North Smithfield, Rhode Island: Vampire Grasp Grave of Simon Whipple

In 1841, Simon Whipple probably died of consumption (tuberculosis), but his tombstone inscription mentioning a "vampire grasp" has led generations of magical thinkers to proclaim him as victim of an immortal blood-drinker.

Union Cemetery

Address:
Rt. 146A, North Smithfield, RI
Directions:
From Providence take Rt. 146 north, take the 146A exit. Union Cemetery is on your left on 146A. Enter the cemetery at the first asphalt intersection take a left. Drive to the end take a right and park. Look for a plot enclosed with iron pipes on the edge of the woods. Walk to the end of this fence take a left into the wood. The stone is near the edge of the wood you may have to read a few stones to find it.
Hours:
Daylight
Admission:
Free.
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Vampire grasp.

Lesser Known Vampire Grave

Mercy Brown is the famous Rhode Island vampire. Simon Whipple is lesser known. His gravestone has the distinction of saying he died in a "vampire grasp," written on the stone. Until the 20th century, tuberculosis was thought to be caused by vampires in rural Rhode Island, so they would cut the heart out of the suspected vampire and feed its charred remains to the tubercular sufferer, who usually died shortly thereafter. This appears to be the only vampire's gravestone in the state that bears witness to his death by vampire. There are many other vampire graves in the state if you are willing to seek them out.

[Bill LaCivita, 07/14/2014]

A fun bit of Rhode Island folklore. For a little context, the more complete phrase on the damaged and recemented stone is: "Altho' consumption's vampire grasp had seized thy mortal frame." So "vampire" may be a colorful adjective for the disease's draining progression to death, which -- vampire or not -- Simon Whipple succumbed to on May 6, 1841.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Rose Ferron Museum: America's StigmaticRose Ferron Museum: America's Stigmatic, Woonsocket, RI - 1 mi.
Statue of Hachiko, Faithful DogStatue of Hachiko, Faithful Dog, Woonsocket, RI - 1 mi.
Angular Abe: Sit Inside LincolnAngular Abe: Sit Inside Lincoln, Woonsocket, RI - 1 mi.
In the region:
Druid's Chair and Altar, Narragansett, RI - 39 mi.

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