Meander down a modest tree lined path and through the Erie cemetery and you will see countless dated headstones and crypts. The cemetery was founded in 1851 and is host to some of the areas’ most elite industrialists from the city’s past. Amongst a number of mausoleums that are burrowed into the ridge is one that is known as the Vampires’ Crypt.
The crypt is not donned with elaborate features, in fact it is generic in nature but did not begin that way. Above the darkened marble slab that blocks the entrance, hovers a lintel where a name was once inscribed but since has been deliberately chiseled away leaving only an insignia of flora in the form of a “V”.
The mausoleum is owned by Gertrude Brown, but there is no one by that name that lies within the dank enclosure. The first body interred within was GW Goodrich who died November 14, 1884 but several others would soon join him, three of which had been exhumed from a nearby non-denominational cemetery and moved into the crypt. Cemetery records show that over time there have been 7 individuals interred within the marble vault; some records include names and date of passing, but the records are incomplete, sketchy at best. Thanks to geneological research performed by Jibril Ammon, we know that the majority of these occupants bore the last name of Goodrich, Gertrude Brown being one of the last heirs that outlived most of her family as most of the past inhabitants died young between 1870 and 1880. With some inkling of who most of the inhabitants have been, there are two that remain un-named with no records.
The legend that surrounds the crypt also does not identify the occupant in question but states that within the vault lies the undead body of a true vampire. It is said that the man had journeyed to Romania and upon his return to Erie, died shortly after of consumption; it was only a short time after his burial that strange and horrifying events began to occur.
Dead bodies were soon being discovered in the suburbs that surround the cemetery; Each of them possessed puncture wound on their necks and their bodies were drained of blood. It was the maintenance man that lived on the grounds which discovered the evil creatures’ secret, in response the crypt was burned, the doors chained and the name above the opening violently removed for all time, but this is not where the legend ends.
Legends are persistent and we as mortals are curious! Many attempts have been made to enter the crypt throughout the past decades, one successful attempt was made some time in the 1930’s by a young man that was determined to see who slumbered within the vault. Armed with a chisel and crowbar the young man was able to enter the tomb, though the act took him most of the night, just before dawn he opened the tomb to find a a putrid stench to welcome him. After composing himself of the foul odor, he entered the tomb to discover a rotten wooden coffin that scantly enclosed a dessicated corpse. In order to have proof that he did indeed enter the tomb, the youth snatched a ring from it’s withered finger and fled the scene before the sun rose. Immediately the boy ran to his best friends’ home, eager to share his conquest while providing proof of his mission having been completed. The boy swore his friend to secrecy and then returned home to rest. The second young man could not wait to share the story with his other friends and after school he and a group of other young men trekked to the first youths home in order to see the ring that he had claimed from the blood thirsty beast. Upon their arrival they were met at his door by his Mother who explained that her son was asleep, but the boys insisted on speaking with him. When she went to his room to tell him that he had visitors, she found her son dead. His eyes stared blankly back at her, his mouth frozen in a horrified yet silent scream and his ring finger had been ripped from his hand.
After the event had been investigated, the crypt was again sealed and chains were placed on the opening to ensure that what evil lie within would remain, at least until the next, soon to follow attempt to enter the grave.
Several stories have arisen from the curious which have tampered with the crypt, one such is more recent than the first.
A group of teenagers organized a party outside of the crypt, after the story had been shared with the group one young man mocked the legend and climbed upon the marble vault in defiance of the creature that resided within. Something happened while the boy was perched upon the roof, as it was dark, the remainder of the group could not see him but all of them heard his shriek before he tumbled to the ground. Later that evening the boy was admitted into a local hospital. Upon the boy waking, he immediately began to scream, alerting the nearby nurses that something was terribly wrong. Before the nurses could reach his nearby room, the boy had climbed out onto the window ledge and leaped to his death to the pavement below, leaving both the hospital staff and his friends baffled over what had been so horrible that he would have jumped from the window to escape.
There are several other tales that have arisen concerning the Vampires’ Crypt deeming it as an icon worthy of visiting if you find yourself in the area!
Follow me here