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Moving Coffins

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posted on Jun, 11 2009 @ 06:14 PM
this story is just plain out creepy and very strange.
Barbados, an island located at the easternmost edge of the West Indies, is the site of a strange story which some writers have treated as one of the great mysteries of the nineteenth century. The mysterious events in question, said to have taken place inside the Chase vault at Christ Church overlooking Oistin's Bay, allegedly occurred between 1812 and 1819 or 1820 and involved the inexplicable movement of coffins.

According to the first published account, Sir J. E. Alexander's Transatlantic Sketches (1833):

Each time that the vault was opened the coffins were replaced in their proper situations, that is, three on the ground side by side, and the others laid on them. The vault was then regularly closed; the door (a massive stone which required six or seven men to move) was cemented by masons; and though the floor was of sand, there were no marks or footsteps or water.

The last time the vault was opened was in 1819. Lord Combermere [Governor of the colony] was then present, and the coffins were found confusedly thrown about the vault, some with their heads down and others up. What could have occasioned this phenomenon? In no other vault in the island has this ever occurred.

Over time various versions of the story saw print. Even one of the alleged witnesses, the Rev. Thomas H. Orderson, the rector of Christ Church, gave conflicting accounts to inquirers. Other accounts were published in 1844 (Sir Robert Schomburgk's History of Barbados) and 1860 (Mrs. D. H. Cussons's Death's Deeds). In the December 1907 issue of Folk-Lore, the noted English folklorist Andrew Lang reviewed the affair, drawing not only on printed sources but on his brother-in-law Forster M. Alleyne's investigation in Barbados. Alleyne had examined vault records but found nothing to substantiate the story, and the island's newspapers of the period had nothing to say on the subject. He did, however, come upon an unpublished description by Nathan Lucas, who witnessed the final interment of the vault in April 1820. Alleyne's father, who was on the island in 1820, alluded to the coffin disturbances in correspondence which survived from that year.

Lang's interest in the episode was fueled by another intellectual fascination of his, psychical research. He noted a report of similar events in a Lutheran cemetery on the Isle of Oesel, in the Baltic Sea, said to have taken place in 1844. The evidence for its occurrence, he conceded, consisted in its entirety of an anecdote to American diplomat Robert Dale Owen (who reported it in Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World 1860); no written records were known to exist, and none have surfaced since. Lang thought it was at least possible that Owen's informants "plagiarized" the Barbados story, adding a few flourishes of their own (including the lurid detail that the hand of a suicide was found sticking out of one of the coffins).

Another moving-coffins story, however, could not have been based on the Barbados incident because it saw print before the West Indian events became known. The European Magazine for September 1815 related the case of "The Curious Vault at Stanton in Suffolk" in which coffins were "displaced" several times under mysterious circumstances. Nathan Lucas, one of the alleged witnesses to the final (1820) interment at the Chase Vault, mentions this English case, even quoting the article, in his privately written 1824 account.

A final tale is told by F. A. Paley in Notes and Queries, November 9, 1867, of an "instance which occurred within my own knowledge and recollection (some twenty years ago) in the parish of Gretford, near Stamford [England], of which my father was the rector. Twice, if not thrice, the coffins in a vault were found on re-opening it to have been disarranged. The matter excited some interest in the village at the time, and, of course, was a fertile theme for popular superstition: but I think it was hushed up out of respect to the family to whom the vault belonged." Paley quoted from an unnamed woman who claimed to remember the incident.

posted on Jun, 11 2009 @ 11:20 PM
On a similar theme re: moving coffins...

I've personally experienced a number of interesting events involving coffins.

During one funeral (or Tangi as my people call them) I attended we had to extend the funeral/laying in state over 4 days rather than the *usual* 3. Usually the person will lay in state on/in their Marae/Ancestral Meeting House for 2 days...on the 3 day they are buried.

This one I attended we had to postpone the burial as we were awaiting a brother of the deceased who was flying in from overseas.
However their flight had been cancelled/postponed to a later he was unable to arrive in time for the proposed burial. He was able to make a later the burial was moved to the following day.

The next day there were more delays, his plane had been diverted due to bad weather. They had to land at another airport - which necessitated another flight from there up to a smaller airport close to the original arrival point...and then a long drive to the funeral. So it looked like it simply wasn't meant to be.

Well...we waited and waited. More drama, more hold-ups, road-closures and diversions even.
The Minister who was performing the burial ceremony stayed as long as he could but eventually had to let the family know that he'd have to depart soon as he had to be somewhere else in a few hours.

Well - the family made the call to close up the coffin and proceed with the ceremony/burial without the brothers presence.

A few of us carried the coffin lid over and waited for the processes to happen (karakia/prayers etc) then placed the lid on the coffin.

The lid didn't fit.
Despite that coffin lid being placed on the coffin easily and perfectly during transport to the Marae didn't fit now.

The lid itself was somehow too big. Like an inch or more either side, right round, too was literally too large for the coffin!
Okay...thats a bit freaky! How the heck can a coffin lid GROW to the point its not even close to being able to fit...
We tried and way. Total disbelief.

One of the old people at the Marae made the comment "It'll fit when his brother arrives. He's waiting for his brother. All we can do is wait"

We were aware that the Minister was due elsewhere soon, so the family went to see the Minister to let him know he could go and they'd sort something else out. Minister bid his farewells, hops in his car and goes to leave.
He gets to the carpark gates of the Marae and his car dies out. No power, no ignition. Dead. Jump starting, crash starting...nothing worked. Then while we're all under the bonnet and looking around at what the issue might be the car locks itself. Blip. Central locking goes, doors lock...and won't disengage with the remote...nor even with the key. They just won't budge.

Just a random occurance people might think? Maybe...

One of the family offers the Minister usage of their car. Hello, that one just refuses to start...not so much as a whisper. The owner hopes in, starts it first pop, hops out to let the Minister in...Minister hops in and *whoop* dead again. Won't start this time.

The Minister just chuckled and said "Okay okay. I'll stay."

And seriously no sooner does he say that his car which is still out by the Marae carpark gates goes *blip blip* and unlocks itself. For a moment I think the Minister was think about taking that opportunity to leave in his car...but even said "No. I'll stay" and gave his car keys to someone else to bring his car back in and park up. It starts, it drives fine, not a worry.

We wait for about another 2 hours before the brother arrives. He goes through his processes (karakia/prayers/acknowledgements etc) and then we once again go to place the lid on the coffin. Smooth as silk...clips in perfectly.

But that wasn't the end of it.

We were carrying the coffin up to the grave-site...we got to the entrance gate of the Urupa/Graveyard and it all of a sudden became incredibly heavy.
As in those of us carrying it were buckling under the weight of it...and I can tell you that those of us carrying it weren't small guys and not small with it either...we're all pretty sizeable solid dudes.

Also given that the person we were carrying had passed from cancer...and in their affliction with cancer had lost so much weight they were but skin and bones. His son had been able to just scope him up easily and place him on the table when he was being prepared. The coffin itself was also not really certainly six large strong guys would have felt basically no burden at all carrying this coffin...but we were all just about reduced to our knees!

A few other guys - equally as large - leapt in to help out, they too were just like "Faaaaaaaa! Geesus! Thats so heavy!"
We had like about 8 of us on and under it by then...and then it just started *pushing* us back. Literally. We were holding the coffin and *sliding* back on our feet a few inches at a time.

The old people with us started their karakia/prayers in an effort to intervene with what we all saw as being something of a spiritual nature happening. So too the Minister.

The brother we had waited for just walked up and banged on the coffin lid and started yelling at his brother, saying stuff like "Hey! You cut that out! You held up all these people to wait for me to arrive, and I love you for that brother, but you need to go now. Stop mucking around. Go!"


...coffin was instantly light fact with the speed the weight lifted the coffin was actually *thrown* upward by those of us braced under it and lifting with such force...luckily we didn't drop it...

...burial ran seamlessly after that....


posted on Jun, 12 2009 @ 12:55 AM
reply to post by alien
Wow. That's one heck of an account. I don't know you and have to take it without certainty. Nevertheless, that's a great story and I'd enjoy life being so overtly spiritual. Very interesting reading

posted on Jun, 12 2009 @ 08:19 AM
reply to post by alien

Thanks for sharing that, alien! One of the most interesting tales I've ever heard........and certainly one that bespeaks of the strength of will that the departed might still be able to exert.

I had a bit of a brush with what I believe was some of that 'will' when my own father died.......a tale perhaps for a different thread, but something that certainly bolsters my acceptance of your experience and the OP's post.

posted on Jun, 12 2009 @ 03:44 PM
That is just wierd. Superstitions and paranormal belief/experiences are far more commonly accepted in Asian countries vs the West.

It's my belief that fact fuels more supernatural occurances.

Strange account indeed!

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