The Vampire Ghost of Erie, PA

Posted by junketseo in Philadelphia Ghost Tours
The Vampire Ghost of Erie, PA - Photo


White house with red roof on beach of lake Erie

Many tourists come to the city of Erie, nicknamed the Gem City, for access to the lake that lends its name to the town, bird watching in its sanctuaries, and picturesque views of its lighthouses. But did you know this city is also haunted? And not by just any ghost—but the ghost of a vampire.

Erie, Pennsylvania, is filled with tales of the macabre and buildings that still serve as chambers for souls eternally locked away. Amongst the many locations known for their ghostly reputation, there’s one that harbors a unique and terrifying apparition.

Legend has it that the Erie Cemetery is the residence of an actual vampire, rumored to reside among the weathered stones and monuments.

The Genesis of a Legend

Picture of shadowy vampire standing in front of silhouette cemetery.
Image Source: Flickr

Founded in 1851, the Erie Cemetery houses a brooding mausoleum known colloquially as the Vampire’s Crypt.

Appropriately, the mausoleum is constructed of darkened marble, so even in the bright light of the summer sun, there is an air of gloominess about the place. The family name on the lintel has deliberately been chiseled away over the years, adding further to the mystery.

What we do know for sure is that Gertrude Brown owned this mausoleum. However, we also know that no one by that name is in the tomb. The first body interred within was a man named G.W. Goodrich, who died on November 14, 1884.

Over time, several other bodies were disinterred and buried within the crypt. The legend surrounding this mausoleum does not name who the actual vampire is. After all, any legend worth its salt needs to be nebulous and ambiguous. It is said, however, by those who “know” this story that the vampire who haunts this cemetery is a man who traveled from Romania in the late 1800s and, soon after his arrival to Erie, died of tuberculosis, which was, at this time, known as consumption.

People succumb to this disease after a period of coughing up blood and slowly wasting away, furthering the notion that this person was a vampire and not a victim of a disease.

It was a short time after this man’s death that strange events began to happen around the city of Erie. Dead bodies were soon discovered in the suburbs, with puncture wounds at the neck. Upon further investigation, it was shown that these victims were drained of blood.


The Vampire Confronted

Black and white picture of the vampire crypt in Erie.
Image Source: Flickr

It is said that a maintenance man who lived on the cemetery grounds discovered these hellish predations were carried out by a figure who left the mausoleum at night. One day this groundskeeper promptly burned the crypt and, presumably, its vampiric occupant to stop this fiend from killing again.

But this conflagration did not burn the vampire out of memory. Nor did the fire end the predations. The mortal body was burned away, but the vampire’s ghost remained!


Double Dog Dare


In the 1930s, a high school student made a bet with his friends that he was not afraid of the vampire legend and did not even believe that it was based in fact. Of course, that kind of claim would have to be proven, so the young man proclaimed that he would sneak into the cemetery and enter the crypt of the monster, which he did not believe existed.

He even promised to return undeniable proof of his visitation to the tomb.
That evening, long after night settled and a hush came over the city, the boy entered the cemetery by sliding through the main gate’s bars.

He was determined to gain entry into the crypt rumored to conceal the vampire’s remains and prove his courage to his high school buddies. Quietly, he picked his way through the gravestones of the Erie Cemetery, crept past the guard’s house, and came upon the mausoleum.

After breaking into the crypt, he was welcomed with a putrid stench. Inside this mausoleum was a rotting wooden coffin that barely enclosed a desiccated corpse. To prove to his friends that he had gained entry into the crypt, this young man took a ring from this decaying corpse and slid it onto his finger. As it happened, this man had little time to relish in the bravery of his deeds.


Well, the next day, this young man was found dead in his bed, his ring finger savagely torn from his hand. After this incident, the mausoleum was purported to be sealed shut and securely chained so that no other unfortunate soul may succumb to the same dreadful fate.


Visiting the Cemetery

A picture of several tombstones at the Erie cemetery.
Image Source: Flickr

If you are feeling brave and want to leave the sandy beaches of Erie behind, you can visit the Erie Cemetery and visit the Vampire’s Grave. Please be respectful and mindful that this is still an active cemetery where many people’s loved ones are laid to rest.

Also, be mindful that the vampire’s ghost is still said to reside within the gates of this cemetery. Many tourists have photographed strange images of something human-like moving among the stones within the cemetery. Other visitors have reported being touched, while others have claimed to be scratched or bit by some unknown entity.

Just remember you have been warned, and once you enter through the cemetery gate, you have entered the domain of the vampire’s ghost!