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Michael Bell
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Posted By Michael Bell

He tormented her by night and by day, following her around in the shape of a ball of fire, until she finally hit upon the happy thought of wearing a horseshoe around her neck. It cured Ike completely. The horseshoe was rather heavy and cumbersome, but it was better than being singed by a ball of fire.

For this legend the Sodomite had no explanation.

Then there is the good elder Edwards, town clerk, librarian of the public library on Pine Hill, farmer and preacher. He is one of the most pronounced of the anti-vampirites. Among the laity, the hard-headed farmers of the town who work early and late to coax a living from the reluctant soil, there are plenty who are outspoken in their disbelief in vampires.

If you talk with Reynolds Lillibridge, the successful farmer, gunner and trapper of Pine Hill, you will discover that he is much more interested in minks and otters, and the trout in his fine pond, than in the vampires.

“When a man’s underground, he hasn’t anything more to do with anybody that’s above ground—that’s my theory,” he said. “Still, I can understand how a man like Brown must have felt. When you are in trouble you will grab at a straw, and when you are in a good deal of trouble you will grab at a whole bundle.”

The lonely telegraph operator in the little station up on Pine hill is too busy looking after his wires to bother about vampires. And then, too, he has just brought a charming little wife there to share his solitude and his salary.

Mme. Douglas, the lone clairvoyant and business medium, who lives on the Ten Rod road, hasn’t any doubt about the existence of vampires and lots of other things, seen and unseen.

When you take this community, “full and by,” or “by and large,” you will find it pretty evenly divided on the vampire issue. But it is strongly republican, and so the issue has not yet crept into politics.

Over in North Kingstown and up in West Greenwich, Coventry and Foster, as well as in Hopkinton, Richmond and South Kingstown, the vampire belief holds extensive sway. There have, however, been no recent resurrections of bodies of consumptives.

As to the origin of the belief there is no satisfactory explanation given. How it could have been transplanted from the old world and found a lodgment only in Rhode Island, among an otherwise very intelligent and enterprising and wideawake population, is a mystery. It is not an English superstition, and yet the settlers of this region were all English.

Mr. De Jongh of Wickford, who has devoted some attention to the subject, is inclined to think that it comes from the old voodoo superstition, as there were formerly many negroes in Rhode Island.

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