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vol. 3, p. 252
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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< Lively Coffins (continued from page 3-251) >

Scarcely two months had elapsed before the remains of a relative were removed from another parish to be-laid in this vault. It was opened and again a mysterious confusion prevailed. The coffins were replaced and the vault again closed. Two years and eight months passed away, when death called for another consignment to this tomb. The door being removed, the interior for a third time displayed a strange disarrangement of the coffins. It was now regarded more serious than hitherto, and the account of the mystery spread so rapidly that not only all the inhabitants of Bridgetown, but of the whole Island were interested. Thousands visited the spot, curiosity was at its height, and the news having reached Government House, Lord Combermore stated his intention of being present at the approaching interment. Accordingly, attended by bis two aides-de-camp, Major Finch (brother of Lord Aylesford) and Captain Charles Boyd,) he visited the vault. In his presence every part of the floor was sounded to ascertain that no subterranean passage or entrance was concealed. It was found to be perfectly firm and solid; no crack was even apparent. The walls when examined proved to be thoroughly secure. No fracture was visible, and the three sides, together with the roof and flooring, presented a structure as solid as if formed of entire slabs of stone. The dis placed coffins were again placed in order, and the new tenant of that dreary abode deposited, and when the mourners retired with the funeral procession the floor was carefully sand ed with tine white sand in the presence of his Lordship and the assembled crowd. The door was slid into its wonted position, and with the utmost care the new cement was laid on so as to secure it. When the masons had completed their task, the Governor and his aides-de-camp made several impressions in the cement with their own seals, as did many of the assembled officers with private marks.

Satisfied now that no one could gain access to the vault without betraying his visit, the people departed; but the interest in this strange occurrence continued, furnishing a constant topic of conversation. The greatest curiosity was expressed as to the result, and numerous conjectures arose as to the phenomenon, some suggesting volcanic power, others expressing a superstitious belief in superhuman agency, while many still continued to attribute the mischief to the cunning of the negroes. So great a commotion did the occurrence make in the island, and so many expressed Impatience to test the possibility of trickery by the re-opening of the tomb, that Lord Combermere, who participated in this general curiosity, con seated to have it examined, and the opening was fixed for the 18th of April, 1820, just nine months and sloven days after the period of its close.

Barbadoes has seldom witnessed such a gathering as that assembled in Christ Church district on that day. The towns were deserted and thousands hastened to the scene; every spot, every avenue, every foot of ground was covered, in and around the churchyard. The scorching rays of the sun blazed forth in tropical splendor upon that sea of living forms. Europeans and negroes, all crowded together in their varied attires and scarcely less varied complexions, upon the brow of a hill, with the massive stone tombs rising here and there above them; and the old church standing forth in sombre relief, as if a connecting link between the living and the dead, made the scene altogether one which beggared description, while, perhaps, its peculiar interest was in the deathlike silence that reigned over it, the silence of mute anxiety and superstitious awe.

Lord Combermere now arrived with his suite, and if his own interest in the mystery could have failed in inducing him to seek the re-opening of the vault, the assembled masses gave ample testimony of the universal gratification conferred by his intervention. The cement was unbroken, and the large impressions of the governor’s and other seals were as distinct, sharp, and perfect as when first made, but now hardened into atone. When each one was satisfied in this regard that his seal was untouched and unaltered, the masons proceeded to break the cement and slide off the door. The cement yielded to their instruments, but when they tried to remove the stone, it resisted with unwonted weight. Increased force was applied, but still in spite of crowbars and other appliances it remained immovable. For a moment all bands were paralyzed, and a look of wonder and dismay passed from each to each; but it was only for a moment; the next attempt lent a powerful energy to their efforts, and the door yielded half-an inch. Nothing was distinctly visible in the darkness of its buried night. Still the light which entered through its narrow crevice seemed to cut against some black object dose to the portal, so near that the thread-like ray lay brightly visible, prevented by this massive black from dispersing itself into the reigning darkness within. Terror a second time palsied the energy of those engaged in this operation. Suspense deepened the intensity of interest and awe which transfixed the anxious spectators. Every breath was hushed lest they should fail to catch' the first whisper of those near the tom! that might offer a solution to the problem before them. Increased force was tried to remove the stone, and inch by inch it yielded, till it was slid sufficiently aside to admit of a per son’s entering, when it was discovered that a huge leader, coffin which it required eight men with crowbars to move, was standing upon its head with the end resting against the middle of the stone door. It had been thrown from its central place, and the coffin of the child had been hurled with such force agrinst the opposite wall, near which it was lying, that a deep indentation had been made in the stonework by the corners which struck it. The Chase family immediately ordered the coffins to be removed and buried in separate graves; alter which the vault was abandoned and has never since been used.

The Kobolds Have Come

Positively the Last Appearance and Benefit of Emma Hardinge Britten


<... continues on page 3-253 >

Editor's notes

  1. The Kobolds Have Come by unknown author