Paranormal Travels, Exeter, Rhode Island

Sherri Granato By Sherri Granato, 4th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Paranormal>Ghosts & Spirits

The story of Mercy Brown and the belief of vampires has been a point of interest and inspiration to the famous Dracula author Bram Stoker and horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. The well-known legend has also drawn in paranormal investigators and ghost hunters who in the past have visited the Chestnut Hill Cemetery where Mercy is buried.

Mercy Brown: New England Ghosts, Vampires, Disease & Death

Long before Medicine's Industrial Revolution along with our knowledge and understanding of illness and disease, tuberculosis was often regarded as a form of vampirism. The infectious disease was once referred to as consumption due to the way it consumed or literally ate people alive from within causing bloody coughs, chest pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, lethargy, a lack of color, restlessness, fever and before modern medication came along, eventually death.

Before modern medication came along it was almost expected that when one family member died from tuberculosis, the remaining members living within the household would eventually become infected and either suffer the loss of their good health over time or perish from it as well. Before learning the facts about the disease people once believed that the deceased victim drained the life from the other family members from their grave, leading to the disturbing belief that anyone who contracted tuberculosis or exhibited the symptoms of TB were considered to carry the life threatening traits that only a vampire would have.

During the later part of the nineteenth century, the good people of Exeter, Rhode Island, along with the Brown family became inflicted with tuberculosis. At the time the feared disease was known by the town's people as consumption and it caused a flurry of pandemonium among the residents. Mary Brown, loving mother and wife to George suffered from the disease before she succumbed to it sometime between 1886 and 1887. Sadly the infectious disease was passed down to the oldest Brown daughter, Mary Olive who died from it in 1888. George Brown was devastated that both his wife and daughter had been taken from him in just a short period of time, and was attempting to adjust to a life without them when just two short years later his son Edwin became deathly ill with the disease and remained bedridden.

Mr. Brown was becoming more agitated, and was soon at a loss for words as desperation set in on how he was to get his household back in order with everyone in good health, but it just was not meant to be for him or his suffering family. Just one short year after Edwin contracted tuberculosis, so did his beloved daughter Mercy who needlessly sustained violent bouts from everything that the deadly disease had to offer her young body. Unable to fight the fever, chills, weight loss and non-stop coughing, nineteen year old Mercy gave in and on January 17th, 1892 lost her battle to the disease that consumed her body for more than a year.

Folklore, superstitions, myths, legends and downright vicious gossip soon followed the young girl's death. People who had once been friends of the family now turned a blind eye to their pain and started talking about vampires, and how it was possible that the Brown family was possibly inflicted by vampirism due to the multiple deaths that had occurred so close together. Neighbors became panicked and superstitions soon took over any intelligent reasoning and the town's residents decided that the last sister buried was attempting to take Edwin's life as well due to the state of his declining health. The good people of Exeter gathered together and had a meeting that would determine that George Brown would undoubtedly need to exhume his daughter Mercy's body from its present state of unrest. Just two months after her burial the villagers along with Mr. Brown unearthed Mercy's body on St. Patrick's Day who by their description stated that she was in an unchanged state, despite being dead and that she most certainly had blood pumping through her heart.

Not understanding that the harsh New England weather most likely preserved the young woman's body, the people that George had known most of his life would have none of it and decided that Mercy's body must be desecrated, and that her heart must be removed and drained of all life and then burnt beyond all recognition. The organ was doused after being lit like an inferno, and the remains added to water and made into an elixir for poor Edwin to drink as to save himself from the devastation of an untimely death at the hands of consumption as well. Sadly Edwin died just two months after drinking the potion that was almost certainly guaranteed would save his life. To this day local folklore and legends claim that Mercy appears at the site where she was buried. It is believed that she remains in a realm of unrest due to the unsettling aspects surrounding the disturbance of her grave at the hands of people that she knew, loved and trusted.

The story of Mercy Brown and the belief of vampires has been a point of interest and inspiration to the famous Dracula author Bram Stoker and horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. The well-known legend has also drawn in paranormal investigators and ghost hunters who in the past have visited the Chestnut Hill Cemetery where Mercy is buried. Anyone who has ever heard the tale feels strongly that the violation of her body is the very reason that she still appears today. Mercy has been seen in a tattered black dress, dirty and disheveled, walking aimlessly throughout the graveyard both day and night. She is often accompanied by a thick mist and strange blue lights that move near her grave. High-tech equipment has captured her ghost on film and a team of investigators managed to capture the voice of a young woman clearly saying "please leave now, and let me rest in peace"!

The Chestnut Hill Cemetery, located in Exeter, Rhode Island is famously known for being the final resting place of the Brown family, and it is a known hot spot for paranormal activity from a few other restless ghosts other than the stern faced Mercy. Orbs of light are almost always seen floating by Mercy's grave and the feeling of uneasiness never completely goes away. A male ghost in his early forty's follows anyone who dares to tread on the grounds where sadness prevails. The nosy ghost has been heard talking and he never approaches those that are living, but instead watches over and possibly protects the dead that remain in a constant state on unrest. He has been caught on film as he never fails to make his presence known to those that actively seek him. Visitors to the Chestnut Hill Cemetery have been advised to go there at their own risk.

Location: 467 Ten Rod Road, Exeter, Rhode Island. Located behind the 1838 historical Greek revival Chestnut Hill Baptist Church is the Rhode Island Historical Cemetery No. 22. Mercy Brown's grave is located at the center of the haunted cemetery.


A Lack Of Color, Bedridden, Blood, Bloody Coughs, Bram Stoker, Buried, Cemetery, Chest Pain, Chestnut Hill, Death, Dracula, Fatigue, Fever, Folklore, Ghost, Health, Heart, Horror, Hp Lovecraft, Industrial Revolution, Legends, Lethargy, Loss Of Appetite, Medicine, Mercy Brown, Modern Medication, Myths, Paranormal Investigators, Peace, Restlessness, Spirit, Tuberculosis, Vampires, Vicious Gossip

Meet the author

author avatar Sherri Granato
Sherri has lived in several haunted properties, including a morgue turned basement apartment. Instead of fearing the paranormal, she has opted to embrace, investigate and understand it.

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author avatar Margaret Michel
5th Aug 2014 (#)

Wow, interesting history!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Pictures, please. And sections.

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