For some time I wanted to create a grave slab marker for the cemetery, something that was different than the typical tombstones. In looking around for ideas I came accross the now retired Hallowed Haunting Grounds and their fantastic grave slab. I really liked the look of it and so I made mine virtually the same design. It is all 2x4 lumber except for the top which I made out of 3/4" extruded foam board so I could carve an epitaph. The name Leota pays homage to Leota Toombs of the Disney Haunted Mansion.

Just as Gary Corb's version at the Hallowed Haunting Grounds, I wanted to animate the lid, but when I built it in 2010 it was already October and I didn't have time to do more than leave it static. In 2011 I had time to work further on it. I opted for a 11.5 RPM Dayton gearmotor (model# 1MBF6). It works well but the noise from the motor is more than I would like. The motor was attached to a Congress v-belt pulley that is 8" in diameter and 1/2" bore (Grainger item# 3X926). I used a small piece of 3/8" pex pipe over the shaft of the motor to better fit the pulley. The original version of the Hallowed Haunting Grounds has the lid more shifted while mine is mostly closed and aligned at the foot end.

I retrofitted some caster wheels to the frame so that the lid could more easily slide. The pivot at the feet is resting on a piece of 1" PVC that protrudes from the frame. The lid has a recessed 1-1/4" ring of PVC that fits nicely over it. I took some photos of most of the elements so you can see them below.

A stone grinding sound was put on an mp3 player and loops continuously through some powered PC speakers. The motor and speakers are triggered by a motion sensor relay so that the effect runs for about 7 or 8 seconds and then stops.

Lastly we weren't happy with the original dark green paint color which was meant to look like a metal. In the day it was fine, but at night it was hard to see against the lawn. I repainted it a very light gray to give it more contrast at night with some cracks and veining. I also added a skeleton hand to the opening side to give the illusion that the occupant is trying to get out.

Click for a video of the grave slab...

Here are photos of the build and completed project...

The base frame from 2 by 4's before any primer or paint. The framing of the lid (in progress).
Here the base and lid are primed white, but the 3/4" foam lid is not as of yet. Just a test fitting for size. The original paint that was used for 2010. It was hard to see the grave slab after dark, even with our lighting so we decided to repaint a lighter color for 2011.
Initial test setup with the new 2011 paint. Another shot of the new paint. A simple finish but I think it looks much better than before.
This is the small ring of 1-1/4" PVC that is recessed into the lid for the foot end to pivot on. I just used some silicone to glue it in the bored hole. And this is the protruding 1" PVC from the foot of the frame that the lid rests on.
This shows you the motor, v-belt pulley drive wheel, the caster wheels that the lid slides on, and the connecting flat aluminum bar which attached the motor to the lid. Addition of the skeleton hand. Is he trying to get out?
The best method I've come up with to attach the foam sheet to the top of the wooden lid... I embedded 1/2" diameter magnets in both the wood base and the foam. They were glued in with silicone after verifying the correct polarity. The top now attaches and removes easily, but holds on during prop use outside in the wind.