Mercy Brown's Grave - Exeter, RI

This side trip is dedicated to a bit of Rhode Island urban legend. The grave or Mercy Brown, also known as "Vampire's grave" at least amoung my peers back in the 1990's.

This young woman was of the unfortunate members of the Brown family to died of a mystery illness (tuberculosis) in the 1890's. After both her mother and sister died and she died her brother also became sick. The people of Exeter and her father were convinced, after confirming the other ladies were normal dead people, that she must have been a vampire because her corpse was not decomposing as expected. Worth noting however, that since she died in winter and her body was being stored above ground in a crypt it was likely frozen so yeah, it wouldn't have decomposed, but I digress.

Since this lack of decomposition was noted it was naturally determined she must have been one of the undead. You see, there was a bit of a vampire panic happening around that time (take that witches, you have to share the spotlight of New England irrational behavior). Knowing this the ripped out her heart, burned it, and made the poor doomed brother drink the ashes... Hmmmm, 1890's medicine! He ultimately died of TB two months later and the remainder of her remains were burned and buried where he stone now stands.

When I was young the legends surrounding this grave and area were all over the place. Kids shared stories like that her gravestone glowed at night, there was a mystery ghost house that would appear on your way out there but not show up on the way back, and people disappearing into the woods never to be seen again. Regardless it was a fun trip when I was a teenager to go out there and it was a little bit nostalgic to go there again now. Notice in the picture below there is a metal brace around the bottom of the stone. This was put there so people would stop stealing or tipping over the grave.

Also noticed all the things that people leave behind. I couldn't help but leave something as well. Its weird but I felt obligated..? Places like this are amazing. The Brown family and residences of Exeter would have no way to know that despite Mercy's unfortunate and grizzly end that people would still be visiting 100 years later and probably will a hundred years from now.