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History & Culture

Top 5 Mysteries to explore in Barbados

Top 5 Mysteries to explore in Barbados
MAR 02, 2016 @ 07:49

Barbados is magical, exotic and thoroughly delightful! With both natural and manmade treasures to admire and mystify, Barbados has what it takes to stimulate and satisfy even the most inquiring mind. It’s all about discovery and going beyond the imagination to places where scenic vistas and scientific anomalies coexist, yet appeal to the romantic within us! 

When we invite you to explore and discover Barbados, we really mean it! That’s because every corner of the island provides exciting opportunities to see and learn something exciting!  Every nook and cranny has golden nuggets of experiences to treasure, and legends and mysteries to confound and astonish! Barbados has it all, with something to satisfy history buffs, geographers and ghost busters alike! Hard to believe? Well, check them out for yourself!  

Here are just 5 of the mysteries which await you: 

The Chase Vault

Erie and intriguing, the Chase Burial Vault in the southern parish of Christ Church was the final resting place of the Chase family, but the question of whether the occupants did indeed rest, has been part of Barbadian folklore for hundreds of years.  Entombed were lead coffins which, according to legend, moved around the vault. In 1833, when the vault was opened for the burial of a family member, the coffins which were already entombed, were alleged to have been mysteriously and inexplicably displaced, with some even found upside down. The coffins were always set right, and the entrance sealed tightly, but It was said that whenever the vault was reopened, the coffins were never in their places, and there was no external evidence to suggest human interference. While the vault has since been abandoned and the coffins relocated, the phenomenon has defied all scientific explanation. Whether or not the coffins moved or even danced to the beat of their own otherworldly drums, we might never know, but it’s fun to speculate anyway! 

Gravity at Cherry Tree Hill

Known for its breathtaking view of the Scotland District in the eastern parish of St. Andrew, Cherry Tree Hill is a must-see during your Barbados getaway.    At approximately 850 feet above sea level, it is not only a gorgeous location, which showcases our magnificent countryside, but it is also the site of a mystery, which has amazed locals and visitors alike. It’s a place which contradicts the laws of gravity and vehicles don’t behave as they should. Whoever heard of a parked car rolling uphill?  Well, that’s exactly what happens on Cherry Tree Hill. How is that possible?  Do ghostly unseen hands propel stationary vehicles on their upward climb? Is it an optical illusion or just one of those unexplained mysteries?  Come experience it for yourself! 

Garrison Tunnels

What could be more thrilling and mysterious than furtive underground activity, where “murders, executions, crimes and punishments” were all too familiar occurrences? Discovered quite by chance, during the restoration of George Washington House, the temporary residence of US President George Washington on his only trip outside the US, the Garrison Tunnels are almost 200 years old.  Comprising 2 miles of networking underground corridors, the tunnels lie 12 to 17 feet beneath the Garrison Area, part of Barbados' UNESCO World Heritage Property.  While research suggests that they were used for drainage and to facilitate the movement of soldiers around this military site, they are also grim reminders of the horrors of the slave trade, providing deep cover for the clandestine disposal of bodies, which were floated out to sea. If you have a penchant for the macabre, this one’s for you! 

The HARP Gun

Who knows what secrets lie in the rusting carcass of the HARP gun, or what it could have achieved in the development of space discovery in Barbados? The HARP gun was intended as a satellite launcher - a HUGE cannon / gun, designed to “shoot things into space!”  Built in 1961, HARP, an acronym for High Altitude Research Project, was an initiative between the American and Canadian governments. Designed by ballistics engineer Gerald Bull, who was assassinated in 1990 while working on another space gun project for the Iraqi government, the HARP gun in Barbados was able to fire an object 112 miles into the sky. It set a world record for gun-launched altitude that has yet to be surpassed.  Meanwhile, the identity of Bull’s assassin remains a mystery. US and Canadian funding for HARP ended in 1967, and the space gun was abandoned at its original site at Foul Bay, in the southeastern parish of St. Philip. It still stands today as a testament to what may have been.   You’ve got to see it to believe it! 

Sam Lord

Straight out of the annals of Bajan history, legend and folklore, is Sam Lord himself!  By all accounts a buccaneer and a rogue, Samuel Hall Lord, known as Sam Lord, is said to have acquired great wealth by plundering the ships he lured onto coastal reefs off the parish of St. Philip by hanging lanterns in the coconut trees. The ships’ captains would mistake the lights for the Bridgetown port and their ships would be wrecked on the jagged rocks. Sam Lord’s Castle, once the stately home of Barbados’ most famous brigand, was supposedly built from these ill-gotten gains. However, the speculation and indeed the mystery today is whether Sam Lord did indeed cause all the wrecks for which he is blamed.  Some of the wrecks may have occurred fortuitously and other records have shown that Lord was away when some of incidents occurred and therefore he could not have been responsible.  

Legend also has it that some of Sam Lord’s vast treasure was stored in a dungeon and in a network of tunnels under the beach and the castle, but this booty was never found.  The castle which was a crumbling shell is now under renovations, but if walls could talk, they would have much to say about its infamous owner and the mystery and intrigue which surrounds him to this day.