Joanne Cullen said she was visiting her parents’ graves at a Long Island cemetery when the earth suddenly opened up, sucking her straight into the final resting place of her beloved mother and father.
Now the woman is suing St. Charles Resurrection Cemetery, claiming that she was injured after being sucked into the sinkhole and striking her head on the tombstone. As the New York Post reported, Cullen has filed suit to cover the damages and injuries she suffered from the strange mishap, which included a chipped tooth.
She is asking for $5 million in total, claiming that the graves were improperly dug, causing an air pocket to sit above their graves and lead to the collapse into a sinkhole.
“Getting sucked into your parents’ grave when you go to visit them on a cool December afternoon with the sun going down … it’s terrifying and traumatizing,” said her lawyer, Joseph Perrini.
The 64-year-old Cullen said the incident was so traumatizing, she has not been able to return to the final resting place of her parents and has been left with nightmares about the incident. Cullen said she has suffered physical effects as well, including recurring headaches.
Cullen’s lawsuit drew some viral attention, with many sharing details of her bizarre and frightening circumstances on social media. Others commented that the circumstances sounded like something out of a horror film, with the earth literally spreading apart and pulling the woman into a suddenly open grave.
— John Levenstein (@johnlevenstein) March 17, 2019
The story was reminiscent of another cemetery-related lawsuit that took place last year. As the New York Post reported, a Florida man named Yakov Sherman sued a Queens chapel and cemetery after his father’s coffin was dropped during burial, causing his corpse to fall out in front of terrified family members.
“While lowering the coffin into the grave, the defendant’s employees dropped the coffin,” which led to “the body of Aron Sherman was ejected from the coffin,” the lawsuit claimed.
The suit said that the man’s body fell into the dirt of the burial plot, and that family members had to be ushered away as cemetery workers retrieved the man’s body. The lawsuit named the Parkside Memorial funeral home, but a representative for the home said that the accident was the fault of cemetery workers and that the funeral home had no connection to the casket’s handling at the funeral itself.
Like Joanne Cullen in Long Island, Yakov Sherman sought $5 million in his lawsuit.