The story of Mercy Brown: New England’s last vampire

Marija Georgievska
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In 19th-century New England, there was an outbreak of tuberculosis known as Consumption through Rhode Island and other parts of the country.

It was called the New England vampire panic and the most famous case was that of the Brown family and their 19-year daughter Mercy Brown. The Mercy Brown vampire incident occurred in 1982 when Mercy died from the disease.

The incident of Mercy Brown was part of the New England vampire panic


An article from the Boston Daily Globe that describes the vampire beliefs in Rhode Island

During the panic, The Brown family lived in the small town of Exeter in Rhode Island. George and Mary Brown were well-respected farmers and there was no reason to suspect that they were anything but a normal family.

The unusual case started with the death of Mary Brown in 1883 and in 1888 their eldest daughter Mary Olive died from the same disease. After their deaths, in 1890 their son Edwin became ill and his father tried everything to keep him alive. In the meantime, Mercy died from the Consumption in January 1892.

The gravestone of Mercy Brown in the small cemetery of the Baptist Church in Exeter Photo Credit

Scared from the terrifying symptoms of tuberculosis, the locals started to believe that this illness was influenced of the undead and it was caused by vampires. They concluded that one of the demons lived in one of the Brown graves. It was determined that Mercy Brown was a vampire who draw the life out of her entire family.

Mercy Brown was considered to be the last vampire of New England  Photo Credit

On the morning of March 17th, 1892, the bodies of her mother and sister were dug up and it was determined that neither was a vampire because the bodies were decomposing as would be expected but, when they dug up Mercy’s body they found her in excellent condition.

There was no decay and her body was not in the position it had been buried. They found fresh blood in her heart which was immediately removed from her chest and burned to ashes on a nearby rock. The remnants of her heart were mixed with water and given to Edwin to drink them. His father was hoping that the ashes of a “vampire heart” could cure him. The ritual failed and Edwin died within two months.

The Baptist Church in Exeter Photo Credit

Mercy Brown’s body was held in a casket above ground in winter and many modern scientists were convinced that her body was in excellent condition because of the freezing temperatures.

Read another story from us: A physics professor claimed that it is impossible for vampires to exist based on geometric progression

Still, no one can explain how her body wasn’t in the same position. After being violated, Mercy’s body was buried in Chestnut Hill Cemetery behind the Baptist Church in Exeter. The legend about Mercy Brown continues to live on throughout the centuries.