The Last True Case of an American Vampire

The last officially reported case of vampirism in the United States is the case of Mercy Brown from Rhode Island who died in 1892.

The Browns were a wealthy family who were farmers by trade and were popular in their community. Mercy’s mother and sister died of consumption, as did she eventually.
With no answers available to solve this disease, her father looked likely to lose his entire family. He was desperate but could do nothing to stop the onslaught of consumption.

When his son, Edwin, contracted the disease, the father began to believe talk within the village that the situation indicated vampirism. As his son wasted away, it was said that all the deaths and illnesses within the family had been caused by vampirism.

Mercy had been temporarily held above ground in a crypt at the local church—the Chestnut Hill cemetery. It was January, and the ground was frozen hard, so she could not be buried until the thaw. Her father and several of his associates went to the cemetery to check her body. Due to the cold weather they found the body well preserved and took this to be a sign of her vampirism.

They cut out her heart and burned it, by all accounts, on a rock. Then they mixed the ashes with a liquid and gave it to Edwin to drink. The father and his associates felt that it would be a cure. Mercy’s remains were then replaced and later buried in a plot next to her sister and mother. Edwin did not recover and died several months later.

And there ends the tale. There are many more similar cases across the world. Wherever there’s the spread of disease—there’s folklore. 

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