Hassal Grave – Ballasalla, Isle of Man - Atlas Obscura

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Hassal Grave

Malew Churchyard
Ballasalla, Isle of Man

Mysterious chains and iron stakes adorn this strange grave, with no explanation. 


There’s a curious gravesite in Malew Churchyard on the Isle of Man. The burial plot is cornered by four iron stakes, draped with heavy chains. A huge slate slab covers the grave. It remains a mystery as to exactly why these chains were placed here back in the 1850s, but they still stand to this day.

The grave belongs to Mathew and Margaret Hassal, husband and wife. Little is known about the couple, but their unusual resting place is steeped in myth. The most popular theory is that this is the grave of a vampire.

According to the legend, an ungodly groan was heard coming from Mr. Hassal during his wake, which panicked those attending to the extent that chains were placed around the grave to keep the vampire from rising again. Allegedly a stake was also driven through his heart before his burial… just in case.

Another speculative theory, however, is that Mr. Hassal took his own life, which would have forbade him from being buried on consecrated ground. Some suggest that the grave was dug from behind the stone wall that marks the church boundary as a sort of middle-ground compromise. The chains and stakes, however, remain a mystery. 

Know Before You Go

Viewable in the old churchyard, and can actually be seen from the road (A3); you need only climb over a small stile to access it.

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May 22, 2018

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