New England’s Last Vampire

When we imagine vampire hunts, remote Eastern European villages typically come to mind. But late 19th century America was not immune to this phenomenon. The town of Exeter in Rhode Island believed itself to be under attack from a vampire and actually took steps to rid themselves of the menace. Their methods were nothing short of gruesome.

The Brown family of Exeter experienced a series of tragedies that began in 1883. First, Mary Brown, the mother, died of tuberculosis. The oldest Brown daughter, Mary Olive, died from the same illness in 1888. By 1890, two more children were sick: the son, Edwin, and another daughter, Mercy. Edwin lingered on, becoming more frail and sick, but Mercy succumbed to the disease in January of 1892, while Edwin and her father, George, were in Colorado seeking treatment for Edwin’s condition.

underworldtales.com
underworldtales.com

Since the ground was too frozen that winter to dig a grave, Mercy was placed in an above-ground crypt until the ground thawed. Before the burial could take place, George and Edwin returned to Exeter.

Edwin’s treatment did nothing to stop the worsening of his tuberculosis. In fact, his condition worsened when they returned home. That’s when things started getting weird. Edwin began telling people that his dead sister, Mercy, was coming to him at night and trying to suck the life out of him. It wasn’t long before other town residents started reporting seeing Mercy walking through the local graveyard at night. Compounding the problem was the fact that tuberculosis was not well-understood at the time. The way it often caused its victims to slowly waste away caused superstitious people to blame the illness on vampires or other evil creatures.

The people of Exeter must have been a rather superstitious lot, because they convinced George Brown to have the bodies of his dead family exhumed to determine exactly which one was the vampire. The bodies of Mary and Mary Olive were found to be in an advanced state of decay, so they were quickly ruled out as being vampires. Mercy, however, did not appear to have decomposed at all. It even appeared that her hair and nails had grown since her death. Just to make sure, her internal organs were removed. Liquid blood was found to still be in her heart, leading the townspeople to conclude that she was a vampire and the cause of the plague that had devastated the Browns.

The residents of Exeter decided to rid themselves of this vampiric presence. Following the superstitions of the time, her heart was removed and burned to ashes, and the rest of her body was buried in the Baptist cemetery. The ashes of her heart were then mixed with water and given to Edwin to drink. It was believed that this would cure him, but he died a few months later.

It is easy to explain why the people of Exeter believed Mercy to be a vampire. When compared to the bodies of her mother and sister, hers looked pristine. We know now that this was because Mary and Mary Olive died several years earlier, and had been buried underground for some time. Mercy’s body, on the other hand, had effectively been placed in a freezer due to the frozen ground. This greatly slowed down her body’s decomposition, causing the townspeople to believe she was undead. We also know that the hair and nails appear to grow on a corpse because the skin starts to shrink away as it dries after death. This is what had happened to poor Mercy.

Visitors to Exeter still go to visit the grave of Mercy Brown in Exeter’s Chestnut Hill Cemetery. And locals still report sightings of her ghost, said to be unable to rest due to her body’s desecration.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • The Man Who Fought WWII For 30 Years

    The mission was to stay out of sight and collect information about the Allied troop movements. The Location was the island of Lubang in the Philippines. Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda from the Japanese Imperial Army was tasked with a Rambo-like top secret mission: him and his four man team against the world. At least that is...

    Read More
  • Transgender Women Able To Breastfeed

    A transgender woman was able to happily produce healthy milk to feed her partner’s newborn child. A new report that was following the case shows she was able to breastfeed the baby for six weeks without any issues. This is a groundbreaking report and the first medical document of its...

    Read More
  • Your DNA Could Stretch To Pluto And Back Over 17 Times

    The human genome, the genetic code that makes a human well a human is a fascinating science. It continues to open up new doors and understanding about our wellbeing and health. Some things today we still do not fully understand. But what we do know is that the length of all your DNA combined is...

    Read More
  • The Mad Egyptian Pickpocket King

    King Farouk the last ruler of Egypt had an embarrassing and strange problem: he could not stop pickpocketing people. A bit of a bizarre trait for someone who had unlimited wealth, no? In fact, he was he caused so many problems during his monarchy that some people believe he is...

    Read More
  • American Woman Falls Asleep And Wakes Up British!

    For a young woman in Arizona, this suddenly became a reality. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Even though she had never been out of the United States she woke up speaking with a British accent. In 2015, Michelle Myers went to bed early with an extreme headache, just thinking she had a pretty bad migraine. Yet...

    Read More
  • Avicenna The Scientist Responsible For Quarantine

    Avicenna or Abu Ali Sina was a Persian scientist who is seen as one of the greatest thinkers that came out of the Islamic Golden Age. The Islamic Golden Age is an era where the Islamic world flourished, great scientific and economic development was possible and is generally dated from the 8th century all the...

    Read More
  • You Can See An Owl’s Eyeball Through Their Ears

    Ever wanted to see the inside of an owl’s eyeball? No, not really? Well if you did all you would have to do is have a quick peek inside their ears! You can just literally look into the inside of an owl’s head through their ears. Owls, like all birds,...

    Read More
  • Khalid Bin Walid: The Undefeated General

    When you look back at history and try to complete a list of the greatest military commanders. A big win for a potential candidate would, of course, being undefeated. And when you look at that trait the list is very small, in fact, he is one of three and his name is Khalid Bin Walid....

    Read More