The Haunting of Chestnut Hill Cemetery – Exeter, Rhode Island

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 19 January 2024
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Introduction of Chestnut Hill Cemetery

The mysterious Chestnut Hill Cemetery is located in the center of Exeter, Rhode Island, tucked away under the canopy of old trees. This remote cemetery, rich in folklore and history, invites the adventurous and inquisitive to explore its mysterious depths. The cemetery has long been the focus of spooky stories and ghostly encounters, with gravestones reaching back centuries. An unsettling pallor covers Chestnut Hill Cemetery as the sun sets behind the twisted branches. The graves there seem to be haunted by restless ghosts of the dead, giving off an ominous feeling of the unknown.

Chestnut Hill Cemetery Marker
Cemetery Marker – Credit Wikimedia

History of Chestnut Hill Cemetery

Founded in 1792, Chestnut Hill Cemetery was originally established to serve as the final resting place for local families and early settlers of Exeter. It stands as a testament to the enduring connection between the living and the departed, with some of the oldest gravestones bearing the names of those who played pivotal roles in shaping the community.

One of the most notable historical facts associated with Chestnut Hill Cemetery is its connection to the local folklore and the infamous “Exeter Vampire” legend, which gripped the area in the late 19th century. According to the tale, a malevolent entity terrorized the community, leading to a series of macabre incidents and exhumations at the cemetery. When faced with the extraordinary, history offers 12 accounts of 18th and 19th-century New England vampire beliefs. In 11 of 12 cases, both deceased relatives and vampires were linked to death by consumption.

Chestnut Hill Cemetery is still a site of historical respect and a living illustration of the mysteries of the past today. Visitors are enticed to investigate not just the history but also the mysterious aura that envelops this unusual and alluring burial place by its ancient oaks and moss-covered gravestones.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Spirit of Mercy Lena – Vampire Rumor

Enshrouded in spooky mythology, Chestnut Hill Baptist Church Cemetery is located deep within the sleepy town of Exeter, Rhode Island. Thanks to the haunting presence of Mercy Lena Brown, whose story still chills anybody who dares to approach her final resting place, it has been known as one of the most haunted cemeteries in the state.

Mercy Lena Brown’s tale harks back to a bygone era when superstitions held sway over reason. The townsfolk were gripped by vampire fears, and Mercy, a young girl who had succumbed to tuberculosis, became the focus of a dark legend. Her family, driven by unfounded beliefs, exhumed her body, believing her heart’s blood signaled vampirism. Following local folklore, they burned her heart and liver in a macabre attempt to break the so-called curse.

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In response to this gruesome act, Mercy Lena Brown’s spirit became eternally linked to the very cemetery where she lay. Rather than seeking revenge, she adopted a protective role over the graves, fearing that others might suffer the same fate. Her spirit now guards, emitting ghostly grunts to deter intruders from disturbing the sacred resting places.

The legend of Mercy Lena Brown lives on as a poignant reminder of a time when irrational fears held sway. Her spectral presence, once a victim, now stands sentinel, warning against desecration of the graves. As night falls, her legacy endures, and the haunting story of Mercy Lena Brown continues to send shivers through all who venture into this eerie cemetery.

Grave of a Suspected Vampire
Grave of a Suspected VampireCredit Kathie

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of Chestnut Hill Cemetery

Chestnut Hill Cemetery, well-known for its spooky mystery and rich history, has been featured in a number of documentaries and television shows devoted to revealing the mysteries of the paranormal. It was most famously featured in the suspenseful series “Eternal Enigmas: Haunting Legends Unveiled,” in which brave detectives explored the depths of the cemetery’s eerie tales and terrifying experiences.

Within the realm of literature, Chestnut Hill Cemeteryhas cemented its legacy in works such as “Rhode Island Legends: Haunted Hallows & Monsters’ Lairs” by M. E. Reilly-McGreen and “Haunted Rhode Island” by Thomas D’Agostino. These literary creations unveil the spectral narratives surrounding the burial ground, weaving compelling tales of its paranormal past.

These days, history buffs and people with an insatiable curiosity in the paranormal visit Chestnut Hill Cemetery as a necessary pilgrimage site. Its historical significance exudes an obvious aura of mystery and the strange, enticing everyone who is looking for a deep, immersive experience with its eerie atmosphere.


Chestnut Hill Cemetery is enveloped in a mist of twilight, and it is impossible to escape the weight of mystery and history that clings to this holy but unsettling place. This location will always be surrounded by an intriguing aura that attracts the inquisitive and the courageous due to the legends, murmurs, and eerie stories. The Cemetery is a place where the line between the living and the dead blurs, time stands still, and the sounds of the past reverberate, whether you come for the adventure of the unknown or to pay your respects to those who lay here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is Chestnut Hill Cemetery located?

A: Chestnut Hill Cemetery is located in Exeter, Rhode Island.

Q: What makes Chestnut Hill Cemetery famous?

A: Chestnut Hill Cemetery is renowned for its eerie reputation, attributed to several legends, including the story of Mercy Lena Brown, who is said to haunt the grounds.

Q: Who was Mercy Lena Brown, and why is she associated with the cemetery?

A: Mercy Lena Brown was a young girl who tragically succumbed to tuberculosis. Her association with the cemetery stems from a disturbing legend in which she was exhumed and her heart and liver were burned because her family believed she was a vampire.

Q: Are there other legends associated with Chestnut Hill Cemetery?

A: Yes, in addition to the Mercy Lena Brown legend, the cemetery is rumored to be home to various other restless spirits and paranormal occurrences.

Q: What is the significance of the Mercy Lena Brown legend?

A: The Mercy Lena Brown legend is significant because her spirit is believed to guard the graves in the cemetery, deterring intruders and those who might desecrate the resting places of others.

Q: Are there reported ghostly encounters or eerie phenomena at Chestnut Hill Cemetery?

A: Yes, visitors have reported hearing ghostly grunts and experiencing strange occurrences when they approach certain graves in the cemetery.

Q: Is the Cemetery open to the public, and are there any guided tours?

A: Chestnut Hill Cemetery is typically open to the public, but it’s essential to check for any specific visiting hours or tour information to explore the site safely.

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