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Moving Coffins Cases: Buxhowden & Chase Families’ Crypts

The Chase Crypt
There are cases of moving caskets. This happened in the Buxhowden and Chase family vaults. Science offered no valid explanations. Were entities responsible?

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Moving Coffins: The Chase Crypt

The Chases used the vault to bury a family infant in 1808, then adult daughter, Dorcas, in July 1812. The crypt was sealed with a heavy marble slab that was cemented over. When the vault was opened in August 1812 for family patriarch Thomas Chase’s interment, the coffins were moved from their original positions.

They were put into their original side-by-side positions and the vault was re-sealed. The crypt was opened in September and November 1816 and in 1819. Every time the coffins were found in disarray. The eerie incidents garnered the attention of the authorities.

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Governor of Barbados Lord Combermere saw the tossed coffins in the 1819 vault opening. He was determined to solve the mystery and, maybe catch the pranksters, so he started an investigation. The vault walls were scrutinized for other sources of egress.

Brick masons tapped on the floor with hammers and failed to identify any secret passages. Combermere placed fine sand on the floor to perceive human intrusion and had the door resealed. As a last safeguard he imprinted his seal in the cement.

The vault was reopened eight months later. Combermere’s seal was intact, evidencing no one entered through the door. Thomas Chase’s coffin, leaning against the crypt door, impeded access. When the vault was opened, the coffins were tossed.

The governor ordered the coffins to be moved to another location. The crypt was abandoned.

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Boxhowden Vault

Both moving coffins incidents had similarities. The Buxhowden, also spelled Boxhoewden, events began in 1844 when a loud crash was heard in the crypt. The location was on the Island of Oesel, now Sarremaa, in the Baltic Sea.

When the crypt was first opened, coffins were piled on top of each other in the middle of the structure. The atmosphere was ominous. Caskets were replaced on the iron racks mounted on its walls. The vault was locked and sealed with lead to make it secure. Neither the Buxhowdens nor the authorities could figure out how the coffins were moved. They didn’t tell the villagers what they found.

Later, eleven horses were tied to the posts near the vault. Some fell down and refused to stand. Three of the animals died. Others ripped their reins from the posts and galloped away.

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People felt eerie tremors emanating from the ground beneath the crypt. Villagers feared the supernatural happenings and gave a petition to the Consistory elders to do something about the unsettling happenings.

A Buxhoewden died while the elders were trying to figure out what to do. When the door to the crypt was opened for interment, coffins were found piled on top of each other in the middle of the crypt. There were mysterious marks on one of the caskets. They were replaced on the iron racks. Locks were changed and new lead was poured on them. The elders decided to investigate.

Consistory President Baron De Guldenstubbe, accompanied by two Buxhowdens, went to the crypt. The door remained locked. Seals had not been tampered with. A witness was summoned to watch three men break the seals and unlock the doors. When they entered the crypt, they saw the coffins had been tossed again. There was no way someone could have tunneled through the intact walls.

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The bodies were put into new coffins. Ashes were sprinkled on the floor to reveal footprints. The crypt was locked and sealed again. Workmen dug a six foot deep ditch around the crypt. Armed guards stood at the entrance.

Three days later, the Baron and two of the Buxhowdens went to the crypt and found the coffins standing on end; the ashes, undisturbed. The bodies were interred elsewhere; the crypt sealed forever.

Moving Coffins: More Cases

In 1907, English folklorist Andrew Lang was very interested in the Boxhowden crypt’s occurrence, which was documented by American diplomat Robert Dale Owen who reported it in Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World in 1960; however Lang found no other written records.

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There is another moving coffin story that’s believed to be genuine. It was printed in the September 1815 edition of The European Magazine. This was the case of “The Curious Vault at Stanton in Suffolk.” Coffins were displaced several times under inexplicable circumstances.

F. A. Paley mentioned an incident when his father was the rector in the parish of Gretford, England. His father noticed that several times the coffins in a vault were found to have been moved. The occurrence was quickly covered up out of respect for the family who owned the crypt.

Moving Coffins: Theories

Natural causes, including water seeping into the crypts and earthquakes, as well as pranksters, were ruled out to account for these extraordinary phenomena. Perhaps the answer lays in entity agent poltergeist, EAP, activity, the ability of the mind to affect matter.

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EAPs have been documented as being able to move heavy objects. According to parapsychological survivalist theory, part of the human survives the physical body’s death. If this theory is proven valid, who are the EAPs?

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.