Introducing W.W. Poole
The best thing about living in city as old as Richmond, VA is the folklore that comes with it. On Halloween, one tends to shift interests into the spookier side of a city’s history. Of course, Richmonders consider Poe and the Civil War old hat, but how about the Richmond Vampire?
The legend goes that on October 2, 1925, there was a huge tunnel cave-in in the Church Hill Tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroads line. This collapse buried many men alive. Shortly after the cave-in, a figure emerged from the wreckage, covered in blood, the red and viscous fluid dripping from its jagged teeth. Strips of flesh hung from the creature’s body, seemingly freshly removed from the men beneath the clay. This creature fled towards the James River and was tracked until it disappeared into the tomb of W. W. Poole, located in Hollywood Cemetery, more than 20 blocks away from the disaster site.
Yet, if this man was the Richmond Vampire, what interesting circumstances about his death have been kept under wraps? Who did he meet the night he died to go from aging bookkeeper to creepy creature of the night?
Unfortunately, not much has happened on the vampire front since the initial sighting in the early 1920s. All modern glimpses of this vampire, aside from the mysterious times the door to the mausoleum has been unlocked and left ajar, echo the original tale, leaving one to wonder if the vampire was really seen at all. The only worthwhile news was when Poole’s bones decorated the hill behind his tomb in a Satanic symbol, prompting the big wigs at Hollywood Cemetery to place Poole’s bones elsewhere. Their current location is a mystery.
Despite the yearnings of Quail Bell(e)s for things to go bump in the night, this vampire’s reign is not as immortal as one would come to believe from vampire lore.