The legend of Nellie Vaughn is an urban one – supposedly a true story – but it originates in the human imagination, not in folklore or the traditions from the time of her death.
She was never suspected of being a vampire by her family and friends. Her body was never exhumed; she was never found to be in an insufficient state of decomposition; her internal organs were never removed and burnt.
What makes Nellie unusual is that nearly a hundred years after her death [in 1977 to be more exact], she acquired an undeserved reputation as a vampire when an article was published the following about her grave as being:
the only sunken grave in the cemetery and continues to sink into the earth. “No vegetation or lichen will grown on the grave,” reports a local university professor[,] despite numerous attempts by grave tenders and the curious.
The sweet Nellie was only 19 at the time of her death on May 31st 1889 – as a result of pneumonia. No one in her family died in unusual circumstances and no one mentioned the “V” word for quite some time.
What strikes us in present day is the engraving found on her tombstone: “I am waiting and watching for you”.
Considering the time when Nellie was buried, the line doesn`t really stand out because it was a common belief that the family would reunite in heaven after death [I am waiting…] and back then people believed in friendly ghosts that watched over them [… and watching for you].
So how did Nellie get vamped?
She was buried [in the Plain Meeting House Road cemetery, West Greenwich] and as time passed she was allowed to rest but supposedly around 1967, a teacher referred to a vampire located in a cemetery off [state] route 102. Since that hint also applies to ~Mercy Brown~ over in Exeter, we can only assume that the teacher was talking about her.
The students went looking a little bit closer to home looking to match the age [as provided by the teacher]… and when they found that interesting engraving they believed they got a hold of the infamous vampire in the person of Nellie Vaughn.
But things don`t end here…
Over the years there have been a lot of “sightings” for the ghost of Nellie.
Paranormals stated that she is manifesting herself because she is angered by the claims that she is a vampire. At first she would appear only around her grave, but because of the repeated acts of vandalism against her tombstone, the officials opted to relocate the stone [some say it was shattered] – giving a free pass to Nellie so that she now haunts the whole cemetery.
Many such experiences are told by a woman named Marlene.
The first event happened in 1993 while she was doing some gravestone rubbings with her husband. They claim the man was attacked by Nellie; a disembodied female voice whisper, “I am perfectly pleasant” and then and unseen entity scratched his face.
Over the years many others have claimed that they heard the same phrase while passing by the grave, then again, it`s all over the internet now 😉
Marlene claims she had a second experience during a later visit when she came across a beautiful lady that claimed she is a member of the local historian society and offered to give her a tour of the cemetery.
When they got to Nellie`s grave the obvious subject was brought up and the woman suffered a change in her attitude and started to mumble agitated while staring at Marlene: “Nellie was never a vampire. Nellie was never a vampire.” over and over again. The woman decided to leave as soon as possible and as she was exiting the cemetery she turned to look for the historian but she had disappeared and the small graveyard was deserted.
Interesting enough, since the tombstone was removed less acts of vandalism were recorded and the officials hope that in time people won`t remember where the grave is anymore.
Now there is grass all around and above the tomb!
For this is in fact the story of a vampire who never was a vampire… or was it the ghost of a vampire…. who never was a vampire………. Nellie Vaughn will forever be linked to vampirism.