Mercy's Mother and Sister succumbed to a disease what is now known to be tuberculosis and passed away. Saddened by her loss, she spent much of her time in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery visiting her family member's graves. Many of the townsfolk thought it to be out of the ordinary that she would spend so much time there. Tuberculosis was unknown to people back then, people began suddenly dying right and left without any apparent reason. Soon her and and her brother contracted the disease. It is believed that her brother, in his delirium claimed that Mercy would sit on his chest as if to suck the very life out of him. Soon rumors spread that Mercy was a vampire and was the cause of the plague spreading through the town. As tuberculosis would leave victim's skin pale white and cause them to cough up blood as it was a disease of the lungs.
|Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Exeter, Rhode Island|
In 1896, Mercy succumbed to the disease and died. She was buried in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery to rest in peace with her Mother and sister. The townspeople though, claimed that they still saw Mercy emerging from the cemetery at night. This further deepened the belief that she was indeed a vampire. Fearing that the plague may continue unless something was done, they went to Mercy's grave and dug up her remains. It is said that her body was not decomposed at all and when they pricked her skin, she bled. Now more than ever convinced that Mercy was a vampire, they cut out her heart and burned it. Then, returned her desecrated body to her grave. They took some of the ashes and fed them to her brother Edwin, believing this would cure him of the disease. However, he too succumbed to the disease and died.
Since the disease continued, many believed that Mercy still rose from the grave at night to spread the terrible disease, angered now that her grave was desecrated, sometimes eerie blue lights would be seen in the graveyard before she rose from the grave. The tales and legend of Mercy the Vampire persist to this day. Some say her spirit is restless perhaps because she may have been buried alive given that her body still bled when her grave was dug up.
|The grave site of Mercy Brown, believed to be a vampire|
Others however, believe that Mercy's haunting of the cemetery and surrounding grounds and roads is to watch over and protect those buried in Chestnut Hill Cemetery from having their graves violated as hers was. Some say if you stand directly over top of a grave, an unseen force will push you backwards. Others say that if you kneel at Mercy Brown's grave and say a prayer for her, an overwhelming smell of roses will surround you. Some like to believe that Mercy spirit does rest in peace.