It may be the smallest state in the Union, but what Rhode Island lacks in landmass, it more than makes up for in creepy stories and weird urban legends. Ghost stories from Rhode Island have an old-world flair that can only come from one of the original 13 Colonies, but they also have a distinct weirdness to them that comes from being a state full of rural people who are also somehow wealthy. Rhode Island urban legends have everything from witches who haunt the lakes where they were drowned to dimension-hopping “man monkeys” who have been seen traipsing around the woods in the dead of night. What else would you expect from the state that birthed HP Lovecraft?
A lot of these creepy Rhode Island stories speak directly to the fears of many modern Americans. These urban legends are all about being lost, becoming alienated, and stumbling upon satanic hotels where there are whirlpools full of blood and people are known to randomly go missing. What more could you ask for in a round of the spookiest stories about Rhode Island? This is the state that has arguably one of the most haunted houses in the country, as well as the inspiration for Freddy Krueger; if you’re a fan of the spooky-ooky, then these stories might make you want to move to the East Coast.
The Perron Family Haunting Is Still Sending Shivers Down Rhode Islander's SpinesPhoto: The Conjuring / Warner Bros. Pictures
If you've seen The Conjuring, then you're aware of some of the insane ghost shenanigans that have gone down in this house. When the Perron family moved into their home in Harrisville, RI, they had no idea that eight generations of families had lived and died in the same home, with a number of suicides, a rape, two murders, and four random deaths by freezing occurring all before the Perrons moved in. The home's seller allegedly told them to "leave the lights on at night."
The Perrons have only disclosed a small amount of what happened to them in the house, but their stories include everything from sweet ghosts who swept and watched over the children to the spirit of Bathsheba Sherma, an alleged witch who lived in the house in the 19th century and hanged herself in a tree behind the home. The Perron family called in Ed and Lorraine Warren, the same couple who investigated the Amityville home, but things only became worse when they arrived. The Perrons had to live with their ghosts for a decade before they were financially free to move away from this terrifying piece of property.
Fingernail Freddie Terrorizes Noisy CampersPhoto: A Nightmare on Elm Street / New Line Cinema
A creepy old guy named Freddie who had jagged fingernails and attacked people at night. Who does that sound like? If you said Freddie Krueger, you're close, but no cigar. In the mid 20th century, there were stories about a guy named Fingernail Freddie who lived in the woods and grew his nails super long. Apparently, if campers were being too loud, Freddie would say, "Don't make noise at night, because Fingernail Freddie is gonna come in and claw you with his fingers, with his nails."
The Ghost Of Dolly Cole Wanders The Woods
One of the saddest urban legends in the smallest state in the Union is that of Dolly Cole, a sex worker who had a penchant for wearing men's clothing. When she was alive, Dolly was rumored to be a witch who lived outside of Foster, RI, and, in an attempt to rid themselves of the blight on their town, some people from the village burned down her home but only succeeded in killing her only child. Committed to getting rid of the witch of Foster, some of the townspeople caught up with Cole in the middle of the woods and murdered her at the tender age of 27.
Today, many hunters, fishermen, and hikers have been known to see a woman walking through the woods who seems to be dressed in men's clothing.
Mercy Brown Is Rhode Island's Own Vampire
Did you, dear readers, know that vampires were a big deal in Rhode Island? The citizens of the tiny state believe that a woman named Mercy Brown was responsible for the deaths of two members of her family who died of consumption before she died of the same illness. The vampire mythos comes from when Mercy's father and a doctor exhumed her body, along with those of his wife and son, to find that Mercy still had "fresh blood" in her heart.
To this day, people who visit Mercy's grave in Exeter, RI, have said that they felt a chill when they stand near her head tone. It's also been reported that you can see the ghost of Mercy walking through the cemetery on a moonlit night.