So, if you’re looking for ghosts, the best place to find one is usually in a cemetery, right?! Well, if you’re in Virginia, I’d recommend checking out the Hollywood Cemetery. There are quite a few ghosts hanging out there but the most awesome feature of all there is that this cemetery comes with its own vampire.
The Richmond Vampire is one of the most notorious entities there. The legend has been traced to the Church Hill Tunnel collapse on October 2, 1925. Check this out!
The tunnel opened in 1875 and was part of the old Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. From the very beginning the construction was a nightmare, mostly because of Virginia’s clay soil, which when mixed with rain, caused frequent cave-ins. Years of persistent collapsing and a mounting death toll of their workers, forced C&O Railway to seek out a safer alternative. The company completed a riverfront viaduct in 1901, after which the Church Hill Tunnel fell was abandoned.
But later on, the tunnel was re-opened in an attempt to widen it. The economy was booming and there was more and more demanded for venues of moving freight. But on October 2, 1925 there was a massive disaster. Over 200 men died when the tunnel collapsed, the train is still entombed within the rubble, it is said that the conductor and only a handful of others, were exhumed, most of the remaining bodies were never found or recovered by rescue teams. Today, the remains of the missing lie within the tunnel which has since been closed off, but that doesn’t stop the workmen’s spirits from wandering from the site of the disaster.
The details of what happened after the collapse are a bit chaotic, I’m sure. At this time Richmond was a small town, the loss of 200 men was devastating. But beyond the shock of death came something even more horrifying. Witnesses from the ghastly scene reported that a creature emerged from the remains. The “creature” was in the form of a man; his face was badly disfigured, he had jagged teeth and his flesh hung freely from his body. It fled the scene and was said to have entered a tomb in the nearby Hollywood Cemetery that bore the name of William Waltham Pool who died in 1922. Some reports state that the creature had been known as Benjamin F. Mosby who was reportedly taken to Grace hospital where he would later succumb to his injuries. Rescue workers that were on scene tell a different version of the story.
Having no equipment at their disposal, the rescuers dug into the tunnel with their bare hands. One group of workers dug into the western-most mouth of the tunnel. They stumbled through the darkness to discover the form of a man crouched over one of the few recovered victims. Obviously not one of the railway workers as his face and clothing were clean and he appeared unscathed with the exception of the blood that ran from his mouth.
The man stood and looked toward the rescue team as he wiped the blood from his face; the workers were terrified as they saw his fangs protruding from his mouth. In a panic the creature sped past the rescue workers who then turned to chase it. It is said that this is the creature that fled into the tomb of William Pool. The team, reaching the entrance to the tomb directly behind the creature, found that the door that the vampire had disappeared through had long since been locked. The men made several attempts to break through the door but to no avail. A plea to the cemetery management to open the tomb was denied on the spot. They’d lost all hope of capturing the so titled “Richmond Vampire”.
The tomb had become quite the attraction, so many attempts had been made to break in that additional locks and security measures were called for. In 2005 an interesting story was published in an online interview with Mr. Donald Toney, longtime grounds foreman of the Hollywood Cemetery. Toney reported that the tomb is still frequented by vampire enthusiasts from abroad but that it has never been breached. Toney went further to say that upon occasion he had discovered broken wine glasses inside the tomb, but the locks were still intact. To this day, seekers of the undead come to visit and take photos of Pool’s mausoleum, hoping to catch a glimpse of something unexpected as it emerges from the door.