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  • Writer's pictureCandace Nola

Haunted Locations: Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Rhode Island

Welcome to weird Wednesday where we explore the darkest corners of the globe, searching for the mysterious and unknown. Today’s location takes us to the Ocean State, otherwise known as the land of ‘Morbid Tourism.’

When talking about Rhode Island and its haunted history, many people will immediately jump to such locations as The Perron House, made famous by the movie The Conjuring, Fort Wetherill, one of the most haunted places in RI, or Seaview Terrace, the backdrop to Dark Shadows.

There is literally no shortage of haunted buildings in this state but today we are going to explore a cemetery but not just any old cemetery–one that is the final resting spot of an honest to goodness vampire.

Chestnut Hill Cemetery is known and lauded mostly for this vampire, Mercy Lena Brown.

Mercy & her family died of consumption during a time where logic wasn’t the most prevalent form of thought. Superstition and fear ruled the late 1800s and Mercy fell victim to some Van Helsing types. Thankfully, it was postmortem.

Mercy’s mother submitted to tuberculosis, followed swiftly by Mercy herself. The town believed, as was the custom at the time, that the family came upon the disease because one of them was a vampire. Any time more than one member in a family perished–this was the cause. Not knowing which, they exhumed the dead bodies.

When they cracked open the crypt, they found decomposing bodies, except for Mercy’s. Her hair had grown, and she still had blood in her heart.

Obviously, she was the vampire. The townsfolk proceeded to cut out her heart and liver then they burned them, made it into a tonic, and fed it to her surviving brother to cure him of consumption and stop the evil spirits. He died two months later.

What was left of Mercy was reburied, but the damage had been done.Since this desecration, people have claimed to see the apparition of Mercy standing by her grave and one person even managed to record her voice saying to let her rest in peace.

I’m sure the people of Exeter are more rational today, but let’s not test that theory by dying within its borders. If you do decide to go hunting, always remember the rules of respect. Respect the owners. Respect the property. Respect the residents! Happy Haunting!

Originally posted in the House of Stitch Blog, 2022.

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