As I have recently taken a particular liking to visiting Victorian / Gothic cemeteries around London in the interest of taking pictures of some of the more fascinating funeral monuments I had a quick search to see a top of some of the most intriguing ones that can be found across the UK and I happened upon this “little” jewel in Liverpool.
The pyramid shaped mausoleum is the resting place of William MacKenzie and his life has spawned a rather interesting legend.
The inscription reads: “In the vault beneath lie the remains of William MacKenzie of Newbie Dumfrishire, Esquire who died 29th October 1851 aged 57 years. Also, Mary his wife, who died 19th December 1838 aged 48 years and Sarah, his second wife who died 9th December 1867 aged 60 years. This monument was erected by his Brother Edward as a token of love and affection A.D. 1868. The memory of the just is blessed” so I`m pretty sure his wishes were not respected after all…
Believed to be a passionate gambler during his life, he apparently left precise instructions for his interment. His body was never to be committed to the earth, instead sitting upright at a card table and clutching a winning hand of cards, as a means of cheating Satan out of claiming his soul.
More than 150 years after his death he is believed to be a vampire (or revenant, depending on what ghost tour you take) who roams the streets of Liverpool in his fancy attire.
There are no accounts of him supposedly attacking people to drink their blood, only of him coming back from the dead and having sold his soul.
There are 2 versions to his story:
The first is that he sold his soul to the devil in order to accumulate his impressive fortune and then expressed his wish not to be buried after deal in a bid to cheat his way out of the deal he had truck.
The second is that he became an atheist after a loved one died and following a night of drinking and gambling he loses his shirt to an impressive player. He plays one last hand with the only thing he had left, his soul. As he was an atheist he believed he had nothing to lose, but when the hand turns bad for him he ends up seeing his opponent vanish. It turned out to be the devil that ended up claiming his soul when he is buried.