Those who have heard the strange tale of the Chase family vault no doubt are aware of the story, but few actually go to posit what could have happened within the walls of the mysterious tomb. The Chase Vault was first built in 1724, by James Elliot was intended to be a resting place for the deceased, but it instead became a subject of mystery that would last several hundred years, and persist to this day.
The dimensions of the vault were, like many built at the time simple. The twelve by six and a half foot structure was bought by a wealthy Barbados family. The Chase family’s patriarch was a slave owner who had been so cruel to his slaves that they had conspired to take his life at one point. The first few members of the family that were interred were found to be undisturbed, and the door to the vault was resealed each time so that no one could enter, particularly without leaving a massive amount of evidence. Then, as Thomas Chase, the cruel slave owner died and was to be interred, those who opened the vault made a grim discovery. Somehow without the door being opened, someone had disturbed the caskets of the younger Chase sisters had been moved. Someone had seemingly passed through the solid stone door without unlocking it or removing the seal and hurled the heavy lead casket of Mary Chase against the corner of the vault so that it was standing upright and upside down. Could thieves or vandals have somehow entered the vault? After replacing the caskets, those in charge of the Chase estate had a massive marble slab over the door. As Samuel Brewster Ames was interred in 1816, the vault was once again inexplicably defiled. The caskets, each of them made of heavy materials and so large that they required eight men great effort to move, had been stacked on top of one another like dominoes. It was a long and difficult process to get the caskets back in order, and the small vault was resealed. Three years later, when Thomasina Clark was buried within the vault, the caskets were once again found scattered throughout the vault.
Lord Combermere ordered the examination of the Chase vault. No secret entrances were discovered, and sand was scattered across the floor to discover if footprints were left behind by any potential vandals. After the coffins were reordered and the vault resealed, and the marble slab at the entrance was cemented into place. Authorities were satisfied that no one would be able to enter the vault. The official seal of the governor was placed in the cement in the unlikely event that an elaborate team of vandals may attempt to reseal the vault. The mystery, it seemed, would be over.
The next time the vault was opened, on April 18, 1820, the seal was discovered intact along with the cemented marble slab, but the interior of the vault was once again in disarray. Dorcas Chase’s skeletal arm was even seen pulled from a hole in the side of her coffin. The vault was emptied and abandoned, and the bodies were moved to a new vault at a different location. To this day it remains on the grounds of Christ Church Parish Church, but it is unused.