The Strange Case of Mercy Brown

Mercy Brown was tagged as a Vampire, but was she?

In 1800s, England was inflicted with a disease Tuberculosis (known as consumption). The Brown family was not spared as Mary Eliza, George’s wife died in December, 1883. Just six months after, Mary Olive succumbed to the disease and died in June, the next year.

mercy brown
The Brown family members one by one succumbed to death (youtube grab).

After seven years, Edwin, the only son contracted the same disease.  He and his wife decided to go to Colorado Springs to find cure. Meanwhile, Mercy Lena became ill and died in January, 1892. Since the ground was ice-covered due to winter, her body was stored in a crypt at the Chestnut Hill Cemetery, awaiting burial.

Meanwhile, Edwin and his family returned home but was diagnosed with consumption. He was very ill. Family members and friends insisted that the deaths might be caused by something supernatural. They suggested that one of the deceased family members was a vampire rising from grave to take the life of the living.

George listened to the old folks and asked the help of Harold Metcalf, a doctor from Wickford. A group of friends and neighbors unearthed the bodies of Mary Eliza, Mary Olive and opened the casket of Mercy Lena. As expected, they uncovered the skeletons of Mary Eliza and Mary Olive. However, they were surprised to see Mercy Lena’s body inside the crypt.

When they opened the coffin, they observed that Mercy Lena’s body seemed to change its position. They were shocked to see her body was still in excellent condition. When Dr. Metcalf cut her heart, fresh blood drifted from it. They were certain Mercy Lena was the vampire. The doctor remove her heart and lungs before she was given a proper burial. Her organs were burned it to ashes. The ashes were mixed in water and given to Edwin hoping it will cure his illness. However, he passed away two months after.

mercy brown
Mercy Brown’s tombstone (

Mercy was said to be the last of five alleged Rhode Island vampires. Since then, embalming became a practice to free the people from suspicions of dead rising from grave.

Until this day, people visiting the Chestnut Hill Cemetery claimed to hear a crying woman and seeing light near Mercy Brown’s tomb. Some reported sightings of the ghost of Mercy walking through the cemetery.


Source: Quohog   Strange New England

Further Reading

Vampires: The Myths, Legends, and Lore

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