Destination Weirdsville: The Chase Vault

In a galaxy not so far away, in a world not dissimilar to our own, lies a place known as the Twilight Zone.

I’m you’re host, Pompei Romano, and I’ll be guiding your voyage today. I’m going to tell you of a place that can only be described as an offshoot of that mythical zone of oddness. A place right here in our own plane of existence. A place that put bizarre on the map. Let’s take a journey into the wonderfully weird world of the Chase Vault.

This is not in Barbados, but it is in New York, the state, not the city. It’s in a little graveyard in Watkins Glen.

Barbados, 1808 – the Chase family acquires the infamous location to be used as the final resting place for the family members. At this point, the vault was already eighty years old, but surprisingly only houses just a single occupant, one Thomasina Goddard. It was decided by the family that the remains of Goddard would be left alone and allowed to remain in the vault.

Not long after the family became the proud owners of the  new-to-them vault, Mary-Anne Maria Chase passed away and was placed in the vault with Goddard. Four years later, Mary-Anne’s sister Dorcas suffered the same fate. So far so good, nothing strange happening here, right?

Barely a month later, the head of the Chase family, Colonel Thomas Chase, also died. This is when things started getting weird for the Chase family. When the vault was opened, moving a heavy marble slab is no easy task mind you, to inter the body of Thomas, Dorcas’ coffin was found to have been moved.  It stood upright against the far wall with the head facing downward. Some sources say Mary-Anne’s coffin was moved when it was Dorcas’ turn to enter the vault, but those reports aren’t conclusive, so they may or may not be true.

Naturally, vandals and/or thieves were blamed and the coffin was placed back in its original location. No harm, no foul. Those must have been some of the most polite vandals/thieves on the planet to reseal the vault when they’d finished having their fun.

Each subsequent time the vault was opened to add another member of the family to the growing collection, the vault’s contents were found to be in disarray. Even the heavy coffin of Thomas, which took eight men to lift, was found to be moved. Upon examining the vault there were no obvious signs of tampering with the seals, flooding, or Earthquakes. The cause of the moving coffins was never determined.

According to some reports, only one of the coffins was never found to be moved. Can you guess which one? The original- Thomasina Goddard’s. Perhaps she didn’t like sharing her space with the others.

Eventually, the vault was abandoned and the coffins were moved to another location in the Christ Church Parish cemetery. It still stands empty, to this day.

Perhaps the weirdest part about the tale of the Chase Vault- it isn’t an isolated incident. A similar case was reported in Suffolk, England in the late 18th century.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone, folks.

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