Urban Legends

Richmond Vampire Urban Legend

Richmond Urban Legend proposes a vampire lives in their cemetery.

Who doesn’t find a good vampire urban legend intriguing? Like the Richmond Vampire Urban Legend. Even I do. Though, I prefer warm and furry werewolves stories to cold and clammy vampire legends.

I grew up on old black and white Bela Lugosi vampire movies, but I was a skeptic.

Werewolf legends also seemed more authentic to me. Their lore dates back as far as humankind, with wolf clans and shapeshifting as part of their history. Werewolves’ first literary evidence is The Epic of Gilgamesh 2000 BC. To me, this gave support to the possibility that werewolves might exist.

Whereas, on the vampire timeline, it wasn’t until 1047 that the word upir showed- up in a document and referred to a Russian prince as upir lichy or wicked vampire. Vampires became famous with the publication of Bram Stokers’ 1897 novel, Dracula. Much later on the vampire’s timeline than werewolves.

But… The Richmond Vampire Urban Legend

Then, the other day, still obsessed with urban legends and their truths, I stumbled across the Richmond Vampire. Yes. In our very own Richmond, Virginia, vampire enthusiasts claim there is a mausoleum that holds the remains of W.W. Pool.

According to the legend, officials ran Pool out of England in the 1800s for being a vampire. Hollywood Cemetery is the location of this mausoleum. Ironic, since Hollywood films brought the allure of these creatures into our home.

Richmond’s Vampire lives here, the legend says.

The architecture of the tomb is both Masonic and ancient Egyptian in design, and the double W’s look like fangs. This design may have fueled the idea the mausoleum housed the body of an undead.

But Wait…

Some enthusiasts combine the vampire’s origins with Richmond’s cursed railroad tunnel.

The Tunnel

The 1925 collapse of the Chesapeake/Ohio railway tunnel—aka the Church Hill Tunnel—prompted further speculations about vampires in Richmond. Construction of the tunnel had been a nightmare since its beginning. According to Richmond lore, town folks believed that the tunneling in 1869 awakened an ancient evil entity living under Church Hill.

Reports of Blood-Soaked Creature
Some town folk believed an ancient evil entity lived beneath Church Hill.

In 1925, authorities dispatched a crew into the 4,000 foot tunnel to perform repair work on the deteriorating structure. It collapsed and buried several of the crew members. Rescuers said they saw a blooded-soaked creature drinking blood from the victims.

Other witnesses say a man-like creature came screaming out of the tunnel. Almost naked. Flesh melting from his skin. Pointed teeth and red eyes.

Bystanders chased him to Hollywood Cemetery, where he vanished into the Pool mausoleum. Questions surfaced. Was he the exiled vampire from England? Was he taking refuge from the sun in the tunnel, or perhaps, to refuel on the warm blood of the construction workers? Could it have been the awakened ancient entity?

Or Was He the Firefighter?

News reports say it was the burly firefighter who’d been in the tunnel, shoveling coal into the work train’s locomotive’s firebox.

True, there was a firefighter, and he exited the collapsed tunnel by crawling under the boxcars to his freedom. And true, rescuers rushed him to Grace Hospital, where he died a day later. But then, what creature did bystanders chase into the Pool mausoleum?

In 1926, town folks blocked off the tunnel with the remains of the dead and the train still buried beneath the rubble.


Anyone besides me thinking ghosts? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Clara Bush
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