9 Best Myths and Urban Legends in Rhode Island

Have you ever been wandering around Rhode Island and felt something following you? A mysterious presence you couldn’t explain? There could be an explanation—read about these urban myths from Rhode Island to catch the nearest thrill near you.

1. Mercy Brown the Vampire

Mercy Brown lived in Exeter, Rhode Island, during the vampire panic during the 19th century when her family was struck by the tuberculosis outbreak. The townspeople thought she must have been the one to kill her family. After she died, the townspeople exhumed her body from the earth, saw that it was still intact after some weeks, and that she appeared to have shifted in her coffin. Her body was burned and the town forced Mercy’s brother to eat her ashes, according to myth.

2. The Foster Witch

Dolly Ellen Cole worked as a natural healer in Foster, Rhode Island, during the early 19th century but was suspected of witchcraft. The townspeople decided to set her house on fire in the middle of the night—and though Dolly wasn’t home, her daughter was. She burned alive inside the home, and Dolly allegedly dedicated herself to getting revenge. Some say her ghost still haunts the town.

3. Paletine

Some say that during the 18th century, a passenger ship named the Paletine was stranded at sea and overwhelmed by pirates who murdered members of the crew. The passengers were able to escape unharmed to Block Island—except one, who was forgotten on the ship. The townspeople of Block Island, not knowing the woman was still trapped on the boat, set fire to it so that other ships would not hit the debris of the mostly wrecked ship. The cries of the woman who burned alive with the ship can still be heard from Block Island every year.

4. Drink away your destiny

Take a sip of water from the Providence Athenaeum fountain and legend says that you will always return to Providence, whatever that reason may be. The fountain is engraved with the words, "Come here everyone that thirsteth." 

5. A Haunted House

Head out to Harrisville, Rhode Island, to find the actual farmhouse upon which “The Conjuring” is based. The homeowners were so scared of what was going on at their home that they were forced to move out!

6. An abandoned hospital

The Ladd School in Exeter has a dark past. Long since abandoned and torn down, it once served as a mental hospital that performed several operations now outlawed. Drive by the site where it used to stand and you might still hear the screams of the hospital’s patients begging to get out.

7. A site of increased paranormal activity

Drive along Tower Hill Road in Cumberland, Rhode Island, and you might just spot a ghost! Some say that they have seen the ghost of a young boy and his pet dog—and even people who didn’t know about the urban myth have spotted the same thing!

8. A haunted hotel

The Providence Biltmore earned its title as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel” for a reason. Ask a concierge, and they’ll tell you the stories of murders and disappearing visitors that will make you want to book a new reservation immediately.

9. Mysterious stone figures

Deep in the woods of Narragansett, look closely and you might just stumble upon a strange circle of stones strategically placed to represent an altar. Some say this is a Witches’ Altar and Druids Chair. Spooky.

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