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Rachel Burton (nee Harris), Vampire of Manchester


Captain Isaac Burton and Rachel Harris (stepdaughter of Esquire Powel) married on March 8, 1789. Unfortunately the marriage did not last long and she died of consumption (Tubercolosis) on 1 February 1790, after which she was considered by some to have become a vampire.

Speaking of Rachel, Judge John S. Pettibone (Born 1786 — Died 1872) says; ‘She was, to use the words of one who was well acquainted with her, “a fine, healthy, beautiful girl.” Not long after they were married she went into a decline and after a year or so she died of consumption. Capt. Burton after a year or more married Hulda Powel*, daughter of Esquire Powel by his first wife. Hulda was a very healthy, good-looking girl, not as handsome as his first wife. She became ill soon after they were married and when she was in the last stages of consumption, a strange infatuation took possession of the minds of the connections and friends of the family. They were induced to believe that if the vitals of the first wife could be consumed by being burned in a charcoal fire it would effect a cure of the sick second wife. Such was the strange delusion that they disinterred the first wife who had been buried about three years. They took out the liver, heart, and lungs, what remained of them, and burned them to ashes on the blacksmith’s forge of Jacob Mead. Timothy Mead officiated at the altar in the sacrifice to the Demon Vampire who it was believed was still sucking the blood of the then living wife of Captain Burton. It was the month of February and good sleighing. Such was the excitement that from five hundred to one thousand people were present. This account was furnished me by an eye witness of the transaction.’

Hulda died on 6 September 1793.

*Captain Burton who was a deacon in the congregational church, married Hulda Powell on 4 January 1791.


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