Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Case of the Moving Coffins

Time for another tale from Strange Stories, Amazing Facts.

In 1807 a solid rock tomb was built for Mrs Thomisina Goddard, a plantation owner on Barbados. When she was interred, a massive marble slab was used to block up the entrance. A year later another family, the Chases, took over the tomb to bury two of their daughters in solid lead coffins.

Later in 1812 the father, Thomas Chase also died and the tomb was opened to allow his burial to take place. when the slab was remove, they found the two heavy lead coffins had been moved so that they were upright, propped against one of the walls. there was no sign that the marble slab had been moved.

In 1816 the tomb was opened up again for another family member. This time all three Chase coffins had been moved and again there was no sign of any entry to the tomb. The lead coffins, especially Thomas' were too heavy for small groups of people to move; Thomas' had originally taken a team of 8 very strong slaves to move. Word spread of the mysterious moving coffins, so hundreds turned up to the next Chase funeral to see if the coffins had, once again, moved. They had. The only coffin that never moved was Thomisina's.

The Governor of Barbados was so disturbed by this that he had all the coffins carefully re-stacked and then had seals placed on the door slab. One year later they returned to the tomb to check on the seals and the coffins within. The seals were all in in perfect condition, but once they opened the tomb once again all of the Chase coffins had been stood against one of the walls. The tomb was emptied of all coffins after that and has been left empty ever since.


Some tellings of the tale link it to the first Masonic lodges in Barbados, which could give us some interesting plots of a hidden access point to the tomb and masonic artifacts hidden within. Alternatively we could be looking at one of Lovecraft's ghoulish gateways into the Dreamlands.

Since the book was published, it has been researched and all instances of the tales always end up linking back to one man, a writer called James Edward Alexander in 1833 who claims to have been there at the final opening. Unfortunately no official records exist that can confirm that the Chase family or Mrs Goddard were ever buried at that location.

1 comment:

  1. I thought at first it might be floodwater or a prank, until you mentioned He Who Dreams...

    Cthulhu Fhtagn!