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Indian Burial Ground

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The USA is having so many disasters and tragedies you'd almost think it was built on thousands of ancient Indian burial grounds.

A common explanation for supernatural goings-on in America, most commonly seen in movies coming in two common varieties: A Haunted House is built on an ancient Indian burial ground. The disturbed spirits of the ancients of the land then enact their bloody vengeance against those who wake them by turning off the lights, making hooting noises, creating flies and maybe, if they feel up to it despite being dead, killing people. Sometimes this isn't known or revealed until the end, sometimes it's known only to the greedy land developer who just doesn't care as long as he gets it cheap, or to people who don't believe in such nonsense but will by the end of the movie.

The other slightly less common version has the spirits of the dead not bothered by new construction (after all, people have to live somewhere). At least they weren't until someone dug up something they owned or disturbed their remains. At that point whoever did it or whoever was in the vicinity of it is cursed. Generally whatever horrible thing happens to the fool who did it will continue, following them from place to place no matter how far from the original burial ground they go, until they put whatever they took back or give the remains a proper burial. That activates the Curse Escape Clause and the dead go back to eternal resting until someone else decides to mess with them.

The reasons for the ancient Indian burial ground are plenty. Burial sites are often connected with Ancient Elder Evil, and, in the USA, unless your definition of "ancient" is pretty flexible, that means Native Americans. Some tribes didn't give their burial grounds signs that they were graveyards, such as tombstones, memorials or rolling clouds of Ominous Fog. Native Americans are stereotypically assumed to be more magical, and hence will have niftier ghosts. The plotline can play off the concept of The Savage Indian of The Western, or be used as a message about the Compassionate Native Who Got the Shaft from Settlers and then got an affordable three-bedroom home dumped on top of him by the evil real estate developer.

Older works may ignore the supernatural aspect completely. For example, in The Western, disrespect for an Indian burial ground may lead to attacks by their very living relatives. In comedies, an Indian burial ground may be seen as the equivalent of Buried Treasure. For example, in Our Miss Brooks and Petticoat Junction (see below), characters actively searched for lost Indian burial grounds in hopes of monetary reward or professional recognition.

This is mostly a Dead Horse Trope these days. If it gets used, it's often at least slightly tongue-in-cheek, humorous, lampshaded or subverted. In any plot with something weird happening, a Genre Savvy character may make the Obligatory Joke that it's due to an ancient Indian burial ground, even outside the Americas. On a more serious note, much like how Campbell Country is the non-American counterpart to Lovecraft Country, this trope can also be extrapolated to tombs and ruins from ancient cultures more appropriate in a given non-American setting. For example, stories set in Britain may use Celtic, Roman, Saxon, or Norse ruins to similar effect.

Truth in Television to a point: from time to time a real estate developer in America will actually be chagrined to discover that their brand new subdivision was at one time the cemetery of a local tribe or a forgotten frontier settlement. It's also worth noting that in decades past less scrupulous developers occasionally quietly disposed of such remains in the nearest empty hole, and even the more respectful tended to gather the remains and inter them en-mass in the local public cemetary with little to no effort made to identify them. This trope, however, seems be a case of a Space Whale Aesop resulting in positive real world changes: These days the discovery of such sites by developers not wishing to Tempt Fate note  usually results in very public demonstrations of utmost respect, proper archeological investigations, and dignified relocation or reinterring of the remains

Sub-Trope of Due to the Dead and Holy Ground (although, once disturbed, it can easily turn into Unholy Ground). Note that in many cultures, disturbing graves or other places related to the dead is regarded as dangerous.

Note that this trope refers to Native Americans, not people of the country (or subcontinent) of India. The majority of the people of India are Hindu, and hence usually get cremated instead. This wiki does not, however, recommend desecrating burial grounds in India purely on the basis of this loophole.

Compare Curse of the Pharaoh, Gypsy Curse, and Hollywood Voodoo, similar curse-related tropes with similar ethnic baggage.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Boneyard, a gargoyle jokes that the eponymous cemetery is built on the site of an Indian burial ground.
  • In one Donald Duck story, Indian Ghosts suddenly appear in Donald and the boys' house (after Donald made a huge short circuit by wiring all household appliances on one plug hole). Subverted, as the boys first think it's a case of ole' Indian burial ground, but it turns out, that it's an ancient Indian relaxation spot, and they find the house comfortable.
  • The Finder story "Third World" has an Ascian (a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to, in some ways, Native Americans) cemetery which is supposedly haunted and genuinely turns out to be the home of a Hate Plague-inducing nanotech AI.
  • In an issue of The Incredible Hulk, the eponymous Hulk lands in a Wild West Ghost Town, which was 'ghosted' by the vengeful ghosts of a nearby Indian Burial Ground, who were disturbed by the greed of the gold-miners. There, he gets attacked by Pariah, an undead cowboy wielding a Glowing Green Rock infused with the howling souls of a thousand angry indians.
  • In the Gold Key comic Ripley's Believe it Or Not: True Demons and Monsters, they had a bizarre inversion that used an ancient Celtic burial ground supposedly protected by draconic monsters. When stones from the burial ground decorated with the dragon gods were dug up and used to make a pool at an English estate, the pool was supposedly haunted by a murderous lizard man for decades until he was driven out by exorcism. Fun story if not exactly believable.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the original film version of The Amityville Horror, the house moved into by an otherwise happy family is revealed to be built on an Indian burial ground. As in, the Indians sent their crazy people to this land to die, though they didn't bury them. The bad spirits there cause the husband/father to grow his beard, become moody, and develop a worryingly close relationship with an axe.
  • At the start of Bone Eater, a construction crew desecrates one to build Dick Krantz's casino despite the local tribe's protests, awakening the titular monster which kills the crew employees. Krantz himself eventually pays dearly for his attempt when the monster comes to kill him.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn has a variant, with the final shot revealing that the vampire-infested strip club is actually the top layer of a mostly buried Mayincatec pyramid.
  • Grim Prairie Tales: Colby tries to make up lost time by cutting a across an Indian burial ground. Had he just kept riding, he might have been fine, but he just had to stop and pay Last Disrespects to a dying Indian. He then finds himself the target of a terrible vengeance from the tribe.
  • In Identity after a few of the cast have been picked off by the still unknown antagonist, Clea DuVall suggests that maybe this is a result of the motel being built upon an Indian burial ground, as it is detailed in a brochure she read about the area they are in. Given the subsequent events, this would have to be considered a subversion.
  • A ghostless version is used in Jeremiah Johnson. Johnson, after spending a good chunk of the movie getting to know his family and get settled into the life of a mountain man, is recruited by soldiers to lead them through the hazardous mountains to rescue a caravan stranded in Crow territory (Crow Indians are referred to as the more dangerous of the local bands in the movie). Johnson reluctantly agrees and takes leads them. However, they come across a Crow burial ground and Johnson refuses to pass through, saying its sacred and that even Crow people don't often step foot in them. The soldiers balk at his warning and ask how long it would take to go around. Johnson says it would take days and the soldiers press Johnson to lead them through the graveyard, which he does, warning the soldiers to go slowly in single file and be absolutely silent. They make it safely through the burial ground and get to the caravan, but when Johnson goes back through the sacred grounds he notices, to his horror, that one of the skeletons is adorned with his wife's blue bead jewelery. He rides home as fast as he can and finds both his wife and adopted son slaughtered.
  • The Australian film Kadaicha concerns a suburb that was built on top on an Aborigine burial ground where several tribesmen were murdered by white settlers. In the present, teenage residents of the town find themselves being haunted in their dreams by an eerie medicine man who marks them for death (usually at the hands of possessed animals) by leaving "kadaichi stones" on their nightstands.
  • Used by Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans, to hide from other Native Americans.
  • Pet Sematary has a well-marked Indian Burial Ground that could resurrect the dead. As one might expect, they Come Back Wrong. It's also something of a subversion, because it's implied that the burial ground was possessed not by the spirits of the dead natives, as in most Indian burial ground stories, but by a wendigo, a cannibalistic demon that could possess humans. Well before the white settlers move in, the Indians recognized the danger of the place and stopped using it.
  • Despite being found in parodies of Poltergeist, Poltergeist itself averts this trope. When Steven tries to get answers from the greedy land developer, his answer is along the lines of, "What's the problem? It's not like it was built on an Indian burial ground." (He's technically correct, as the subdivision in which Steven and his family reside was actually built over a regular cemetery; the curse-and-vengeance aspects of the trope still seem to apply, however.)
  • In Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, what's being built over an Indian burial ground is actually not a house, but a fast food restaurant. The title is kind of giveaway.
  • In The Shining, it is mentioned early on that the hotel was built on an old burial site.
  • In Scalps, a group of students go digging in an Indian burial ground and have to face a restless spirit.
  • In Star Wars, it's established that part of the reason the Jedi were unable to forsee the Revenge of the Sith was because they built their Temple on top of an ancient Sith shrine after the Great Hyperspace War in an attempt to neutralize the Dark Side energies it produced.
  • According to the Crusty Caretaker in Twisted Nightmare, the camp is built on one.
  • In the new Winnetou movies, Karl's companions disturb one. This results in an attack by the living Natives.
  • Within the Woods, a short film that Sam Raimi made in order to secure funding for The Evil Dead (1981), has Bruce Campbell disturbing an Indian burial ground.

  • In Dorothy Gilman's The Clairvoyant Countess, Madame Karitska warns an archeologist against digging one up.
  • Justified in Dead Beat, which establishes that reanimated bodies in the world of The Dresden Files have more power if they've been dead longer. Hence, necromancers prefer to call up the undead from the oldest burial sites a given continent has to offer. Or a local museum's dinosaur exhibit.
  • In the short story "The Devil and Tom Walker", Tom meets with Satan and makes his pact at a site where Native Americans used to meet to worship the Devil until they were driven from the area.
  • In How to Survive a Horror Movie, a sign your house may be haunted is Native Americans showing up to ask, "Where's our cemetary?"
  • This is inverted in the (supposedly) nonfiction book Hunt For The Skinwalker by Colm Kelleher and George Knapp, where a housing development for the Ute tribe in Utah was built over a graveyard home to mainly black Freemason soldiers.
    The tale reeks of irony. After decades of spooky Hollywood stories about greedy Caucasians building housing developments over Indian burial grounds, thus unleashing hostile Native American poltergeists bent on revenge, is it possible that Indian opportunists may have disturbed the spirits of dead African-American soldiers who, in life, were steeped in mystical arts?
  • In The Last Continent, Rincewind asks if the cursed beer warehouse was built on an Aboriginal Burial Ground or other sacred site. Subverted because he's told the natives said the builders were welcome to the land, it was completely unwanted and unsacred.
  • Mad Amos Malone: Alan Dean Foster wrote a short story, "Ferrohippus", about Mountain Man Mad Amos Malone aiding a tribe who were trying to keep railroad construction from disturbing their ancient burial site. It ended when the ancient unleashed a literal Iron Horse that tore up a section of the rail and chased off the foreman, causing the replacement foreman to decide that routing the line away from the site was a good idea.
  • A twist on this came in a novel, The Marshal, about an apparent ghost who seemed to be, or think he was, Wyatt Earp in late-1970s California. His appearances, though, were always preceded by a whistling noise somehow identified as being used by Sioux warriors, and no one could find any record of Wyatt Earp ever meeting a Sioux. At the very end of the book, it was found that Earp's grave was right next to that of a Sioux — and something had caused the Indian's headstone to fall against Earp's.
  • One Nightmare Room book, called Camp Nowhere had a camp that was built on ancient Native-American ground. The camp was cursed to vanish forever, but a deal was made to let the campers return as ghosts for two days every year.
  • Parodied in Kim Newman's short story "The Pale Spirit People", in which an Indian tribe in an After the End setting suffer from supernatural manifestations after locating their new burial ground on the former site of a suburban housing development.
  • This seems to be the explanation for quite a few of Stephen King's stories, most prominently Pet Sematary. Though, as mentioned above, whether the weirdness is due to haunting or something else entirely is left ambiguous.
  • In Tom King's short story "A Seat in the Garden", one suggestion one of the white folks gives for the presence of a Native ghost in his garden is that his home is on an Indian Burial Ground. However, it's much more likely to be a mutual hallucination.
  • In Sacred Ground by Mercedes Lackey, the book's villain invokes the trope by seeding a construction site with (stolen) Native American artifacts and arranging a few "accidents," causing the more superstitious workers (quite a few of whom are Native American themselves) to get spooked enough to refuse to continue working at the site. The book also plays with the trope in some other ways: messing around with Native American artifacts can bring on quite a bit of supernatural unpleasantness, and the ultimate source of the trouble that moves the book's plot is a burial site - albeit disturbed by erosion rather than the hand of man, which let out something very nasty the site was designed to contain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the premiere of Boss some workers discover an Indian burial ground while moving a Christian cemetery located on top of it. This severely derails the mayor's plans for extending the airport onto that site and threatens to put a stop to a massive 20-year redevelopment plan for the area. The man who failed to keep the discovery from the media gets his ears cut off as punishment.
  • The Hawaii The Brady Bunch episode has the boys returning a taboo statue to the burial ground of the first kings to stop the bad luck they think it's causing. They end up running into an old archaeologist, played by Vincent Price, who's desperate to protect his find, ties them up for a while and talks to the big statue there.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Pangs" concerns a tribal spirit that gets released when Xander excavates some land for a building site. Amongst other things, it gives him a venereal disease. Which one? All of them.
  • CSI: In the B Story of "The Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp", a skeleton is found on the site of Sam Braun's old casino as it is being demolished. When Sara investigates, she finds Native American artifacts near the remains, she calls a halt to everything until their origins can be determined. The developers are worried that the site is a Native American burial ground; not because of any curse but beacuse if it is, the whole project will have to be shut down until a complete archaeological examination is conducted. However, the bones turn out to belong to a reporter who was murdered in 1964 while dressed in a Native American stage costume, and whose body was dumped in the casino foundation.
  • On Friends one of the things that Phoebe brings to adorn Monica's new antique dollhouse is a handkerchief ghost. She claims that this is because the house is built on an ancient Indian burial ground. And a toxic waste dump.
  • In an episode of Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Jerry has to go to the basement of the Atlas Dinner and discovers a stone plate stating it was built on such ground.
  • The harvest festival on Parks and Recreation was built on Indian burial ground. The local tribal chief puts a curse on the festival (in spite of not believing in such nonsense) in order to get some negotiating leverage. When the town caves to his demands, he performs a spurious ceremony to remove the "curse."
  • Petticoat Junction: In "Hooterville Valley Project", Uncle Joe briefly tricks a state official into believing that the Shady Rest Hotel is the site of an Indian Burial Ground. Not to scare him off, but to set up a archeological dig that would derail Mr. Bedloe's plans to flood the area with a dam.
  • Inverted in Rutherford Falls, where some Native American characters come to believe that a cultural center located in an old colonial house is haunted by disgruntled white ghosts, and try to appease them using traditional gear such as Chardonnay, Cheers DVDs and Malcolm Gladwell books.
  • In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Hilda plans to put an Indian Burial Ground under an annoying neighbour's house, but Zelda stops her because that sort of thing affects the whole neighbourhood.
  • Variation: the Supernatural episode "Bugs" puts the killer bug infestation up to the fact that the houses were built on what had once been an Indian village. After the village was destroyed by the Europeans, the village chief cursed the land so that no white man could ever live there.
  • In The Waltons season 6 episode "The Warrior", the Walton's barn is revealed to have been built on an Indian burial ground, and an old Cherokee man who wishes to be buried there demands they tear it down and purify the land, because they are desecrating it, which Pa Walton is dead set against. Things come to a head when the Cherokee man sets fire to the barn and insists he will continue trying after he is arrested. Grandpa Walton confirms that the burial ground is there by digging up the floor, shattering their original beliefs in "morally righteous white settlers versus savage Indians". The old Cherokee man dies from the stress in his holding cell, and the Waltons agree to let his son bury him on another part of their land, surrounded by nature.
  • Inverted in an episode of Wellington Paranormal (a New Zealand parody of the X-files and Cops) when Sergeant Maaka discovers that the police station was overrun with ghosts because it was built on the site of an old cemetery belonging to what he calls the "Pākehā" (the Maori word for Caucasians).

  • In America's Most Haunted, the War Fort has apparently been turned into a burial ground for the former soldiers there.
    War Ghost: "You dare disturb the burial ground of brave Confederate soldiers?!"

  • Inverted in an episode of James Lileks's radio show The Diner. In the episode, James visits the Haunted Diner, which is haunted because they built an Indian burial ground on top of it.
  • Our Miss Brooks: The promise of a large reward sees Miss Brooks, Mr. Boynton and Walter Denton search for a lost Indian Burial Ground in the episode ''Indian Burial Ground''. The trope is partially subverted as the supernatural plays no role in the program. This is fortunate for Miss Brooks and company, as they end up digging up an empty lot in search of artifacts!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ghost Towns, a crossover between Werewolf: The Wild West and Wraith: The Oblivion, uses this as a possible scenario.
    • In the Wraith book Mediums: Speakers with the Dead, Native American burial mounds are called out as being one of the few places in the living world where the original Dark Kingdom of North America, which oversees the Native American dead, is still strong. (Most of North America is under the control of Stygia, Europe's Dark Kingdom.)

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In Beyond: Two Souls, Jodie stays in a ranch owned by a Navajo family, which happens to be haunted by a restless spirit summoned by their ancestors.
  • Played with in Dark Fall : Ghost Vigil. Investigating the haunting at Harwood House, you discover that a (British) burial site had been bulldozed and the bones, dumped in a hole by some would-be renovators in the 90s. The twist is, Harwood House was already so intensely haunted, by ghosts from the 18th century, the 1920s, and The '80s, that a few additional spirits riled over the recent disturbance of their graves would just be more faces in a very large crowd.
  • In The Darkside Detective, the gate attendant at the camp ground claims it was built on the site of a massacre, and is haunted by the unquiet spririts of the Indians who died there.
  • Ghost Master has an Indian ghost with a shed built on top of his grave.
  • The eponymous Joe's Diner was built on top of one. As a result, the place is haunted by the ghosts of two Native American cheiftans currently buried there.
  • In the Arena of the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3, when you're helping debug the program the guy you're helping will joke that they've been having so many problems with their equipment that it's been speculated that the Arena was built over an old Prothean burial ground.
  • In the second Oddworld game, Abe's Exoddus the Glukkons are making their Soulstorm Brew from the bones of ancient Mudukons buried in their ancient burial ground, the Necrum. To add further insult, the miners are blinded Mudokon slaves who aren't aware that they're desecrating their own ancestors. The game starts with the spirits of those ancient bones contacting Abe to shut down the brewery like he did Rupture Farms.
  • Psychonauts:
    • Lampshaded and subverted in a conversation with Frankie to Hand Wave why so many psitanium arrowheads, the currency of the game, are buried around the camp.
      Frankie: The camp is built on an Indian burial ground and—
      Raz: Oh my gosh! Indians buried their dead here?!
      Frankie: Ewwww! I hope not. No, stupid, they buried their arrowheads here.
    • Further played with during Vernon's story about the Ancient Indian Summer Camp built on top of a Caveman Burial Ground.
  • In The Sims 3,moving into a new house can trigger the "Indian Burial Ground" opportunity, summoning a few ghosts into the property. The player can choose to keep them or ask the repoman for help.
  • In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, Indian Burial Grounds are a terrain type in the "Bring the Crunch" DLC where if characters die on certain tiles they'll be revived with buffs and have the Confused status, which causes them to attack both friends and allies. In the story, after encountering a dying camp counselor the kids decide to use the dirt of said burial grounds to try and save him. It promptly fails and the Creepy Gas-Station Attendant constantly following you tells you that the revival aspect was just a gameplay mechanic.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • In the fifth Scream Fortress event, the Mann brothers have died and the mercs job is to push the other brother's corpse into a portal to Hell. Said portal was discovered by a mining operation taking place in an Indian Burial Ground, which the Mann brothers facepalm over and ask why they didn't move the operation to a less haunted place. Said discovery also caused an army of skeletons to rise, acting as the neutral enemies for the map.
    • Subverted in the sixth Scream Fortress event, where Merasmus forgets to build his Amusement Park of Doom over a Sumerian burial ground, which causes it not to work properly. He figures out a loophole and hires the mercenaries to kill people to provide enough bodies to create a "burial" ground for the amusement park.
  • In Until Dawn, Mount Washington is described as sacred to the Cree and the presence of the Wendigo were due to a curse placed on the land. This would mean the Washington estate, the sanatorium and most especially the mines were all built on native holy ground.


    Web Original 
  • 5 Second Films has "The Used Car":
    "You don't want this one. It was built on an Indian burial ground. And there's a stuck tape."
  • The 1491s: Migizi is unfazed by Dallas's claim of being haunted by an Indian man in "Cabin in the... Forestses," stating that his isolated log cabin was built on an Indian burial ground. They set out a spirit plate for the ghost, who pulls out cutlery and a napkin to eat their offering and smokes their provided cigarette before happily skipping off into the woods.
  • Several Creepy Pastas deal with this.
    • Sniff is about a guy whose Granny's house in Glasgow is built on a collapsed mine. The story recounts how the narrator was woken up one night by the sound of sniffing. The house is haunted by one of the pit mules trapped in the accident.
    • The Smiling Woman involves a First-Nations kid who accidentally desecrated a grave while playing in the woods one day, unleashing a demon who kidnaps children on his hometown
    • Cabin Getaway (later novelized as Stolen Tongues) involves the characters girlfriend being attacked by F.N. ghosts when they visit her fsther's cabin in Michegan, which was actually built on an ancient indian battlefield which became Unholy Ground due to the ritual desecration performed on the losing side's corpses.
    • In ''The Ozark Cable Incident," the local TV station had purchased an abandoned insane asylum, with attached cemetery. The company bulldozed the hospital and dug up the graveyard to make room for a bigger facility. The town's TV's would occasionally show images of a man with his eyes gouged out, and rotting corpses until the CEO of the company was persecuted for the desecration.
  • A variation in Doom House, the house turns out to be built on a "terrorist burial camp".
  • In Freeman's Mind, Gordon Freeman speculates early on that the Black Mesa research lab was built on an Indian burial ground, given its New Mexico location. He starts doubting it later on when finding that the entire facility is built inside a literal mesa.
  • Marik in Marik Plays Bloodlines searches a hotel haunted by Mel Gibson:
    "Ironically, there was an Indian burial ground built on top of the hotel!"
  • The Onion: Report: Economy Failing Because U.S. Built on Ancient Indian Burial Ground"
  • SCP-4697 is a former First Nations residential school in northern Ontario with a mass grave of deceased students on the premises, which is fittingly spectacularly haunted. The Foundation's ongoing refusal to return the remains of the deceased students to their families is clearly not helping.
  • Lampshaded in Zombie Roadkill. Witches came in and burned the Indians' virgins, then cannibals ate the witches, then the government built a lab and experimented on murderers and child molesters. Then they built a cursed highway over it.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Back at the Barnyard had Otis disturbing the spirits of deceased house pets when he built a shack over where they were buried.
  • Drawn Together has the episode "Ghostesses In the Slot Machines", where the cast discovers that the house was built on top of an ancient Indian burial ground during a remodeling challenge which disturbs the spirits and makes them haunt the house. To appease them, the housemates gives them a muddy patch of dirt in the backyard where the swingset used to be. The spirits wants to honor the land like their ancestors would have wanted; by building a casino on it.
    Princess Clara: Genocide is easily rectified through inadequate compensation!
  • One episode of Family Guy ("Petergeist") parodied the film Poltergeist (despite it being a regular cemetery in the film). Peter builds a multiplex in the back yard, then discovers that underneath is an Indian burial ground. He then finds an ancient Indian skull and uses it as codpiece. And then uses it to pee in. You'd think building a multiplex over an Indian burial ground would be enough to get him haunted for life, but noooo...
  • The song "Rockin' the Suburbs" used as the ending song for Over the Hedge had the verse:
    In our house, safe and sound—
    Built on Indian burial grounds
  • When Dr. Doofensmirtz is about to get kicked out of his building in Phineas and Ferb, he tries to spread this rumour to make it unsellable. As all his endeavours, this does not work.
  • The Real Ghostbusters used this a few times:
    • In one episode, the Monster of the Week was the result of toxic waste being dumped on an Indian burial ground.
    • In another episode, a farm is haunted by the zombified family who used to own the place, because a later owner removed the tombstones from the family cemetery and built over it. (Ray says that this "meets all the criteria" for this type of haunting.)
    • In yet another episode, a roller coaster at a carnival becomes "possessed" by the spirits of animals who died in a fire at a previous carnival that was on the site of the current one.
    • Variant: "Night Game" had a site where ancient Native American spirits fought a war every five hundred years. In the present day, a minor-league baseball stadium was built over the site, so the latest skirmish between good and evil took the form of a baseball game... with Winston as shortstop.
  • Mentioned on Rugrats when the Carmichaels move in across the street from the Pickles. At the end of the episode, Randy Carmichael jokingly wonders if "that ancient Indian curse" their realtor warned them about has manifested in their next door neighbor Stu.
    Didi: Looks like someone's finally taking the Peytons' place.
    Betty: Yep, must be nobody told them about the house being built on an ancient Indian burial ground.
    Didi: Oh, Betty, that's just a myth.
    Betty: Yeah? Tell that to the Peytons.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the very first "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween special, it turns out the Simpsons' new house is cursed because it was built on Indian burial grounds. When he discovers this, Homer calls the realtor who sold the house to him and angrily accuses him of keeping it secret. He apparently mentioned it five or six times.
      Lisa: An ancient Indian burial ground!
      Bart: Wow, this place has everything!
    • In "Treehouse of Horror V", the first segment is a The Shining parody, with the Simpson family moving into a haunted hotel.
      Mr. Burns: This house has quite a long and colorful history. It was built on an ancient Indian burial ground and was the setting of satanic rituals, witch-burnings, and five John Denver Christmas specials.
      Homer Simpson: [shivers in fear] John Denver...
    • Mentioned in "Kamp Krusty" when Krusty the Klown reveals that the titular camp was built on an Indian burial ground. Subverted in that this fact is actually a sign of the camp's dismal quality, rather than actually affecting it. In the Simpsons' world, Krusty merchandise tends to be extremely shoddy and poor quality, if not outright dangerous to use.
  • South Park:
    • The pet shop in the episode with the evil twins from the Mirror Universe was built on an Indian cemetery. Though, that wasn't enough to anger the spirits, as the owner, one night, dug up the bodies, pissed on their bones, and buried them back upside down.
      Kyle: Why!?
      Store owner: Why? I don't know. I was drunk.
    • "Margorine" parodies Pet Sematary (1989) when Butters' dad buries a dead pig (who he thinks is the dead Butters) in an ancient Indian burial ground to resurrect him. When Butters (who was Faking the Dead the whole time) returns, his dad assumes he Came Back Wrong and locks him in the basement.
    • "Asspen" has a character note that, among other things, K-13 was used as a burial ground by "a tribe of vampire Wichita Indians who ate the flesh of children with no eyes."
  • In The Venture Bros., the Venture compound was built over an Apache burial ground. Their ghosts rise from the dead and wreak havoc every year on "the anniversary," to the point that bodyguard Brock Samson considers it more of an annoyance than anything. Usually Dr. Orpheus, necromancer extraordinaire, takes care of it.
  • Yvon of the Yukon has one of the main characters bring a visitor on a tour of his town, noting a ridiculous amount of buildings built upon an 'ancient Indian burial ground.' The one thing that wasn't was the modern Indian burial ground, which uses the latest in technology to ensure nobody can build on top of it.

    Real Life 
  • In Seattle, Washington, the famous Pike Place Market is built over an Indian Burial Ground according to historical record. This is just one of the many spooky facts about this location, no wonder people think it's haunted.
  • When construction began on the Superdome in New Orleans, the graves of the victims of yellow fever turned up. Some claim this was why it took the Saints two decades to get a winning season and a couple more to get to the Super Bowl.
  • The prospective wind farm planned for a few miles offshore of Cape Cod has run into this among its many, many public relations problems. It's not so much the issue of a curse they're worried about as it is the protests of living Native Americans. This is not, incidentally, an example of Native Americans practicing burial at sea. The wind farm is to be built on a shoal that's all that remains of a peninsula where the Wampanoag buried their dead that began to sink beneath the waves about six thousand years ago. To the Wampanoag, this is like building a power plant on top of Stonehenge.
  • In the state of Kansas, only Indians get to run true casinos, with a handful of exceptions which are mostly in Development Hell. Indian casinos must be on Indian land. Kansas City, Kansas had an Indian burial ground right in the heart of downtown; once gambling became entrenched on the Missouri side of the KC metro area, the Indians who owned the burial ground built a casino right on top of it. KCK tried to shut the place down, but failed.
  • Also in Kansas, this time the Western half of the state, there used to be a roadside attraction built on an Indian Burial Ground. The nature of the attraction? The unearthed and lacquered remains of said Indians.
  • Land belonging to California State University Long Beach was found to contain an Indian burial ground/sacred site when development unearthed human remains. There have been occasional plans to turn it into a mini-mall or parking lot, but after the college endured protests it has been left undisturbed and undeveloped. The remains that were revealed in the initial development were reburied by modern descendants of the tribe.
  • Protests erupted over a developer being allowed to build his retirement house over a First Nation burial ground on Grace Islet on Saltspring Island, Canada, especially as BC law is meant to give legal protection to funeral cairns. Ultimately, the BC government bought the land from the developer and demolished the partially-built house in 2015.
  • Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, located in West Virginia, was built on top of a desecrated Indian burial ground which was the site of the Mitchell Clay settler farm in 1783. Three of the Clay children were killed by natives; Mitchell Clay led a group of settlers in retaliation, killing several Indians. In the 1920s, it was purchased and developed into an amusement park. At least two park-goers were killed and the park was abandoned in 1966, with rumours of it being cursed and haunted. It was reopened in the 1980s, then closed again amid rumours of haunting. Still an Abandoned Playground to this day, tours are run in the days before Halloween.
  • Beloit College, in Beloit, Wisconsin, is built among indigenous burial mounds. In the college's early days, the Anthropology Department sometimes excavated them, though that particular practice has fallen out of favor. Woe to any unsuspecting freshman that forgets to avoid them while walking across the quad, as the student body has become very protective of the mounds' sanctity.


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Alternative Title(s): Ancient Indian Burial Ground


The Bleaching Ponds

A European variant of the trope:
This intro to the series gives a glimpse into the rather unsavoury, haunted history of the foundation that Copenhagen's Kingdom Hospital was built on.

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Main / IndianBurialGround

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