In the small town of Exeter, Rhode Island in 1892, tuberculosis ran rampant amongst the townsfolk. Weekly funerals weren’t uncommon as the disease took its toll on one family after another.
However, one family met a particularly gruesome end; exhumed from the crypt as undead and, with the permission of a reluctant patriarch, killed as vampires.
The Brown family members dwindled as the horrid disease ate them down to the core. George Brown, the father, and husband of the Browns lost his wife in 1883, followed by his eldest daughter just six months later. His son, Edwin, had taken a trip to try and heal from the effects of the disease, but the journey served only to aggravate the symptoms.
Soon after, George’s daughter Mercy was taken by the illness and subsequently buried in the family plot. Then, George Brown fell ill. The citizens of Exeter, tired of seeing medicine fail their kinfolk, decided the time had come to try something a bit different. They coerced George into giving them permission, albeit begrudgingly, to exhume the corpses of his loved ones in an attempt to discover some miracle cure for his ailment. What happened next has been replayed in countless books and movies.
As they dug up the Brown family, they discovered that the most recently deceased, Mercy Brown, wasn’t lying in the normal position, but instead she was lying on her side. Her mouth was full of blood, as well as her heart and veins.
The people of Exeter quickly deduced that she had become a vampire. The Brown family was suffering from her thirst for blood.
They would-be vampire slayers carved out her heart and lungs and burned them to ash. George drank a glass of water mixed with the ash as a sort of witch doctor’s cure-all for tuberculosis. The poor old man drank the concoction, but his symptoms steadily grew worse and worse, until he final died, just two months after his daughter, Mercy.
Mercy Brown is notable because she was the last recorded case of vampire exhumation. From the late 1600’s to 1892, this sort of ritualistic vampire killing, via postmortem methods, occurred as needed.
It was believed to have originated during the Salem witch trials, continuing long after the barbarity of the era ended.