Author: Sebastian Garland
Vampires are undead creatures who drink a person’s blood to feed their hunger, many people believed that these creatures live among us. Acting as which they are normal people. People called anything that looked out of place, a monster. So, it would not be completely shocking to mistake a scientific accident for a monster. A common illness that was seen as an act of a vampire was tuberculosis, which mostly ended in death during the 19th century. The most common symptom was that it made you slowly lose weight, which could be related to what happens when your blood gets ‘sucks’ out of your body. Which most people think vampires cause on their victims.
|A person who fell to the illness of tuberculous during the 1880s.
One of the first actions of the belief of the vampires is the Mercy Brown case. It started with the Brown family, George and Mary Brown, moving to this new town, Exeter, Rhode Island. The village thought the family was normal and did not think anything about it. Till the day Mary Brown, Mercy’s mother, fell ill with tuberculosis during the 1800s. It caused her to die, then her eldest daughter happened to have the same fate. Then the action happened again with her son, but he happened to pull the lucky stick and survived the illness. Finally, Mercy fell ill and had the same future as her sister and mother. The sudden rounds of death felt odd to the villagers, and they started to be a little more interested into the family’s personal business.
|Mercy Brown’s grave as of modern day sights.
Mercy’s mother and sister were soon buried after their deaths, but Mercy was not due to the extreme coldness. So, the village decided to live Mercys body out and wait out till it became warmer. When the village turned their attention back to burying Mercy, they noticed something odd about her body. When the villagers opened her casket and saw she was in ‘perfect’ condition, no sights of decay and maybe even some growth within her hair as well as her fingernails. She was believed to still be alive due to the fact that she has change in a positive way and looked even better than when she died. They are though she was a vampire and was the cause of her family’s deaths. So, they decided to burn her body in order to ‘kill‘ the monster, saving her father and her brother from the same fate as the other two faced.
|Mercy before she died, happy and safe.
It was later believed that Mercy was not a vampire but rather just a scientific action. That the cold from the weather caused Mercy body’s to be left in a stable state and was not able to start decaying because she was basically frozen in time. Which counteracted the effect of decaying, but the growth of the nails and hairs has yet to be proven against, but it shown that stories sometimes change which could be mean that someone just added that detail to the story to make it a little more interesting than before.
Crystal Ponti. “When New Englanders Blamed Vampires for Tuberculosis” A&E Television Networks, October 25, 2019, https://www.history.com/news/vampires-tuberculosis-consumption-new-england. October 26, 2023
J.W. Ocker. “Explore the dark side of New England with these spooky sites” Boston Globe Media Partners, October 5, 2013, https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2013/10/05/explore-dark-side-new-england-with-spooky-sites/bV8m5801urtdRqf4tdQPjN/story.html
Staff Writer. “Mercy Brown, The Rhode Island Vampire Lady.” Any Mystery, December 14, 2022, https://anymystery.com/mercy-brown-the-rhode-island-vampire-lady/.
Links for Further Research:
The Mercy Brown Vampire Story, https://www.historicmysteries.com/mercy-brown/ This article written by Doug MacGowan, who writes a lot of stories about historic true crimes, goes into detail about the actions that took place before, during and after the deaths of the Brown family.
Why The Mercy Brown Case Remains One Of History’s Craziest “Vampire” Incidents, https://allthatsinteresting.com/mercy-brown-vampire This article published by all that’s interesting, a website that writes a lot of facture but interesting stories, goes into details as well as the facts that stand base on the Mercy Brown case.
The story of Mercy Brown: New England’s last vampire, https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/01/16/the-story-of-mercy-brown-new-englands-last-vampire/ This article written by Marjia Georgevska shows a different theory on what happened after Mercy died and shows aspect that the first theory might of