Friday, June 10, 2011

Supernatural Friday: Richmond Vampire

I could talk about movie vampires, vampires in books and short stories, even TV vamps, but let's talk about legends of vampires people still tell today and are in nonfiction books. I'll zero in on one particular vampire well known here in Richmond, Virginia: the Richmond Vampire.

The Richmond Vampire was a real person, W.W. Poole, who is buried in Hollywood Cemetery. His story starts with this legend connected to the train buried in Church Hill Tunnel. On October 2, 1925, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad began to dig their way through the hill, so that they could have their trains go through Richmond and not around it. It was late Friday afternoon when the tunnel collapsed, trapping the train engineer and many others within. There was one of those, Benjamin F. Mosby, who had been dug out and who passed away later at the hospital that the myth version has the vampire the cause of the man's demise. Workers found a figure crouching over the man. The figure stood up and turned around, revealing a terrifying being with a bloody mouth full of jagged teeth.

They pursued the creature as it bolted, following it all the way back to Hollywood Cemetery and to W.W. Poole's mausoleum. Since then, besides Satanists, there are those who have tried breaking in with stakes, obviously to "stake the vampire." The bodies of both Poole and his wife were taken from the tomb and buried elsewhere on the grounds in an undisclosed location and the door to the tomb welded shut, in hopes this would stop the break-ins.

The truth about Poole? He was an accountant, and his initials meant William Worthham. The tomb has his death only: 1922. I am sure that his birth over the years had been erased off by the elements. Or maybe never put on there. Who knows? And that he had a rare blood disease and looked pale--reasons to accuse someone of being a vampire. My opinion? He had an enemy or enemies, and like many accused in the past of being witches due to jealousy or wanting something that person had, they made up the story of him being a vampire. There are no instances anywhere that I could find, of him doing other vampish things in other tales. Just the tunnel collapse.

Read more about him and other ghostly and ghoulish myths, legends and true ghost tales in Haunted Richmond, Virginia available at Schiffer Publishing, Amazon. Barnes an Nobles, Borders, Books A Million, and many more places.


Patty said...

I love Hollywood Cemetery and this is one of my favorite stories about Richmond. I have been to his grave and have to admit I was a bit creeped out. Great blog post. Thanks

Anonymous said...

It certainly sounds like he got a bad rap.