Sunday, December 17, 2006

connecticut oddity of the day

new england vampires

Bioarcheological and Biocultural Evidence for the New England Vampire Folk Belief

............HISTORICAL EVIDENCE The final piece of evidence is this historic newspaper account (Wright, 1973): "In the May 20, 1854 issue of the Norwich (Connecticut) Courier, there is an account of an incident that occurred at Jewett [City], a city in that vicinity. About eight years previously, Horace Ray of Griswold had died of consumption. Afterwards, two of his children--grown-up sons--died of the same disease, the last one dying about 1852. Not long before the date of the newspaper the same fatal disease had seized another son, whereupon it was determined to exhume the bodies of the two brothers and burn them, because the dead were supposed to feed upon the living; and so long as the dead body in the grave remained undecomposed, either wholly or in part, the surviving members of the family must continue to furnish substance on which the dead body could feed. Acting under the influence of this strange superstition, the family and friends of the deceased proceeded to the burial ground on June 8, 1854, dug up the bodies of the deceased brothers, and burned them on the spot."
This account places the vampire belief in the Jewett City/Griswold area just after the time span of the Griswold cemetery. The excellent preservation of the vampire skeleton indicates that it was probably buried toward the latter time period for the cemetery (ca. 1800-1840), thus placing the internment of this individual close to the time of the above account. The town of Griswold was settled just after 1812, in part by emigrants from Western Rhode Island, who were, according to local tradition, uneducated and "vicious" (Phillips, 1929). Note in Table 1 that several vampire accounts are also located in Western Rhode Island. The Rhode Island belief was examined by Stetson (1898), who relates that the Rhode Islanders he interviewed did not consider their practice to be vampirism but rather believed it was a way to protect living relatives from potential vampiristic actions of a deceased consumptive. ..........

the jewett city vampires

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