Mercy Brown is one of America’s most famous ‘vampires’. Her family had a long history of being killed by consumption, and Mercy was no exception. After her death in 1892, members of her family were still being claimed by it. Since it was attacking just the Brown family, people began to say a vampire within the family was inflicting the consumption. The dead were dug up in 1893, including Mercy’s mother and some siblings, but all were decomposing or skeletal. All but Mercy. Her body, buried for a few months at this point, was in perfect condition, as if she had been buried only the day before. The surviving family believed they had found their ‘vampire’.
Now this is where the story splits; I’ve heard 2 different versions over the years.
The first is the more common:
Mercy’s heart was cut out, burned on a nearby rock, and the ashes were mixed with water and given to a dying relative to drink. The concoction didn’t work too well however, as the poor fellow died shortly afterward.
The second is essentially the first, but with more vampire killing methods used:
Not only was her heart burned, but Mercy’s head was also cut off, and depending on who you talk to, a stake was plunged into her heart. And once again depending on your source, Mercy was supposed to have screamed or had blood around her mouth after being staked.
Her grave was easy to find when we visited; someone had put an apple, a gourd, and some flowers on it. The alleged heart-burning rock is also pictured:
The headstone was held up by some sort of metal frame. Apparently the stone has either fallen over before or someone knocked it over:
To make things even more interesting, I found this hole not far from her grave. It looks like another grave that had caved in, but I couldn’t see a headstone. Maybe Mercy wasn’t alone afterall…
I revisited Mercy to thank her for making me 60 bucks (book appearance), and I noticed someone had carved several X’s into her stone. I know these weren’t there on my first visit. I was pretty upset, to say the least.