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Monday, November 17, 2008

vampires in exeter, ri

[TRUE STORY]

The Mercy Brown Vampire Incident, which occurred in 1892, is one of the best documented cases of the exhumation of a corpse in order to perform rituals to banish an undead manifestation.

In Exeter, Rhode Island, the family of George and Mary Brown suffered a sequence of tuberculosis infections in the final two decades of the 19th century. Tuberculosis was called "consumption" at the time and was a devastating and much-feared disease.

The mother, Mary, was the first to die of the disease, followed in 1888 by their eldest daughter, Mary Olive. Two years later, in 1890, their son Edwin also became sick.

In 1891, another daughter, Mercy, contracted the disease and died in January 1892. She was buried in the cemetery of the Baptist Church in Exeter

Friends and neighbors of the family believed that one of the dead family members was a vampire (although they did not use that name) and causing Edwin's illness. This was in accordance with threads of contemporary folklore linking multiple deaths in one family to undead activity. Consumption was a poorly understood condition at the time and the subject of much urban mythology.

George Brown was persuaded to exhume the bodies, which he did with the help of several villagers on March 17, 1892. While the bodies of both Mary and Mary Olive had undergone significant decomposition over the intervening years, the more recently buried body of Mercy was still relatively unchanged and had blood in the heart. This was taken as a sign that the teenager was undead and the agent of young Edwin's condition. The cold New England weather made the soil virtually impenetrable, essentially guaranteeing that Mercy's body was kept in freezer-like conditions in an above-ground crypt during the 2 months following her death. Therefore, the lack of decomposition is not surprising.

Mercy's heart was removed from her body, burnt, and the remnants mixed with water and given to the sick Edwin to drink. Unfortunately, despite all his efforts, George was unsuccessful in protecting his son, who died two months later.

[Mercy Brown Gravestone]

3 comments:

steve said...

so i take it that you're really excited for the "twilight" movie?

ha!

andrew said...

mmm vampire teen romance flicks... everything i'm looking for in cinema

Suzanna said...

and novels too!