New England Vampires

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Although the reports of vampires in the New England area of the United States, there were a few stories scattered throughout the nineteenth century. There were stories of a belief in vampires and action taken against them by settlers in a confined area.

The first incident was reported during the American Revolution. A man named Stukeley, who had 14 children, began to experience the death of his brood one by one. After six had died, one of the deceased daughters, Sarah, began to appear in his wife’s dreams. All of the bodies were exhumed and all except Sarah were found decomposed. Sarah’s body was found perfectly preserved. The heart was cut out from each body and the bodies were burned before being reburied.

A similar case was reported in 1854, concerning the Ray family of Jewett City, Connecticut. Besides the mother and father, there were five children. Between 1845 and 1854, the father and two sons died of consumption, and a third son took ill. The family, believing their deceased relatives were the cause of the problem, exhumed the bodies and burned them.  This occurred in many families during this time, where families who lost loved ones of consumption would burn the lungs, heart, and liver of the last deceased in order to prevent any more from having it.

In 1890, a Vermont paper published a story concerning the Corwin family, who lived in Woodstock, Vermont. Six months after one of the Corwins had died of consumption, a brother took sick. The family disinterred the body of the first brother and burned the heart.

In December 1883, Mary E. Brown of Exeter, Rhode Island died of tuberculosis. Six months lady, her oldest daughter also died. In 1888, her son, Edwin and Mercy contracted the disease; in 1889, Mercy died of the disease. Two months later, the remaining family decided a vampire was involved in the deaths, and the bodies were exhumed. The mother and oldest daughter were skeletons, but Mercy’s body was healthy and full of blood. Mercy’s heart was cut out of her body and her body was burned. The ashes were dissolved in medicine and given to Edwin, but it did not help and he died soon afterward. Mercy’s remains were reburied behind the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church in Exeter.