The winds that toppled trees, knocked out power and carved a path of devastation through Connecticut Monday night, also led to a strange discovery on the New Haven Green.
A giant oak tree that stood in the downtown park since 1909 lost its footing in the powerful storm and tipped to the ground revealing human remains and what city officials believe to be some type of time capsule, tangled in its roots.
“You think it’s the hurricane? I think it’s a dead man trying to tell a tale,” a passerby, Curtis T told the New Haven Independent.
Though city officials were aware of the Green’s past as a burial ground, they did not believe that any bodies remained until calls came in on Halloween eve, reporting the grisly discovery.
Katie Carbo told the Independent that at around 3 p.m. Tuesday she called police, who confirmed her finding—an upside-down human skull, mouth agape, connected to a spine and rib cage.
City officials have also taken custody of cement box found among the bones, which they will decide what to do with at a later date, a city spokesperson said.
Even before she arrived, local artist Silas Finch said he had been digging around beneath the upended tree shortly after it fell Monday night. According to the Independent, he says he was searching for old coins but found what appeared to be a long bone instead.
The Lincoln Oak, planted on the 100th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth, is believed to have toppled at about 6 p.m. Monday, during the height of Hurricane Sandy, the Independent reported.
Police, who roped off the area about 24 hours later, and are holding the crime scene until the state medical examiner’s office arrives to retrieve the bones, do not suspect foul play, according to the Independent.
“This is someone’s family remains,” Sgt. Anthony Zona told the paper. “It should be given a proper burial.”