The Scaredy Cat's Guide To This Spooky RI Spot
Wanna hear something scary? I'm a teeth grinder. Have been on and off since elementary. And the other morning, as the drill, an integral part of the early am repair job being done on one of my front canines, was whirring away, I was thinking about what exactly I should say about the low key DIY ghost (not to be confused with ghosting) tour we had worked on over the weekend. Of course, it included Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Exeter and the grave site of the infamous Mercy L. Brown, usually billed as "New England's last vampire".
Only she wasn't. And that's what was (is) bugging me.
I mean, based on what I've read about what happened back in 1892, she wasn't a vampire at all. Arthur Miller didn't write a play or anything, but the unfolding of events is def reminiscent of the Salem Witch histeria of 1692-1693.
Here's the dealio (the Cliff's Notes version anyway...do they still publish those?):
After dying at 19 from TB, that also killed her sister & her mom (and would later take her brother), Mercy's body was exhumed. Mostly because ppl, including her father, were swept up in a wave of vampire mania (brought on by the TB epidemic and the deaths resulting, and so intense it apparently caused RI to become known as "The Transylvania of North America" around that time. Ummm, excuse me but WTF!?!) and believed she was the cause of her brother's subsequent decline. Y'ok.
Precisely why 'they' took her heart (Her heart being in such good condition postmortem was interpreted as further evidence of her being a vampire. No formal training as a coroner here, but since she died during winter, and her body was believed to have been stored above ground in a vault-like crypt on the premises until the weather thawed enough to allow for digging a proper grave in the Brown family plot, her remains hadn't decomposed as rapidly as a body buried underground would have.) and crushed it into a powder for her brother to ingest to help him fight the Tuberculosis. He still died tho. Yeah, THAT all sounds pretty vampire-ish to me. You?
So, not buying into the vampire folk tales about Mercy. That doesn't mean I'd ever visit that grave (or any for that matter) at night. Especially so close to 10-31. I mean, have we learned nothing from Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story on FX? (Season 1 is the only one I've really been able to get thru at all, if skipping scenes and skimming episodes counts.) Or the Treehouse of Horror episodes of the Simpsons? Read something else about how her coffin is now protected by a special steel bars to prevent anyone from trying to snatch the body. Now, if that's NOT something out of a treatment for a future season of AHS, I don't know what the hell is.
Me personally, I'd much rather sit home and binge on the surplus stock of classic (Kit Kats, Reese's, and Hershey's Milk Choolate, without almonds, forever dammit!) Halloween candy, while catching up on the new season of "You Must Remember This" podcast, spotlighting Hollywood's #1 vampire Dracula (Bela Lugosi), and Frankenstein (Boris Karloff). Bye.
*Additional information regarding Mercy L. Brown (specifically RI being nicknamed 'The Transylvania of No America') courtesy of findagrave.com.
Photo Credits: Photos above courtesy of PattyJ.com