As established in the previous articles added on the site since, we can clearly link the vampire panic that took hold in New England in the 1800s to the periodic epidemics of tuberculosis that would wipe out entire families in those days.
More often than we would like to believe, the communities would decide on exhuming the bodies of those believed to be vampires and they would approve the families carrying out gruesome rituals in an attempt to save those members that were tormented.
Such was the case of young 20year old Frederick Ransom of South Woodstock [Vermont].
He died on the 14th of February 1817 and was soon suspected of becoming a vampire. What is unusual is the fact that he pertained to a “well-to-do” family and you would expect them to be less inclined to give in to the superstitions of the old world.
He was exhumed and the customary rituals were performed on his body – we are given the extra details that his heart was burnt to ash in a blacksmith`s forge under the gaze of numerous members of the local community.
As the news made its way in the newspapers of the day so did Frederick`s story come to be passed on.
I sign off the post by adding the journal entry from the 26th of September 1859 by Henry David Thoreau
The savage in man is never quite eradicated. I have just read of a family in Vermont—who, several of its members having died of consumption, just burned the lungs & heart & liver of the last deceased, in order to prevent any more from having it.
It would take a couple of decades before the proper treatment would be discovered for what was then known as consumption.