Richmond Vampire

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The Richmond Vampire is an urban legend that began soon after a collapse on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad's Church Hill Tunnel at Church Hill, a district of Richmond, Virginia, which buried several workers alive on October 2, 1925.

William Wortham Pool's grave in Hollywood Cemetery

The story told of a blood covered creature with jagged teeth and skin hanging from its muscular body that emerged from the cave-in and raced toward the James River. Pursued by a group of men, the creature took refuge in Hollywood Cemetery, where it disappeared in a mausoleum built into a hillside bearing the name W.W. Pool.

Gregory Maitland, founder of Night Shift, a Richmond-based group that researched urban legends and oral traditions, and the Virginia urban legend and folklore expert of the Virginia Ghosts & Haunting Research Society (VGHRS), became interested in the Richmond Vampire story. His study of the disaster confirmed that after the tunnel collapsed a living being did indeed escape. It was, however, a big and strong 28-year-old railroad fireman, Benjamin F. Mosby (1896-1925), who had been shoveling coal into the firebox of a steam locomotive of a work train with no shirt on when the cave-in occurred and the boiler ruptured.

Mosby's upper body was horribly scalded and several of his teeth were broken before he made his way through the opening of the tunnel. Witnesses reported he was in shock and layers of his skin were hanging from his body. He died later at Grace Hospital. It was from there that the story took on a life of its own through decades of retelling.

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