On Smithfield Rd. in that town is Union Cemetery, a large, open, well-maintained Rhode Island historical cemetery that is far, far from spooky. However, if you go to the southeast border (the side of the cemetery closest to Buell Ave.), you’ll find a forest. Just a few steps into that forest, you’ll come across the remains of a few smaller cemeteries that have been annexed into the purview of Union Cemetery.
Many of those graves bear the name Aldrich, since a portion of that death-land was a familial burying ground, and among all that Aldrich is a bit of eldritch.
One of those stones marks the final decaying place of a man named Simon Whipple, a member of that Aldrich family. Nothing much is known about him and what is comes directly from the remarkably well-preserved information on his broken headstone. So if you’re one to believe in the inerrancy of epitaphs, Whipple was the youngest son of a Colonel Dexter Aldrich and his wife Margery, who are buried nearby, and he died at the age of 27 on May 6, 1841. Ostensibly.
Altho’ consumption's vampire grasp
Had seized thy mortal frame…
The rest of the enigmatic epitaph is lost to the cement footer that holds the stone in place, with only the last word of the third line peeking above it, “mind.”
We could have a lot of fun finishing that stanza ourselves, and that’s pretty much all we can do since the above is Simon Whipple’s vampire story from start to finish. No wasting relatives, no hasty exhumations, no excised hearts, no burned corpses, no superstitiously arranged bones like in some of the other vampire tales of the region. At least that we know of. Just the fact that somebody for some reason waxed darkly poetic about the death of Simon Whipple in one of the most permanent ways one can, using the word vampire half a century before Bram Stoker popularized the term.
The crown of Simon Whipple’s own grave has been broken…I assume by Whipple himself, while using it as leverage to extricate his immortal frame from the grave during one of his nightly resurrections.
When you look for it, be sure to wear garlic and a cross, just in case, although the only bloodsuckers you’ll probably come across are mosquitos and ticks.