The beginning of the 18th century in Eastern Europe had seen a spate of claimed Vampire killings, known as the 18th Century Vampire controversy, accusations of vampirism exploded and corpses were staked through the heart, or the heads were removed. A practice by the 18th century which was already ancient.
This practice and its folklore by the centuries end, had made its way from the old world into the new, and into rural New England.
Sarah Tilinghast died from tubuculosis in the Autumn of 1799, where upon her family claimed to see her in dreams, and also by their beds as they too began to show symptoms of tuberculosis, known at the time as consumption. In order to attempt to save the rest of the family, her father Stuckely Tilinghast, exhumed his daugher removing her heart and burning it to ash.
The tombstones are modelled on New England examples, and feature original illustrations, with the iconography based upon the accounts of the Rhode Island Vampire exhumations.
Vampires in Rhode Island: Tombstone of Sarah Tilinghast 1799
Cast plaster of Paris tombstone. Size 3.25” x 4”.
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