In the early 1800s, 200 years removed from Salem and what should have been a sobering lesson on the dangers of moral panics, the region convinced itself that it was now beset with vampires. Residents throughout New England decided that dead guys were rising from the grave to suck the life essence from the living. To protect themselves, residents began exhuming corpses, decapitating the bodies and burning their organs. That's a whole lot of work, though, so sometimes they would merely flip the exhumed corpse over, which is apparently sufficient defense against the undead. Maybe vampires have a terrible sense of direction and are easily confused.
It was a whole ordeal, too, often carried out in the dead of night with lanterns to guide the way. Henry David Thoreau wrote about an exhumation in his own journal, covering it like it was a normal thing to do on a Saturday night. Occasionally, the vampire hunters would also festively burn the dead guy's heart and inhale the smoke, or eat its ashes so that they themselves would not become a vampire. Again, it is unclear why this would help, but the important thing is they believed it would.
The Providence Journal "Mix it with hot water and pretend it's cocoa."
The horrific tuberculosis outbreaks going on at the time provide an almost plausible explanation for this insanity. You see, tuberculosis was called consumption back then, and a significant portion of the population appeared to think it was caused by dead people "consuming" the unsuspecting living. That's what all the corpse-exhuming was about -- they were looking for corpses that appeared "too fresh," as if they had been up all night the day before consuming the rosy-cheeked energy from living people. Now, this is obviously dumb, but to a 19th-century person with limited education watching all of their neighbors wither away, you can sort of see why the notion of vampires might cling to their thoughts (the vampire legend is a plague allegory, after all).
Also, the early 1800s were super boring, and it's not like those corpses were using their heads and organs anymore.
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