Mercy Me

Mercy Lena Brown

I’ve lived in Rhode Island for most of my life and I have an almost exhaustive knowledge about the cities and towns in my precious state. This information is what surprised me when someone mentioned Mercy Brown and I had no idea who she was. The fact that she was buried less than a mile from my house surprised me even more. What surprised me most was that at 1am this morning I was standing in front of her grave.

Mercy Lena Brown is considered by many to be the last of the recorded vampires. Why? It seems as though there were many illnesses and deaths in the Brown family all within a couple of years. When Mercy died in 1892, her brother Edwin was still sick and her father George Brown thought that one of the deceased family members was undead and was causing Edwin’s illness. George Brown took a bold step on March 17, 1892, and ordered the exhumation of Mercy, her sister Mary Olive and her mother Mary for the sole purpose of banishing the undead.

When the villagers exhumed the ladies they noticed that Mary and Mary Olive were significantly decomposed but Mercy was relatively in tact and she had a juicy, blood filled heart. If he had taken my Physiology class he would have known that since Mercy was kept in an above ground crypt for the two months since her death and the cold weather in Rhode Island would be at or below freezing for the two months since she died her body would be quite preserved. He took out her heart, burned it, mixed the ashes in water and had his only son and sole heir Edwin drink it trying to save him. Edwin died two months later.

I’ve wanted to see her grave since I heard of her from my friend Donna. I wanted to do a show from the grave and even prepared to do so but I was terrified of being in the graveyard in the middle of the night. When Danielle suggested last night – her last evening in RI – that she wanted to see Mercy I couldn’t refuse… although every fiber of my being wanted to!

Google sent us ten miles out of the way to the wrong cemetery! After tooling in the woods Danielle asked if there were  any others. I know of one right near my house so off we went. When we got there I realized that we were finally in the right place (damn you, Google). It was HUGE. Finding a gravestone in a historical cemetery at night is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. The burial ground is huge and we could have been there all night looking. We finally stumbled upon a William and even a Mary Brown but no Mercy. We were just about to give up hope when we found her… and we weren’t alone.

Looking at her headstone it was amazing to see how many trinkets, pebbles, buttons, candles, and pennies were left there. There was definitely a shrine left by many visitors and very recently. The previous night was a new moon and Danielle surmised many visitors would have come then.  From fresh cherries to an a mysterious Skoal container that held some great mystery there was a lot of love left on her headstone. There was a sense of calmness or even peace at the cemetery which I never imagined.

It was awe-inspiring to be at a place of such history. The Brown family could have died from any one of many unknown communicable diseases at the time. Who would have ever thought that the cold temperature combined with a father’s grief and fear of losing his last child and only son propelled Mercy Lena Brown into notorius Vampire status… and I was there.

Would you go? Enjoy the pics!

About the Author

Regina Foster Bartlett is a mother of two teenagers who recently married her soulmate and believes her favorite wedding gift was the addition of four stepchildren and four grandchildren! She’s a confessed tech-nerd who loves all things social media. She’s also a published freelance writer and she’s been blogging since before blogging was cool. She's the voice behind the radio broadcast and writer behind this blog. Always on the lookout for interesting stories she can be reached by emailing: regina@reginasuniverse.com or using the Contact form by clicking the link above.