The Story OF Exeter, A Tiny Town In Rhode Island With A Creepy Past
Exeter is a small town in Washington County that extends from the Connecticut border to North Kingstown. And while it’s quiet, it’s also charming and serene… although, if you learn its history, it seems a little less so. Exeter has a past that seems straight out of a horror film, except it’s all completely true.
If you didn't know any better, you'd think Exeter was just another small, rural New England town... and these days, it is.
It was founded in 1742, so it's brimming with local history. But unfortunately, not all of its history in pleasant.
In the 19th century, tuberculosis spread through Rhode Island. Sadly, it claimed the life of Mercy Brown age 19, in 1892.
More and more locals continued to die from this disease. And by the time Mercy passed away, the family had already lost her mother and sister to TB.
During this time, people started getting suspicious of all the deaths. Not knowing exactly what tuberculosis was, some of them started blaming something more sinister -- vampires. They seemed to think that if more that one family member died from it, that meant someone in the family was a vampire.
This time period eventually became known as the New England Vampire Panic, a dark time in history reminiscent of the Salem witch trials (although this happened much later).
One particularly disturbing incident took place at the graveyard next to Chestnut Hill Baptist Church.
This is the graveyard where Mercy Brown was buried. And when Mercy's brother became ill as well, her father couldn't bear the thought of losing another family member. So he decided to exhume Mercy's body along with her mother's and sister's.
While the other two family members showed reasonable signs of decay, Mercy's body looked too well-preserved for the locals' comfort.
And here's the eeriest part -- there was still blood in her heart, and there were signs that she had moved in her grave.
Of course, everyone assumed that Mercy was the vampire in the family.
Her heart and liver were burned, and the ashes were mixed with water to create a tonic and was given to her sick brother to drink. And to top it off, that poor boy tortured himself for nothing -- he died of TB two months later.
Looking around, you'd never guess something so horrifying happened here... but stick around long enough and you're bound to notice and eerie feeling.
To this day, there are quite a few reports of paranormal activity at Chestnut Hill Cemetery, where Mercy and many other TB victims are buried.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, it’s easy to see why this small town seems a little creepy. But don’t skip it entirely — it’s also a beautiful day trip destination for those days when nothing but peace and quiet will do.
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