Friday, July 9, 2010
Does a Vampire Live At Hollywood Cemetery, VA?
Does a Vampire Live in this tomb? Well probably not but there is a very interesting legend surrounding this grave located at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.
Hollywood Cemetery is rich in history and the final resting place of many famous people including a few Presidents. I first came across this cemetery while doing my genealogy. I had an ancestor who died in a Confederate hospital during the Civil War. He was originally buried in this cemetery than later moved to another one. But during my research I found many interesting graves and stories connected to this cemetery. It is definitely on the list of places I want to visit!
I particularly like this Richmond Vampire legend because there is a "real" story and some facts behind it explaining how it originated. The legend is on October 2, 1925 there was an explosion during the collapse of a tunnel belonging to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad at Church Hill, located right outside of the city of Richmond. The collapse buried many workers alive. A large creature with jagged teeth and skin hanging from its body was seen running from the tunnel towards the James River. It was chased by a group of men but ran to the nearby Hollywood Cemetery and disappeared into the masoleum above of W.W. Poole. So the legend was born with William Wortham Poole becoming known as the Richmond Vampire. Noises and orbs have reportedly been seen coming from Poole's tomb.
So what are the "real" facts behind this story? There was an explosion and tunnel collapse which killed many workers. However one of the immediate survivors was a young worker named Benjamin F. Mosby. He was a large muscular man who had been working with no shirt on when the accident occurred. He was able to escape the tunnel but had been horribly burned. He logically ran towards the river because of his burns. He had several teeth broken in the accident and sadly had burned flesh hanging from his upper body. But he did not escape to Hollywood Cemetery, he was taken to Grace Hospital where he died.
Not sure how the final resting place of W.W. Pool became the home of the Vampire. Mr. Pool seems an unlikely candidate to be a Vampire. He died in either 1913 or 1922 at about age 80 (seems to be conflicting information but the tomb looks like 1913 to me) and was an accountant. Possibly it is just the appearance of his masoleum. The way it is built into the hillside it just looks like a place a Vampire would live.
We have no way of knowing how either Mr. Poole or Mr. Mosby would feel about being immortalized as a Vampire. Mr. Mosby's name does not seem to be widely associated with the legend even though it is his horrible death at the young age of 26 that started the whole thing. But it usually is tragic events like this one that spawn popular urban legends. There have been reports of satanic activity at the Poole grave along with people breaking in to the tomb. At one point is is said Mr. Poole's remains were taken out and scattered all over the hillside. I really could not confirm this to be part of the legend or based on facts however. I would think this would not make him or any surviving family too happy.
Ironically Mr. Mosby is also buried at Hollywood Cemetery. No fancy masoleum, just a simple grave stone. I did locate both of their graves on the Find a Grave site. You can see pictures of both the graves and read a bit more information about both on Find a Grave. Here are the links to both graves:
William Wortham Poole
Benjamin F. Mosby