A New Look at Mercy Brown, R.I.’s Vampire

Mercy Brown was not a vampire, but she is a ghost – and an active one.

For those not familiar with the story, Mercy Brown put Exeter, Rhode Island on the map. In the last half of the 1800’s consumption was on a rampage throughout the area. Death tore families apart and wiped out large populations of cities, towns, and small rural villages like Exeter. The Brown family was no exception.

Mary E. Brown, wife of prominent farmer George Brown, was the first in the family to die of this infectious illness. Twenty year old daughter Mary Olive soon followed. In 1892 younger daughter Mercy drew her last breath. Shortly after Mercy’s death her brother Edwin was diagnosed with the same disease as were many other townsfolk. This became too much for the local villagers to handle and with ill-equipped physicians and little known about medical issues, fears started to mount.

As panic set in rational thought went out. Rumors of vampires spread quickly throughout the community and a demand to find the vampire became an exigency. Since Mercy was the most recent to pass on, she was targeted by villagers. It’s not a positive, but it is believed that since Mercy died in January 1892 her body was kept in an above-ground crypt until warmer weather would make a ground interment easier.

George Brown didn’t believe much in vampires and especially didn’t think his daughter was one, but with the townsfolk unbridled fear and demands for proof, George agreed to an exhumation.

A short time after her death, Dr. Harold Metcalf assisted in the examination of Mercy’s body. It was found that she still looked very much alive and still had blood in her heart. The superstitious vampire hunters were convinced they had found the revenant attacking the living among them. Her heart and liver were removed from her body and burned on the spot.

Now, 128 years later, we think we know vampires don’t exist, but in 1892 people believed more in them than they did a doctor’s explanation of disease. So back then the people were relieved they had slain their monster. But, people in the years that have followed that vile mutilation of a person much loved by her family, know Mercy was not laid to rest. After such a desecration is it any wonder Mercy is still very much with the living?

Mercy’s, (I’d like to say resting spot, but that wouldn’t be true), grave is located in Chestnut Hill Cemetery behind the Baptist Church on Ten Rod Road in Exeter. If you visit the cemetery, the Brown plot lies near a pine tree about mid-way down. Mercy’s headstone is quite obvious – it’s the one with the steel reinforcement around the bottom to prevent souvenir hunters from once again going off with the famed marker.

A visit to Chestnut Hill could well introduce you to Mercy. On entering, there is a feeling of being watched and sometimes followed. Many people have reported seeing a woman walking around the grounds – an ethereal woman dressed in white. There have been observations of blue lights weaving their way around grave stones. White orbs are abundant, also, especially around the old crypt where her body may have been placed to await ground interment in the warmer spring months.

While Mercy Brown wont be waiting in Exeter to bite your neck, she most likely is waiting for you to know her real story. So many brutal acts have been committed as the result of superstitions and ignorance. And the sadder part is that many actions still happen today with the same illogical reasoning and stupidity.

– ashanta

Becket Quarry, MA Who’s Still There?

Becket Quarry, formerly Chester-Hudson Quarry, now defunct, is noted for being one of the most intact historic granite quarry sites in Massachusetts and, also for its paranormal activity.  It is an interesting place to visit, as it seems almost frozen in time. There is a feeling that those who once worked there will be returning to finish their shifts at any moment. 

As you get a short distance into the quarry you will see where granite, succumbing to father time, is slowly be eaten away by the elements. Rusted out shells of machinery and rigging give off a feeling as though they are waiting patiently for their operators to continue.

The original quarry filled with water after the business was abandoned and is now a deep pool of calm reflection. Looking across the hillside you can see the granite jutting out from the mountain going far into the distance.  As I understand the stone is of such high quality it had been used to build some structures in our nation’s capital.

I had visited the quarry a few times and had some interesting results while searching for paranormal activity, so decided to return and see what I could find further. When I first entered the quarry I felt the presence of spirits belonging to who I felt were workers from the past. Did they have an attachment to the place where they spent a large portion of their adult life working or are the rumors of men dying during the construction of the quarry true? I plan on investigating any records pertaining to the quarry’s operation that are available in the near future.

I stood there waiting to see what more I could glean from these spirits for several minutes, but sensed nothing else and decided it was time to venture further into the preserve. As I walked up the narrow dirt path passing the rusted remains of an old work truck I started to hear what I believed to be the sound of old cables coming from the excavation area to the top. I hurried to the remains of the old building at the top not far from where the cables start, but the sound had stopped. I had been using a recorder at the time, but it had not recorded anything other than my footsteps. I left it on for the remainder of my visit, but did not find anything unusual in the recording.

I checked out the remains of a building that looked as though it was getting ready to collapse. There was only one room and its sole contents were an old wood stove. I had the feeling of someone who was not very friendly, maybe a bit angry, watching me from afar.

I continued up the path and as I got closer to the excavation site I started getting increasingly uneasy. I could feel the presence of evil, more than one entity too. As strange as it sounds they were very gleeful. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with me, but I felt I couldn’t remain there even for a second longer. I moved quickly down the path until I was far beyond feeling anything of whatever they were.

As a child I had heard adults talking about a story of organized crime using it to dump a body inside a car. Is the old story true?

As soon as I got back to my car, which was a ways down the road, I performed a cleansing on myself. When I got home I did another cleansing on myself, car, and home. This time with everything I needed to do it properly. Even then I couldn’t sleep that night.

Bran

Deer Warning

This is an experience my wife had a couple years ago. She has never had much interest in the paranormal, although she is open to it. It seems apparent to me she is sensitive to this type of phenomena and these kinds of experiences like the one I am about to share.

She was driving from the country towards the city when she saw a person on the side of the road. As she got closer to the figure she was shocked to see that it appeared to be a Native American medicine man. She had an intense feeling that she was being warned to slow down, then the figure disappeared.

About 200 feet further down the road a deer stepped out into her lane from the forest and was followed by a second one with three fawns. They stopped in the center of the road and just looked at her. It took about thirty seconds before they continued on their way. On her way back home from the city two more deer stepped out into the road and wouldn’t move. She got out of the car and walked towards them trying to shoo them away until they finally they moved on. She told me they were unafraid and she could have touched them if she had wanted to. It didn’t end there, either. As she was getting close to home three more deer stepped out of the woods and stopped in the road. They moved on and she finally got home.

My belief is that she was being shown that the deer is her spirit animal.  She is the kind of person that doesn’t much care about her ancestry, but when I asked she told me she had been told as a child that both sides of her family had some Native American ancestors. She has had other similar experiences usually of being forewarned.

Bran

White or Black Magick?

White magick is good, black magick is evil. Really? I don’t know who decided that magick should be defined by the terms white or black, but do have to think it may have been someone employing the craft to get something they wanted and then feeling guilty for doing it.

There is no such thing as white or black magick. Magick is magick. Magick doesn’t care what intention the user has. It works the same way for anyone employing its power. Some practitioners might have purer reasons than others, but it isn’t the magick that’s good or not so good. That onus is on the one using it.

The one catalyst that effectuates results in magick is will. Intention will see results if the will is strong enough.

There’s an interesting consequence of designating magical practices either white or black. The usual tools of rituals and spells have become biased also. Historically, candles, crystals, herbs, pentagrams, stones, and the like are part of the spell-casting process. Now, if black candles are used they must mean one is invoking negativity or the devil. Only white candles are a symbol of purity. And one should make sure to only use the favored herbs and stones of those on the so called white side.

And pentagrams! One of the first thoughts that comes to the minds of most is that the pentacle represents Satan. Wiccans will point out that the use of the five-sided star is fine as long as it has only one point upright. Otherwise, two points up would indicate the horns of the evil one. My question is, Why? Horns have always symbolized wisdom.

Have you seen Michelangelo’s painting of Moses with them?

Pentacles have become one of the most maligned symbols in use today. They once were considered sacred. The Catholic church was one of the first to use them as such. Pentagrams are interesting and far from representing the Prince of Darkness.

The pentagram is known as a star polygon and ultimately it’s measurements equal 1.618 or phi, which also equals the Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio is a line that is divided into two parts.  The long part divided by he short part equals the entire length divided by the long part. 

The Fibonacci Sequence will also converge on the Golden Ratio. In the Fibonacci Sequence, which is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc., each number is the sum of the two previous numbers.

While these two functions seem diverse, the Fibonacci Sequence will converge on the Golden Ratio – it will produce 1.618.

The Golden Ratio is also called the Divine Proportion. It is ubiquitous in nature and also found in science, the arts, and mathematics. The idea of associating the pentagram with Satan lacks reason and rests only on a manufactured paradigm.

Over years, Hollywood and other media, and some religious groups have portrayed magick, witchcraft, meditation tools such as tarot and astrology, paranormal occurrences, and other like interests, something to be wary of and basically evil. There’s still a lot of interest in these things though, as evidenced by the many tv shows and movies on them available to the public every day. The problem with a lot of these programs is they generally adhere to the idle belief that pentagrams, black candles, ouija boards, people getting three scratches, etc. prove something evil is happening. Again, according to whom? Where do these tenets come from? Probably the same people or organizations that attempt to manipulate and control people into conforming to their own belief systems.

I am not saying that dark things don’t occur. They can and do at times. But bad things can happen with bouquets of pretty flowers, white clothing, and hearts and smiley faces, just as easily as not.

Tools of both ritual and spell work hold neither good nor evil energy within themselves. The energy that infuses them is the energy coming from the person / persons using them. White isn’t pure, black isn’t evil, and pentagrams are mathematically interesting.

– ashanta

Bigfoot

Bigfoot, also known as Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, and Sasquatch, has been a legend for a long time. Some Asian records go back to the 200’s B.C.E. North American lore about the creature is still in its infancy compared to that of the peoples of the Himalayas, India, and Russia, but the phenomenon is alive, well, and active.

One of the first sightings of Bigfoot in North America took place in 1811 by British-Canadian explorer, surveyor, and fur trader, David Thompson. Thompson traveled all over Canada plying his trade. On one of his trips along the Snake and Columbia Rivers in British Columbia he spotted something moving he couldn’t identify. He felt the animal was seven to 10 feet tall and weighed in around 400 pounds. Thompson considered that it could be a bear because they do walk upright at times, except the number of toes in the large print left behind weren’t consistent with a bear.

On another trip around Jasper in Alberta, Thompson came across another large footprint in the snow. This track was 14 inches long, eight inches wide, and had four large toes – each one measuring about four inches long. He didn’t think this was consistent with a bear marking, either.

Many stories about Bigfoot have been generated throughout Canada and the United States since that time and whatever the real story is, it won’t be going away anytime soon. Bigfoot is one of my least favorite cryptids, but if it’s real, I do admire its ability to be elusive to capture and examination by those people who seem to think they are somehow smarter and better.

There are multiple TV shows now featuring idiots armed with guns and other weapons going out to find and kill this being that no-one really understands….if indeed, it exists. I don’t like these programs, but do have to say that they, at least, depict our society in a realistic way. Which seems to indicate that if something is different from us it should be killed and carried home as a trophy. Isn’t that how we think of primitive humankind? Seems we haven’t changed much. Ignorance takes precedence!

That being said, there are many people who are genuinely interested in the Bigfoot phenomenon and would just like to study it and find out what it is really all about. According to Bigfoot Field Researchers Org., (bfro.net), to date Massachusetts has had 35 sightings of the tall hairy man followed by Connecticut with 17 and Rhode Island with five.

There are a couple of other theories, also. It seems Bigfoot seems to be seen quite often in conjunction with UFO sightings. Could the two be related? This is a large complex Universe we live in and I think anything is possible. We know very little about all the many aspects of existence and if one isn’t egocentric, a plethora of possibilities exist.

There’s also the other thought that Bigfoot comes from another dimension through a wormhole and can blink in and out at will. That would make this creature very intelligent. We, as a people, haven’t even found a wormhole yet.

Regardless of whether Bigfoot is real or not, the lore and legend of this being will always exist. If Bigfoot is found and proved by DNA not to be something foreign, there will always be those who don’t believe that evidence. And, if Bigfoot is found and DNA proves it is something that is alien to our earth, there will always be those who don’t believe that, either.

I hope that Bigfoot is a species all to itself. This enigma opens minds to posit different thoughts and create theories only limited by one’s imagination. That’s a good thing.

– ashanta

Haunted Robinson State Park?

Feeding Hills is a section of Agawam MA that plays home to Robinson State Park.   It’s a quiet place that hosts both summer and winter activities on roughly 900 acres that hug the Westfield River on the north.  There are hiking trails, a pond and picnic area for family recreation, and miles of trails to hike, bike, walk, sightsee, and just take in nature’s beauty.  Robinson State Park also offers no place to go that you won’t feel alone.

For me, many years ago, it was a great place to take a textbook and homework to study in quiet. The problem was that it never seemed to be quiet – or calm.  There were noises, not like those made by other people in the park, but soft rustlings.  Sometimes one could hear whispers. Nothing intelligible, just loud enough to be disconcerting as there weren’t enough people around to make them.

Staying focused on study was sometimes difficult.  It seemed as though something or someone was watching you.  You know, the old ‘hair on the back of your neck standing up’ and all.  It felt like eyes were staring right through you.  Did whatever it was have something to say?  Did they – or it – not want you there?  Was it just to get your attention?

Perhaps it could have been any of those things.  At times, one could catch a glimpse of something moving through the trees.  Nothing definitive, only a fast black shadow rushing between the growths of the forest.  For those of you who aren’t big into seeing black shadows, there’s something else for you, too.  On occasions, a white wispy figure could be watched flitting in and out around the water’s edge.

Years ago there was a rumor that a woman was found dead along the side of one of the roads in the park…her body just left for someone to find.  Did this really happen?  I don’t know, but there is something restless in this area.  It seems like it wants to let you know it’s there without being too obvious.  Just enough to heighten your senses, put you a little on edge, and perhaps remind you that your end may just be your new beginning.

–   ashanta

Haunted Wachusett Dam & Reservoir

We hear about Quabbin Reservoir a lot, but little has been written about the Wachusett Dam and Reservoir.  That project was the first to confiscate land, homes, and properties to create a larger water supply for the thirsty residents of Boston.   Quabbin was the second and larger water supply, carried out by politicians, to give water, and themselves, the comfort they needed at the expense of others.

The Wachusett Dam and Reservoir Project was begun in 1897 and completed in 1905.  Four towns in Worcester County, MA became the target of the land grab.  Clinton, Spencer, Boylston, and West Boylston forfeited over 4000 acres to create a roughly eight mile by two mile water basin for people living on the east coast of the state.

Hundreds of people lost their homes, their livelihoods, churches, stores, their land, and their cemeteries.  Houses, churches, and factories were moved, but mostly they were razed.  It is said that over 4000 bodies were removed and some re-interred in St. John’s Cemetery in Lancaster.  There is an isle in the reservoir named Cemetery Island.  It’s the site of the initial St. John’s Cemetery where many residents were buried.  I wonder, though, if some that had passed on were perhaps laid to rest on a family property, as was sometimes the case back then – what happened to those remains?

These people being forced to move lost a way of life they were familiar with.  Many didn’t know where they were going. They didn’t know what to do.  They no longer had jobs and they had no way to provide for themselves.  There was no government assistance at that time. Residents could no longer go to their churches to seek solace.  Visiting those that had passed on may not have been as easy anymore, either.  After exhumation, coffins were stacked on wagons six high.  Tombstones were carried away, too, but some were lost or broken along the way.  And, how did they identify who went where?

This event has been mostly forgotten today, unless you live around that area.  The water for Boston laps the shores around Boylston, West Boylston, Clinton, Spencer, and Cemetery Island. It still harbors the energies of those who used to call it home and of the many who died working on the construction of the dam and reservoir.

Like Quabbin, this area seems to have a different energy.  It feels haunted by emotions of the past.  Black masses that cannot be explained are seen by some.  Lights have been observed meandering around the trees on Cemetery Island.  Shadows are seen walking in the area. Whistles that seem to come from the water can be heard.  It has been said that if you hear a whistle and return it,  you’ll get an answer.  This is not a residual energy….it’s an energy in the here and now.  Intelligent responses imply there is still active energy existing in the area.  Some have even heard disembodied voices.

It doesn’t seem fair.  Boston gets water and others get loss and hauntings.

– ashanta

Please see our other article on Quabbin  published as:

A Reservoir that Has Created More than Drinking Water

The Haunted Half Mile

There is a certain area on a local dirt road where I’ve heard of several people that have had paranormal experiences. The one thing that really got my attention was their stories were very similar to something I have experienced myself and written about before.

I have spoken to some of these witnesses and found all of their stories have at least one thing in common: a feeling of being followed by something from the forest along the side of the road when walking. I believe this is likely a spirit or, at least, something out of place, possibly from another realm-dimension.

I had been planning for a few months to check it out and had decided the best time to try and make contact would be at Samhain, when the veil between life and death grows thin. I was going to bring a small group with me, so as to get everyone’s input, but as things worked out it wasn’t to be. So, I gathered up my K2 meter, recorder, and laser grid pen and started out on my adventure alone.

The information I had gotten from various people about where their experiences occurred covered an area of about a half mile in length along a particular road. My plan was to walk this section of road, see where and if I felt anything, and, if I did, set up my circle of protection to work from.

I arrived at the location in the late afternoon, a bit before dusk, and got out of my car to begin the walk. As I started walking my imagination started taking over. I then realized what was happening and had to stop to ground myself before continuing. I did this because I wanted to be sure that anything I picked up on was not tainted in any way that I could help. In the beginning all I noticed was a dog barking in the distance, but then something seemed just a little different to me. I can’t describe exactly what the difference was, but somehow it was as if I were isolated in my own space separate from the area around. As if I were in a bubble.

I stopped for a moment, noticing how silent things seemed, and really listened hard, but this intense silence persisted. I had the feeling that if someone were nearby yelling to me I would still hear nothing. I live out in the country and can tell you it is often quiet at night, but never like this.

As I continued on things gradually returned to normal and nothing more happened as I reached the end of that half mile stretch and turned around to return to my vehicle. I didn’t have that experience of extreme silence on the way back, although I stopped numerous times to try and recapture it.

Near the end of my walk I felt I was being watched. I didn’t get a feeling of being menaced, just observed. I stopped to the side of the road and pulled out my K2 meter to try and get a reading. There was a spike for a few moments, but that was all. I heard no answers to my questions when I played back the recorder, but the battery had died shortly after I started using it. The thing was I had replaced the batteries just before leaving the house. Were they defective? Maybe, but I don’t believe so.

I got back to where I was parked and decided to cast a circle of protection about 20-30 yards down the road to work from as I attempted to communicate with any spirits or other beings in the area. I surrounded myself with protective energy as I reached out and let my mind open to discover what I could, and hopefully communicate.

I received no information other than feelings of sadness, loss, and anger, but mostly sadness and loss. I decided to leave then. When I started my car, as I looked down the road I saw someone walking towards me. I continued watching for a minute and then turned on my headlights. No one was there!

–  Bran

Cryptids in Connecticut Part 2: The Melon Heads

In the rural back woods of Southwest Connecticut a group of outcast creatures characterized by small, sickly physiques and topped with unusually bulbous heads are said to lurk in the shadowy sidelines, possibly waiting for the next unwitting or lost hiker to enter their grasps…and, later, their stomachs.

Known as “Melon Heads”, locals have reported sightings of these strange humanoid beings around Fairfield and New Haven Counties since the late 1960’s. Milford, Trumbull, Shelton, Oxford, Monroe, Seymore, Weston, Southbury, and Stratford, Connecticut have all been said to be home to Melon Heads, but what or who are they?

One story is that there was an asylum for the criminally insane in Fairfield County which caught fire allowing some inmates to escape. These (presumably) men and women decided that roughing it out in the wilderness, despite the harsh New England climate, was still better than imprisonment and took to the surrounding woods. But, Old Man Winter is no kind soul and the prisoners found themselves eventually resorting to cannibalism. The survivors, outcasts who were mentally deranged and unfit for society, established themselves deep in the Connecticut woods. Years of inbreeding and cannibalism is said to have caused these people to de-evolve. Mental deficiencies and physical abnormalities including hydrocephalus, a condition which enlarges the head due to fluid retention around the brain, were widespread producing a sickly population with a shocking bobble-headed appearance. Locals and the occasional thrill-seeker spot their diseased descendants to this day. The unlucky ones, urban legend says, may end up in the Melon Heads dinner pots.

Another version describing the origins of Melon Heads claims that a colonial family from Shelton-Trumbull was accused of witchcraft and run out of town. This ostracised family were forced to set up camp far away from civilization. Deep in the woods they were forced to provide for themselves by subsiding on whatever they could forage or trap. Harsh winters and rugged terrain led to poor nutrition, and possibly cannibalism. (Banishment) led to incest and over time compromised genetics led to a group of regressive, humaniod beings who still dwell in the forest.

Oddly enough, Connecticut is not the only state to harbor the Melon Head legend. Similar stories are also found in Michigan and Ohio.

–  Moonchild

 

Not Gone and Not Forgotten

We were asked to investigate a house in Eastern Central MA a bit of years ago.  The people had lived there for about five years and had noticed, what could have been, paranormal activity,  but it wasn’t anything bothersome.  All the noise seemed to concentrate on the second floor of the home.  There was nothing aggressive or frightening about it.  It was just something that was always present and persistent.   It wasn’t until they started talking about doing some renovations to the place that concerning things started to really kick into action.

The most perplexing things were loud, pacing footfalls in the upstairs.  The area around the hallway where the staircase went to the second level seemed heavy and that’s where most of the noise came from.  There was also a lot of rapping on the two bedroom walls.  The people occupying both bedrooms thought the raps were on their specific inside walls.  But, if one person in one bedroom tapped on their inside wall the person in the second bedroom, next to it,  didn’t hear it and vice versa.

We decided to try and contact anyone who could be upstairs. We got a response from the energy who identified he was a man, but he wouldn’t give his name.  He did say he wasn’t happy with his situation and he wanted people to know he was there.  He also said he couldn’t seem to find his way out.

With little else to go on, we started examining the house.  There seemed to be an anomaly in the upstairs space.  It didn’t match the downstairs house in the amount of living area being used.  The knocking always sounded like it came from the middle of the house just above the staircase.  After listening, walking around, and measuring, we came to the idea that how the two middle rooms were situated they really didn’t abut one another.  There seemed to be an empty space between the two bedrooms that was unaccounted for.  Since we had no intention of knocking down walls or breaking holes into them, that seemed like all about we could do at that time.

The owners decided to have an engineer and a construction expert come in and evaluate the house’s structure. Both of them concurred that there must be an empty space between the two bedrooms.  The owners wanted answers and the work began.  The outside wall facing the staircase was taken down.  There they found another room between the two rooms being used.  It was another bedroom.

The oddest thing about it was that it was left just the same as if someone might still be using it.  The bed was made, the bureau had personal items on it and the drawers were full.  The closet was ready for the occupant to get up, get dressed, and start his day.

After getting over the shock of that discovery and taking care of the situation, the owners said the house seems happier now.  And so are they!

—  ashanta