March 03, 2015

The Legend of the Richmond Vampire


Vampires are all the rage these days, thanks to the poorly-played but well-marketed Twilight series (#sorrynotsorry to all you Cullen fans). But did you Richmonders know that we have a vampire in our own backyard?

Church Hill Tunnel. Source.
The Legend of the Richmond Vampire, or the Hollywood Cemetery Vampire as he is alternatively known, originates from a tragic accident in 1925.  In that year, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O) attempted to revive the 4,000 feet long Church Hill Tunnel in order to have a direct route for transporting cargo between the port of Richmond and a rail yard.  While a work train, several flat-bed cars, and nearly 200 laborers were working, the tunnel collapsed on several of them.  Of those directly beneath the collapse, two reportedly wriggled and pried their way out of the debris.  But additional collapses and unstable situations prevented 2-4 other bodies from ever being recovered.

Shortly after the collapse, witnesses saw a creature emerge from the rubble.  Flesh dangled from its limbs, jagged teeth protruded from its mouth, and it was dressed in blood.  Pursued, the creature ran along the nearby James River and up to the Oregon Hill neighborhood where it disappeared into the tomb of William Wortham Pool at Hollywood Cemetery.

Creepy, huh?

Photo by my friend, C.D.
Sadly, the 1925 tunnel collapse is fact, and it remains the burial place for the men who died there.  The Richmond Vampire, while a titillating story, is actually a distorted report of a man who did crawl out of the collapse and later died.  Benjamin F. Mosby worked as a coal-man on trains, shoveling coal into the engine's furnace for power.  When the tunnel collapse, the boiler erupted, spewing its contents onto Mosby.  He managed to crawl out of the tunnel -- in the dark, smoke, and dust of the rubble - but died shortly after being taken to the hospital.  The description of his injuries largely matches that of the alleged Richmond Vampire.

But despite all facts, many Richmonders still largely believe in the Richmond/Hollywood Cemetery Vampire, and on occasion the Richmond Police still have to chase away Satanic cults attempting to utilize poor W.W. Pool's tomb for their rites.  Oddly enough, the tomb - like the Church Hill Tunnel - is carved into the hillside, and while W.W. Pool's year of death is marked, his year of birth is not, further perpetuating the vampiric legend.

Does your hometown have a local legend?


Linking up with Bonnie RoseAmandaCaityMarcella, and Michelle for #TravelTuesday!


  1. Interesting story. I've never herd that one. The cemetery does look like a neat spot though. I'm one of those weird people, who think cemeteries are interesting sightseeing :)

    1. I love cemeteries, too! Would love to see the one in New Orleans, and the ones in Europe are just lovely.

  2. How dare you! - Cullen fan.
    Jk. I'm a fan of making fun of the Cullens, which puts us in the same boat! I think I like the legend reveals more so than the legends themselves. It's interesting how things come to be because silly humans :p

  3. I love cemeteries, too! Some cemeteries are absolutely gorgeous, especially the ones in Europe, but Hollywood Cemetery is actually really beautiful, too.

  4. Your last two words sum it up perfectly! ;)

  5. Looks like someone broke into (or out of??) the Church Hill Tunnel!

  6. Joanna ŚliwińskaMarch 06, 2015

    My friendship with vampires was short and limited to Anne Rice' books only ;) Ok, and the classic movie, the interview with the vampire, but yet again, it's a classic, right? right? ;) Good story, though. Shows what a human mind might do with any story it hears...

    1. I can't hate on Interview with a Vampire! Brad Pitt is just too dreamy. ;)

  7. Bleh, vampires give me the hibigeebies.. I think because of all that blood. Interesting legend though! I enojyed reading :D

  8. I dont know how I missed this post! I have seen this tunnel and I knew it was haunted but omg a vampire... well it is RIchmond so Im not TOOOO surprised!


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