from her pocket and took pictures of the creepy scene. She didn’t dare to go any closer when she saw some of the coffins had been opened.
No one would dare to look inside such coffins. Before she could click enough pictures, a strange sound came from behind.
She spun around. It was the pastor coming down the ladder. She panicked and twirled around, looking for somewhere to hide but it was too late.
He had already seen her. Shirley noticed the look of shock on his face to find her and knew things were going to become scarier. She had nowhere to hide.
Shirley changed her tactic and became the aggressor. Shirley pointed towards the coffins and demanded to know what was going on.
He glared back and said “I’ll tell you everything if you come with me.” He took her back to the main floor.
“What were you doing down there?”, the pastor asked. “Me?”, Shirley spat. “What are you doing down there? I’m sure whatever this is is illegal. Shame on you for disturbing the dead. I’ll report this for sure”. The pastor looked confused. “Wait, wait, wait”, he said. “You’re absolutely mistaken”. Shirley waited for the explanation.
She had heard stories like this on the news, but she never imagined it would happen only a few meters below her feet. She gazed at the pastor in amazement. This was why he was so secretive about the entire ordeal. He had stumbled upon an ancient burial ground that was completely unknown to the church. But how did he find it?
The pastor explained, “When I first arrived and took a tour of the church, I noticed that few things needed improvements. I kept the repairs as a secret gift for the community, but then disaster struck. One of the workers had lifted the heavy floor tile to put in a new one and found the hole. The long room was in fact a secret crypt.”
They weren’t ordinary coffins. They had found evidence that a couple important archbishops had made that spot their final resting place. Shirley crossed her arms and glared back at the pastor. The find might have been great for their church. But what about the sign?
He explained that he didn’t want women or children back there because the scene could be disturbing for those with sensitive hearts. This didn’t satisfy her. She immediately pointed out that in their congregation there was a woman medical examiner, dentist, construction worker, marathon runner, and truck driver. His thinking was entirely medieval – just like the crypt below them.
Whether or not he would adjust his mindset was yet to be determined. But at least, when they walked into service the next Sunday, the sign had been changed to “no one” and the find was announced to everyone. At least it was a step in the right direction.