Graves and cemeteries are inherently spooky places. Even the best kept and cleanest ones carry with them some intangible air of death and decay.
They are reminders of our mortality and where we will end up some day after we’ve cast off our mortal coil. These places are even spookier when they carry unexplained, supernatural mysteries. Graves, tombs, and cemeteries have long been known as places for paranormal or ghostly occurrences, and to find one of the more bizarre cases, one only has to look to the Caribbean paradise of Barbados.
Barbados is an island in the Lesser Antilles of the southern Caribbean Sea and is best known as a sun-kissed, tropical island paradise popular among tourists and travelers aboard cruise ships. It is lesser known for its mysterious burial vault long known for the bizarre and unexplainable phenomena associated with it.
In the early 19th century, starting from the year 1807, the Chase Family Vault in the Christ Church Parish cemetery of Barbados, quickly gained notoriety as a hotbed of supernatural activity, and has become one of the most enduring and enigmatic mysteries on the island.
The Chase Family vault is a burial vault located on a hill overlooking the Caribbean at the entrance to the Christ Church Parish cemetery, an ancient colonial cemetery which is near the village of Oistin on the southern coast of Barbados.
The vault was built half sunken into the ground and is constructed out of compacted blocks of the coral that makes up much of the island’s foundations, as well as concrete. The vault is entered via descending stone steps and sealed by an enormous slab of blue marble that reportedly required 6 or 7 men to move.
The Chase Vault was originally constructed for a Mr. James Elliot in 1724 and had already been old and weathered by time and the salty air when it was purchased in the year 1808 by the wealthy Chase Family of Barbados for use as a family tomb. The Chase family was not liked by the local people due to their eccentric behavior and vicious treatment of their slaves. T
he original owner, James Elliot, had never actually been buried within the vault and at the time of the purchase only one body had already been interred there, a Ms. Thomasina Goddard, who was housed there in 1807. The head of the family, Colonel Thomas Chase, decided not to disturb Goddard’s body and allowed it to stay within the vault. Goddard would not remain alone within the tomb for long.
In 1808, an infant born in the Chase family by the name of Mary-Anne Maria Chase, died and was interred within the vault within a heavy lead casket. In a tragic and almost sinister turn of events, the infant’s own sister, Dorcas Chase, died under mysterious circumstances 4 years later in 1812. It is said that her father’s abuse and cruelty had driven her to commit suicide by starving herself to death.
Dorcas was similarly buried within the vault in a heavy metal casket that took several people to haul down into the darkness. Death was not done with the family just yet. In August of 1812, just a month after the death of his daughter, Dorcas, Thomas Chase himself died. Ominously, his cause of death was also reportedly suicide. Thomas Chase’s body subsequently joined those of his two daughters within the vault when he was buried in a very heavy metal casket that reportedly weighed around 240 pounds and allegedly took 8 men to carry down and put in place.
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