More About Vampires — the Curious Case of Mercy Brown

For readers who punched the button in yesterday’s post for the HALLOWEEN FOREVERMORE piece by Donna Marie West on “The Historical Vampire,” a bit more on the critters, or at least on those believed to be vampires right here in the United States.  I addedburne-jones-le-vampire_edit a comment which one can find there, but the gist of it was a reference to the article’s statement, “If bitten you could break the spell by burning the vampire’s heart and consuming it.”  That reminded me that that’s exactly what was done in the case of Mercy Brown, the last American vampire — hers was one of a flurry of cases of suspected vampirism in Connecticut and Rhode Island toward the end of the 19th century and has also been said to have been in part the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula.  Then for more I offered a link to one account about Mercy Brown which can also be found here.

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  1. What do you think of that superstition about consuming the heart of the vampire (and even making a paste of the ashes and drinking that as a cure for dire illlness?

  2. I hadn’t run across it anywhere else except the Mercy Brown account until I saw it in the HALLOWEEN FOREVERMORE article. So presumably it wasn’t just some local New England thing but was based on European (at least) folklore. As for mistaking symptoms of tuberculosis for those of being a vampire’s victim, that I had run across before — so I suppose the idea is that you consuming the vampire’s heart means it’s making some sort of restitution. The symbolism seems to me stronger than the logic though (for instance, what about other victims?).




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