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Matthew Hassal, Isle of Man Vampire

3 min read

The Isle of Man is an ancient land steeped in old superstition, including dark wraiths, fairies and even vampires.
Located on the outskirts of Castletown is Malew Churchyard, a regular graveyard with gravestones dating back centuries, but with also a curious gravesite.
The burial plot is cornered by four iron stakes driven deep into the ground, draped with heavy chains, while a huge slate slab covers the grave.
But It remains a mystery as to exactly why the chains were placed here back in the 1850s, and they still exist to this day.

The grave belongs to Matthew and Margaret Hassal, husband and wife.
Little is known about the couple, as the two lived a relatively quiet life free of attention, but their unusual resting place is steeped in myth.
And, If you speak with the locals, they will provide you with a response as bizarre as the grave itself.
According to them, Matthew was anything but human, but a revenant corpse, more commonly known as a vampire.
It seems that, one day, Matthew inexplicably committed suicide, without give no indication of despair or trouble.
Aged 54 he just decided to one day, end it all.
In those days, suicide was considered an unforgivable sin that brought with it the promise of eternal damnation.
And suicides also meant a Christian burial was out of the question. However, some suggest that the grave was dug from behind the stone wall that marks the church boundary as a sort of middle-ground compromise.
And that’s when things got weird.

According to the legend, while Matthew Hassal was laid out and his family and friends mourning his loss, his corpse suddenly sat up and let out a loud moan, which panicked those attending to the extent that chains were placed around the grave to keep the vampire from rising again.
And allegedly a stake was also driven through his heart before his burial…just in case.
And, anyone familiar with the folklore of the British Isles, knows that iron can stop any supernatural being dead in their tracks. Including vampires.

Of course, they were dead wrong as it seems that the iron stakes and chains were removed and the grotesque spectre of Matthew Hassal was free to once again walk the Earth. And eventually locals drove another stake through his heart.
This story sounds like a sad horror film, just without the popcorn.
But, the people of Castletown, a thoroughly modern city, believe this nightmarish tale and here, still today, old superstitions don’t die quite so easily.
And the grave of the supposedly vampire Matthew Hassal stands as an eternally reminder of this fact.

Well…but history is just that Mr. Hassal’s death was a suicide, which would have forbade him from being buried on consecrated ground.
But in this version chains and stakes remain a mystery.

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