Rhode Island Vampires – Sarah Tillinghast


Rhode Island Vampires - Sarah Tillinghast

In this article we will be taking a look at one of the most famous of the Rhode Island vampires – the case of Sarah Tillinghast…


19-year-old Sarah Tillinghast lived in Rhode Island in the late 1700’s. She was a well-liked, thoughtful young lady that would often been seen wandering through old graveyards – looking for secluded areas to read her beloved poetry.

One day as she returned home from one of her visits to where the Revolutionary soldiers lay, she told her family that she was feeling terribly unwell.

She was told to rest in bed, but a strong fever developed throughout her system within hours.

Sarah remained seriously ill for weeks until she finally died.

Brother James

Several weeks later, and still the Tillinghast family members were living in extreme grief for their loss.

One morning,  Sarah’s brother, James, came down for breakfast and complained about a pain throughout his chest – he said it was as if someone was pushing down on his rib cage.

He was also looking extremely pale in skin color and could not stop shaking.

Sarah's Brother, James

His concerned parents asked him when this ‘illness’ had started, and he replied that it started when Sarah had come to him and sat on his bed at night.

James’s shocked parents put the incident down to grief messing with the lad’s head – surely he was suffering mentally after the loss of his sister?

Days later, James was also dead.


But this was just the beginning – shortly after Sarah and James’s deaths, two more Tillinghast children died, both saying beforehand that Sarah had visited them.

The remaining Tillinghast relatives had a family meeting – did they really believe that Sarah was returning from the dead to suck out the life from remaining family members?

It wasn’t long before the subject spread it’s way through the local town – Sarah was returning from the dead as a vampire


The sickness seemed to spread throughout the area – and all of the victims claimed to have been visited by Sarah the night before they fell ill, and died.

Eventually, Sarah’s mother, Honour Tillinghast, fell ill.

As she lay on her deathbed she told the surrounding family members that she could actually hear her dead children calling out to her – they wanted her to join them.

Sarah’s father, Snuffy Tillinghast, had seen enough – he had lost just about everything. With the help of his farmhand, Caleb, he went out early one morning to the cemetery where Sarah was buried.

The two of them then dug up Sarah’s coffin and opened the lid…

Sarah’s body lay inside without any signs of decomposition…even though she had been dead for 18 months.

the cemetery where Sarah was buried

Tillinghast drew his knife, and cut his daughter’s heart out of her body, through abnormal amounts of blood.

He quickly built a small fire and then watched Sarah’s heart burn to ashes – as soon as the heart was destroyed…Honour Tillinghast started to make a full recovery.

Also, the strange illness disappeared from the area.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Rhode Island vampires, please leave them in the comment section below.

Nellie Vaughn and the Vampire Cemetery

Nellie Vaughn and the Vampire Cemetery

In this article we will be taking a look at the legend of Nellie Vaughn and the Vampire Graveyard in West Greenwich, Rhode Island…

The Graveyard

The Plain Meeting House Baptist Church in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, has a nameless old graveyard behind it. Eventually it earned the title ‘Vampire Cemetery’ from a strange woman who died in 1889 – Nellie Vaughn.

Over the years, local rumors and old wives tales have pointed to the fact that Nellie must have been a breed of vampire.


Well, her grave is sunken deeper than the others and her headstone reads ‘I am waiting and watching for you’.

Victims of Consumption

Not really much of a reason to tag someone as a vampire, is it?

Well, Nellie was certainly NOT a vampire. In those days, victims of consumption were given the title of ‘vampire’ (consumption was the early terminology used for the tuberculosis disease).

For some reason, these ‘vampires’, or victims of the disease, would frequently have their bodies exhumed. People would then burn the hearts and liver of the corpses and inhale the fumes.

It seems like a very macabre process, but back then people believed that this action would offer some protection from consumption.

I Ain’t No Vampire! 

The locals got it very wrong – Nellie actually died of pneumonia. This is why her body is buried so deep and has never been exhumed (NOT because she is the undead!).

The spirit of Nellie is well aware that people are labeling her a vampire, and have been for over a century now. She is not at all happy about it!

I Ain't No Vampire!

One local, Marlene Chatfield, claims to have had several experiences with the ghost of Nellie Vaughn.

Chatfield claims that her first encounter with Nellie’s spirit resulted in her husband being physically attacked…

They were in the cemetery, a couple of meters away from Nellie’s grave, when they heard a strange female voice say “I am perfectly pleasant”.

Then, without warning, an angry entity attacked Marlene’s Husband’s face and scratched him to hell and back!

In another well known incident, Marlene Chatfield claims she met a young woman from an historical society at the cemetery. When this woman was introduced to Nellie’s grave she suddenly froze and a fearful look spread across her face.

She then began repeating the phrase “Nellie is not a vampire” for a minute or so and then suddenly stopped. She remembered nothing about the phrase she was speaking out loud.

They both left the graveyard and later decided to check out the photographs the young woman had taken of Nellie’s grave…

All of the images were fine except the images of Vaughn’s grave…which were somehow reversed.

Nellie Vaughn and the Vampire Cemetery

Over the years Nellie’s grave has seen it’s fair share of vandalism, so now it has been moved and it remains unmarked, so locals will finally leave it alone…hopefully.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here today, please leave them in the comment section below.