Two Views of Mercy L. Brown

Letterpress, silkscreen, and laser cut on Crane 220 lb. cotton paper, 6.5″ x 6.5.”

Two views of Mercy L. Brown.  View one: through a microscope (a granuloma in the lung of a tuberculosis patient).  View two: through the hole in the grave of William C. Johnson, Exeter, RI, said to offer, on a moonlit night in October, the ghost of Mercy Brown.  She died of tuberculosis before tuberculosis was known, and so, she was a vampire.

Printed in an edition of 20 for a print exchange between AS220 Printshop and Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center, September 2013.  Scroll down to read more about this print.

2 Views of Mercy L. Brown

It was not much more than a century ago that New Englanders believed vampires were among them.  No other explanation had yet been found for the sickness that overtook entire families with a deadly, bloody cough.  Following the advice of physicians, they went to the graves of suspected vampires – their dead relatives – exhumed their bodies and burned their hearts.  This was the fate of Mercy Brown’s heart.  Her brother Edwin, sick with what we now know to be tuberculosis, drank her ashen heart in a glass of water in hopes of getting well.

When Mercy L. Brown died, she was working on a wandering foot quilt, signified by the red motif at the bottom right of the print.

The inner edge of the laser cut window – which is proportionate to the window in the gravestone of William C. Johnson – glows in the dark.