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Haunted Locations: Richmond, Virginia, USA

The Richmond Vampire



Welcome back to another weird Wednesday where we explore all things creepy, terrifying, and immortal.

 

Like urban legends.

 

Next to the Hollywood Cemetery sits a long-condemned tunnel. The Church Hill Tunnel, which was a railway passthrough - built in 1873 - has a long-standing history of being cursed. Throughout the century, the tunnel has flooded, and experienced many cave-ins, oftentimes, resulting in the deaths of workers. Its proximity to the nearby Hollywood Cemetery, and an especially catastrophic cave in that occurred in 1925, led to the birth of an eerie urban legend.

 

The Richmond Vampire.

 

Legend has it that there is a vampire that resides in a tomb in the Hollywood Cemetery and stalks the Church Hill Tunnel, causing accidents, and cave-ins, and feasting on the victims. It is told that the vampire drinks the blood of his victims and has been seen chasing men out of the cave, his partially decomposed skin hanging off his body, and blood dripping from his fanged mouth. After he sucks the blood of his victims and wreaks havoc, he runs back to his tomb in the Hollywood Cemetery.

The legend says that a man by the name of W.W. Pool is said vampire. The story states that he was run out of England for being a vampire, and came to Virginia, to carry on his nefarious ways. But a closer look at the evidence shows that W.W. Pool, an average man who was born in Virginia, was a well-respected clerk, and accountant, who died of pneumonia, in 1922. He was laid to rest alongside his family, in their tomb, in the Hollywood Cemetery.

 

So, how did this seemingly ordinary man acquire such a notorious label after his death?

 

For one thing, most of the other family tombs in the Hollywood Cemetery, are built in a Greco-Roman style, whereas Pool’s family tomb was built in a more ancient Egyptian style. When people think of ancient Egypt, they often think of mummification, and the ideals of living on forever in the afterlife. In addition to this, the only engravings on the front of the tomb are the name W.W. Pool at the top and the year 1913 (the year his wife was buried) on another section. The fact that there is no death date for Pool himself, has led to rumours of him being immortal.

 

Additionally, it appears that students from a nearby college are at fault for starting and continuing to fuel this urban legend. There have been claims of cult members gathering at the tomb to preform satanic rituals over the years, but there has never been any incident of this nature recorded. The evidence leans heavily toward the culprits being drunken students, sneaking into the tomb over the years, trying to scare each other and themselves. There is evidence of medical students sneaking into the tomb, as part of a student initiation ritual in the 1960s and stealing body parts. It became such a big problem that the cemetery moved all remains from the tomb, and they are now buried in an undisclosed location somewhere else in the cemetery. It has been widely stated that students have been messing around in the Pool family tomb for decades.

 

So, what does the Church Hill Tunnel have to do with this legend?

 

Since beginning construction on the tunnel, the entire project seemed doomed. The unstable nature of the clay made it very difficult to dig the tunnel and keep it from shifting, or caving in. Across the century, there have been numerous cave-ins so severe, the ground and buildings atop the tunnel suffered extreme damage, including collapse. Some of the more major cave-ins also resulted in the deaths of at least ten men. Some of the bodies are still trapped under the rubble.

 

There are accounts of people hearing strange noises coming from the tunnel, including cries for help and the blast of a steam engine. Perhaps it is haunted by the entombed train and the ghosts of the men whose bodies are still trapped inside but what of a vampire?

 

According to the urban legend, the Richmond Vampire is the cause of the tunnel’s string of bad luck. It is most likely that what occurred during and after the final cave-in, in 1925, is what influenced the story told today.

 

On that fateful day, in 1925, a group of men were working in the tunnel when, with little to no warning, the bricks began raining down on their heads. The crew scrambled towards the exit to escape the collapse. Some were lucky and made it, others were stuck under debris and remain down there to this day. One of the firemen, Benjamin Mosby, who was shoveling coal at the time of the collapse, was blasted with steam and boiling water when the tank exploded. His skin was burned so badly, it was falling off in sheets. He was bleeding and his face was horribly deformed, and his teeth were jagged and broken from the trauma. He survived the initial blast and crawled under the engine and through the debris to the exit. He made it out of the tunnel, where he shouted for someone to call his wife, before he collapsed. He was quickly brought to the hospital but because of the extreme nature of his wounds, he died in hospital a few hours later. Interestingly, he was buried in the Hollywood Cemetery.

 

It is the description recorded of Mosby’s injuries that lead sceptics believe, the story of W.W. Pool’s mysterious tomb and that of Mosby’s experience in the tunnel cave-in have been intertwined to create a vampiric tale.

 

What I find most strange is that the first written record of this urban legend is from 2006.

 

Does a vampire stalk the collapsed (and since closed) Church Hill Tunnel? Is the Tomb of W.W. Pool the home of the undead?

 

I don’t know, and I honestly don’t want to know! It seems more likely to me that the tunnel is haunted by those still trapped inside insert scared face emoji here!!

 

If you choose to check it out yourself, be weary of the collapsed tunnel. It is not safe to enter.

 

And as always, if you choose to go hunting, remember the rules:

 

RESPECT THE OWNERS

RESPECT THE PROPERTY

RESPECT THE RESIDENTS (undead or alive).

 

Until next time!

 


 


References:

 


 

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