The Chase Vault, located on the island of Barbados in the Caribbean, is a chilling and sinister mystery. It’s located in Christ Church Parish and was purchased by James Elliot in 1724. This incredible structure is made of carved stone, coral, and concrete walls over two feet thick and has a grandiose entrance that consists of an enormous blue slab of marble which seals the tomb. Bizarre and unexplained phenomena have been associated with this burial vault for years. So mysterious, that it even caused the governor of Barbados to take action.
The first to occupy the vault in 1792 was James Elliot’s wife, Elizabeth. Years later, the vault was purchased by the Walrond family and was re-opened to receive the body of Mrs. Thomasina Goddard in 1807. To their surprise, upon removing the marble slab from the front of the door, Mrs. Elliot and her coffin weren’t there. The reason for the disappearance is unknown.
The tomb was then purchased by the wealthy Chase Family in 1808 to use as their family tomb and allowed the body of Goddard to remain within the vault. In 1808, an infant born in the Chase family tragically died and was interred within the tomb. Four years later, under mysterious circumstances, the infants own sister died in 1812 and was buried within the vault. Years later, Thomas Chase died as well where his corpse joined theirs. Many believe he was an abusive man and drove his daughter to suicide.
Paranormal things began happening in the vault following his death. Every time the vault was opened, coffins had changed positions. According to old folklore:
…it was during the interment of Thomas Chase that the paranormal characteristics of the vault came to manifest themselves. Upon shifting the huge marble slab to bring in Chase’s casket, it was discovered that at some point the coffin of Dorcas Chase had mysteriously moved so that it was standing upright and upside down against one of the walls. The baby’s coffin has also been moved against the wall. It was not immediately apparent as to how such heavy metal caskets had been thrown into such drastic disarray, especially as no one else was known to have entered the vault since Dorcas’ death and the marble slab had remained exactly as it had been left. In addition, the coffins and the bodies had not been disturbed and nothing had been stolen. The incident was blamed on vandals, the coffins put back where they belonged, and the vault was resealed even tighter than it had been before to deter any future break-ins.
As if things weren’t already strange enough, in 1816, an 11 year old boy by the name of Charles Brewster Ames was buried there. After unsealing the tomb, it was evident that all of the coffins, including the enormous one of Thomas Chase, had been moved around the room as though someone had tossed them around like toys. No evidence of tampering on the door was found.
The phenomena caught the attention of the governor of Barbados who had tried his hardest to seal off the tomb to avoid any future disturbances. Eight months after sealing the vault and confident that nothing could get in and shift the coffins around, the governor’s curiosity lead him back.
He was relieved there had been no signs of attempted forced entry but when he and a few others entered the tomb, Mr. Chase’s coffin had been thrown up against the marble entrance. What shocked the governor and those present even more was how the coffins were again in disorder. They were more violently moved than they had been on the previous occasions.
Detailed drawings of the coffin placement before and after
“Some of the coffins were described as being upended and tossed upon each other, and the infant Mary-Anne’s coffin had been smashed against a wall with such force that a chunk had broken off the corner.”
The governor decided he’d put an end to the grim sign and ordered the interred bodies to be buried in individual graves throughout Christ Church Parish. The Chase Vault remains empty to this very day due to the infamous moving coffins that cannot be explained.
Check out this video with Kevin Farmer, Curator of History and Archaeology at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.