The Chase Vault

Contributed by Matthew Hucke (

In Christ Church cemetery on the island of Barbados there is a burial vault of unknown origin. The earliest records call it the “Chase vault”. It was first used for the burial of a Mrs. Goddard in 1807, followed by two-year-old Mary Ann Chase in 1808 and her sister Dorcas in 1812, a probable suicide. A few weeks later, Dorcas’ father Thomas Chase died. When the vault was opened, all the coffins had been moved from their original places. It was thought that thieves had been in the vault, but the concrete seal of the tomb was still in place.

Two more burials were made in 1816. In both cases, when the vault was opened, the coffins already present had been moved about. The casket of Thomas Chase was of lead, weighing 240 pounds, far too large to be moved by a single vandal. In each of these burials, the wor- kers returned the coffins to their proper places and sealed the mauso- leum with cement.

It happened again in 1819. This time, the Governor sprinkled sand on the floor (to show footprints), and pressed his personal seal into the fresh cement. In 1820 the tomb was opened again, and the coffins were again out of place, even though no footprints showed and the concrete seal was undisturbed. The governor ordered the coffins removed and the vault left open; the mystery has never been solved.

[ information taken from Daniel Cohen’s _The Encyclopedia of Ghosts_, Avon Books 1984.]

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