What lurks in the 'Vampire's Crypt'?

What lurks in the 'Vampire's Crypt'?
March 31, 2009
Pastor Swope

In every community there are areas of local legend that attract teenagers who use the creepiness of the locality as a sort of rite of passage for the new members of their inner circle.

Here in Erie there are many such places for the teenagers to test their will, but one of the strangest is located in Erie Cemetery.

Erie Cemetery sits in the center of town and was founded in1851.

The cemetery is a classic upright stone burial ground with many large crypts that house the remains of the rich industrialist elite from the city’s past. When you enter the grounds you are amazed at the age and detail of many of the gravestones and crypts.

However one crypt stands out above them all.

There is no mane inscribed upon the top beam like all of the other crypts, and it is darkened as if it had been exposed to fire. The only distinguishing marking on the entire crypt is a v shaped flourishing.

The legends are sketchy and vary depending on who you talk to. But the basics of the crypt legends go like this.

The V is for Vampire.

Inside the crypt lies an undead body of a real honest to goodness blood sucking creature of the night.

He was a wealthy man who fell ill after a trip to Romania and soon after returning to Erie he died of consumption. He was buried in the crypt on the southern hillside of the Cemetery, and within a week strange things began to happen. Dead bodies would be found in the suburbs that surrounded the graveyard. Their blood had been drained and there were the classic teeth marks on the neck.

It was the maintenance man who lived on the grounds who found out the evil creatures secret and the attacked and burned the crypt during the daylight to rid the city of this evil abomination.

The family name was scraped from the tomb and the V was etched into the stonework as a warning to all who came near. Its doors were chained and locked shut never to be opened again.

Such is the myth, but the truth is that the crypt is owned by the Brown family and the last burial there was in the 1880s.

However and in-depth research by Rebecca at http://sigils.yuku.com/topic/1478/t/The-Vampire-Crypt-Erie-Pennsylvania.html has revealed a very confusing and bizarre history of the crypt. People were interned, disinterred and other moved in. And there is no documented history as to why the family name was violently removed from the crypt. Some of the cemetery’s administrators doubt that there never was ever a name there, however closely examining the crypt does seem to reveal that there was a name there at one time. And someone took a great deal of time end effort to obliterate that name from history.

And while the stylized V appears to be a lily flourish, it is hard to understand why the lily’s form the well defined V in the first place.

And then there are the numerous paranormal stories surrounding the crypt.

They come from various sources, but they all tell basically the same stories…though there is some slight variations.

The first story concerns the curse of the crypt.

It’s challenge to break into the cemetery and attempt to break into the crypt. The rumor is that at one time in the late 1930s a young teenage boy actually accomplished the feat.

Armed with determination, along with a crowbar and a chisel, the young lad entered the cemetery shortly after sunset to finally see what kind of creature actually was entombed within the giant slabs of granite.

It took him most of the night but he eventually cut through the locked gate, the chains, and the thick reinforced door that prevented both exit and entrance to the old burial chamber. As he pulled open door a foul fume rose up from the dark crypt, a moldy rotten stench that made the young man take a step back and rethink his decision.

But determined, he walked into the vault. There on a slab was a rotten wooden coffin with a desiccated corpse. To prove to his friends that he had entered the crypt, he took a ring from one of the fingers and quickly made his way home before the rising sun would reveal his grave robbery.

Excited at his conquest and nervous that he might be caught he ran to his best friends house to show off the prize ring. The friend was amazed and shocked and even though he was admonished to tell no one, the friend could not help but tell all of his friends as well the next day at school. All the boys wanted a look at the ring and many of them went to the young teens house. His mother told them he was sleeping but went to his room to tell him that he had a large group of friends waiting outside to meet him.

But when his mother entered his room she found him dead, lying motionless and colorless eyes wide open and mouth frozen in a horrible scream. And his ring finger appeared to have been literally ripped from his hand.

The police were called, and after a thorough investigation and despite the missing finger, the coroner ruled that he had died from a heart attack.

The Crypt was locked back up and the gates once again reinforced.

Another phenomena concerning the area is the supposed appearance of a ghost dog or pack of dogs that appear demonic in nature. It is reported that many have had encounters with large black dogs that attacked them on the hillside near the vampire’s crypt. They appear out of nowhere and then vanish in the air just as they are about to jump on you.

Some though are not so lucky.

I have an animated video blog on my blog The Paranormal Pastor HERE.

Is the Vampire’s Crypt really a paranormal hotspot in Erie? Although the folktales surrounding its origin are veiled in the vampire mythos, the supernatural stories that surround the crypt in the 20th century seem to point to curses and demonic entities.

What lurks in the Vampire’s Crypt in Erie Cemetery?

According to the manager no maintenance men have entered the vault for decades. Is it because of fear? He did not say, but even the staff at the cemetery call the vault the Vampire’s Crypt. Which to me is very telling.

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