The Chase Vault is a mysterious burial vault in the Christ Church Parish Cemetery in Oistins, Barbados. The vault was in use in the early 1800s, but it was abandoned because of strange occurrences within the vault. Since that time, many people have wondered what actually happened in the Chase Vault, if anything.
The first coffin that was placed in the Chase Vault did not belong to a member of the Chase family. The wooden coffin contained the remains of a woman named Thomasina Goddard. Her coffin was placed in the vault in 1807. The second coffin that was placed in the vault contained the remains of a two-year-old named Mary-Ann Chase. The second coffin was lead and was placed there in 1808. In 1812 another lead coffin was placed in the vault. It was that of Dorcas Chase, Mary-Ann’s older sister.
In August of 1812 the marble slab that covers the vault was removed so that the coffin of Thomas Chase (the father of the two Chase girls) could be put in. It is important to note that the slab was sealed with cement after each burial. When the slab was removed, it was noticed that all of the lead coffins inside of the vault were moved; they had been placed neatly in a row and now they were all about the vault. The coffin of Mary-Ann was actually standing upside down. The coffins were simply rearranged in their original positions, Thomas’ lead coffin was added and the vault was sealed shut again.
In September and November of 1816, the Chase Vault was opened to receive Charles Brewster Ames and Samuel Brewster, respectively. Each time the vault was opened, the coffins had been strewn about. Some say that it was only the lead coffins that were moved from their original position, but this is uncertain. Both times, the coffins were put back in place and the vault was resealed. The mysterious movement of the coffins was noted by the Governor of Barbados, Lord Cumbermere, in July of 1819 and he decided to investigate.
Cumbermere had the vault checked for secret passages (there were none), he layed sand on the floor so that he may see tracks if anyone entered the vault secretly and he also made an imprint of his seal in the cement when the slab was moved into place and cemented shut again. On April 18, 1820, the vault was opened for inspection. There were reportedly hundreds of people there to see the opening of the Chase Vault. The seal was still visible and whole when the slab was removed. Inside the vault, the coffins were once again strewn about and oddly, the sand on the floor looked exactly as it had when Lord Cumbermere layed it there.
After that Lord Cumbermere gave up and simply had the coffins moved to another location; the vault was left empty and no one has been buried there since. The vault is still there for any curious people who would like to view it. It has been more than 100 years since the first coffin was placed in the Chase Vault. One has to wonder if the mystery will ever be solved.
The Chase Crypt of Barbados, retrieved 10/29/09, caribtf.com/Chase_Vault/ChaseCryptofBarbados.htm
The Chase Vault, retrieved 10/29/09, ghost-story.co.uk/stories/thechasevault.html