While looking into haunting statistics, there are two ways of looking at the concept of a “most haunted” locale. One method is by taking into account the number of haunted locations total in an area. The end result is of course fairly clear. Larger states have more space and settlements to be haunted in. However, the second method of taking the number of haunted locations and factoring in how much square mileage is within the area should result in the same list. Interestingly, this is not the case with Rhode Island which has an unusually high number of hauntings for such a small state and as a result becomes one of the most densely haunted states in the United States.
And perhaps the most famous ghost in Rhode Island is that of Mercy Brown, a woman said to be not only a ghost but possibly also a vampire. Brown was part of the inspiration for one of Howard Philip Lovecraft’s most famous stories of horror and the human consciousness being shattered by unnatural forces he is mercifully usually unaware of. The Shunned House featured Brown’s story after Lovecraft reportedly was haunted by the tragic events of her life and the subsequent sightings of her ghost that would go on long after he would die as though punctuating his philosophy that there were things in the universe more immutable than mankind’s will or ability to survive in the light of harsh adversity. “And with strange eons even death may die.”
The Wedderburn House in Narragansett reportedly also is haunted by a woman who weeps as she wanders the halls in memory of her lost family. The wife of Captain Japheth Wedderburn, Donna Wedderburn eventually would be found dead and in a coffin hidden within the fireplace. In 1925 years after her husband reportedly took her home to live with her family in Spain, workers removed the box and discovered she was not in Spain as she was supposed to be. Since then it has been thought that Mrs. Wedderburn must have been murdered under suspicious circumstances. The ghost was later discovered to belong to her, and since then she has been seen several times over the years weeping as she misses her family, or perhaps because she was murdered and hidden in the house which would be her prison and eventually her tomb.
Though Rhode Island is one of the most densely haunted areas in the United States, it has also been the inspiration for some of the greatest works of fiction of the 20th century. The aforementioned HP Lovecraft lived for several years in Rhode Island, citing that the mysterious swamp lands and the figures just beyond the periphery of his vision seemed to portend something that was beyond the understanding of most people and suggest that there was more to reality than humans would ever be able to know, and those few who would discover the secrets that lay beyond the veil would be driven mad by its discovery.