Not many of us like to hang around graveyards or cemeteries due to them reminding us of our mortality. Most of these places seem even more disturbing when they harbor reports of the unexplained.
The bizarre phenomena of the creeping coffins of Barbados made one such cemetery even more threatening…
The Chase Family Vault
This story starts way back in 1807 when the Chase Family Vault started to show signs of strange and unexplained activity.
The vault was situated in the Christ Church Parish Cemetery of Barbados built half sunken into the surrounding ground with a mix of coral and concrete blocks. There was an old stone staircase leading down into the vault itself but it was sealed off by a huge marble door slab.
It wasn’t originally meant for the Chase family as Mr. James Elliot had it built for his own purposes in 1724. Obviously by the time the Chase family bought it in 1808 it was already showing signs of age.
There was only one body at rest in the vault when it was purchased in 1808 and it was that of Ms.Thomasina Goddard. She had been laid to rest there a year before.
The head of the Chase family (Thomas Chase) decided that it would be very wrong to remove her body from her initial resting place so he allowed it to remain in the vault.
Inside The Vault
Tragically the vault did not stay that empty for long – soon Ms.Thomasina Goddard was joined by an infant from the Chase family.
She was named Mary-Anne Maria Chase and she had died suddenly in 1808. She was placed in a lead casket and laid to rest inside the vault.
Unfortunately more tragedy hit the Chase family when Mary-Anne’s sister died 4 years later in 1812. This death was considered a little strange though – it is said that her father was so awful to her she decided to take her own life!
A month after his second daughter was laid in the vault Thomas Chase himself was found dead by apparent suicide. All three of them now lay at peace in the mysterious vault…or did they?
The reports of the creeping coffins of Barbados came about during the burial of Thomas Chase.
When they were carrying down Chase’s casket they noticed that strange going’s on had been happening inside the vault.
His eldest daughter’s casket now stood upright and upside down against one of the vault walls whilst his infant daughter’s casket had also been moved up against a wall. Both of these caskets were made out of heavy metal and the vault had been locked by the huge marble tablet door.
Nothing had been taken though – so why would someone take the time (and extreme effort) to break into the Chase family vault?
Charles Brewster Ames
The mystery of the creeping coffins of Barbados was forgotten about until 1816 when an eleven year old boy named Charles Brewster Ames was laid to rest in the vault.
Once again the coffins within the vault were thrown all over the place including the huge casket which housed Thomas Chase.
There was again no sign of any break in and nothing had been taken. The workers moved the coffins to their original places and resealed the vault.
Two More Souls…
Two more times the vault was reopened. One more time in 1816 for Samuel Brewster and again in 1819 for a Thomasina Clark.
As before the inside of the vault was in a complete mess of coffins – the only one that was untouched was the original occupant of the vault (Ms.Thomasina Goddard).
Lord Combermere was the governor of Barbados at the time and the stories surrounding the creeping coffins of Barbados started to filter through to him.
He actually attended the funeral of Thomas Chase and he was desperate to find out what had happened. He sent some of his men into the vault to check for reasons why this strange occurrence kept on happening.
They returned to him and informed him that the vault was absolutely safe and secure. He decided to have the marble entrance slab completely sealed and laid a thin film of white sand across the floor. If anyone got into the vault there would be a record of their footprints within the sand.
They waited a full 8 months before the governor decided it was time to check the vault for signs of intruders. When they arrived at there the marble slab was still completely sealed so they all breathed a sigh of relief and started to leave.
But something stopped the governor – something was not quite right in his mind!
He ordered the vault to be unsealed and opened and he was confronted by yet another scene of mystery. Thomas Chase’s coffin was against the marble slab making it very hard for entry. The rest of the coffins were again thrown up against walls and laid on top of one another.
The white sand that lined the floor of the vault remained completely untouched…
Enough is Enough!
The Governor decided enough was enough and ordered the Chase caskets to be buried individually around the cemetery. The Chase vault never had any other occupants after this and still stands vacant to this day.
The mystery of the creeping coffins of Barbados lies deep within it’s cold. dark walls…