Exploring American Monsters: Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest of the United States. In size, literally fiftieth out of fifty at 1,545 square miles (the same size as a single county, Marathon, in Wisconsin). It’s forty-third in population density at a little more than a million. One of the original British colonies, it is called an island because the colony began on Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay, and Rhode because the colony was once referred to as “Isle of Rodes.” The state is home to the Ivy League Brown University, and the fictional city of Quahog in the adult television cartoon, “Family Guy.” It is also the home state of “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, actors John Huston and James Franco, Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan, and maybe, just maybe, Bigfoot.

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Bigfoot hunter measuring a footprint. Photo courtesy of North Kingstown Patch.

Bigfoot

With only 393,000 acres of forestland in Rhode Island, it isn’t the perfect location for the big hairy fellow, but stories of Big Rhodey have been enough to send cryptozoologists into the woods of this tiny state.

According to an article in the Coventry Patch newspaper, people have seen the beast near the towns of Cumberland, West Greenwich and Exeter. Although investigators have come up with plaster casts of large footprints, patches of hair, and twisted trees, they are most encouraged by a 2011 sighting by Dina Palazini and Kris Stepney who claim to have caught Big Rhodey on video.

The short clip (available here) shows the view taken from the cab of a moving vehicle. The trees and an ancient stone wall slowly move by when something seems to step from behind a tree. Was it Bigfoot? You decide.

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The Block Ness Monster

In 1996, fishermen aboard the Mad Monk pulled their net from the water off the shores of Block Island, fourteen miles from the coast of Rhode Island, according to a story by the Associated Press. Along with the net came the fourteen-foot skeleton of what looked like a serpent. When they arrived at the dock, the fisherman sat the bones out for display at the Point Judith ferry.

New York state park biologist Lee Scott came to the island to inspect the skeleton. According to the article, Scott remembered saying, “What the heck is this?” when he looked at the find.

Although at the time shark specialists were certain the remains were of a basking shark, no one can be certain what type of creature the Block Ness Monster really was. Shortly after it was found, “kidnappers” stole the remains to preserve the monster’s short legacy, which consisted of tourists, T-shirts, and “Block Ness cocktails.”

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Sea Monster of Teddy’s Beach

In 2007, a group of people visited Teddy’s Beach in Portsmouth to fish, and swim. The peaceful day changed when the swimmers encountered something enormous in the water.

According to WPRI 12 Eyewitness News, Rachel Carney was floating in the water beyond the swimming area of the beach when a fifteen-feet long creature began to swim around her. As the thing began circling, Carney felt it was toying with her, but she at least got a good look at it. It had greenish black skin with a white underside, and teeth at least four inches long. It kept ducking its head under the water. Each time it rose above the surface, it hissed at her.

“I was deep out in the water and kept hearing this hissing sound,” she told WPRI. “Then I saw its head come up showing me its big teeth. It kept rolling while it was swimming and knocking into my feet. I just froze.”

Her fiancé Dennis Vasconcellos swam out to Carney, and pulled her away from the sea serpent. “This thing was big,” he told the news station. “I mean its head was almost the size of a basketball.”

By the time Vasconcellos pulled Carney to safety, others on the beach were rushing loved ones from the water.

Scientists were baffled at the description of the sea monster.

See the news report here.

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A vampire

In 1892, the family of George and Mary Brown of Exeter became stricken with tuberculosis, known then as consumption. Superstition overruled science in many people during the Victorian Era, so townspeople thought the consumption curse on the family was due to evil undead.

Two family members who had succumbed to consumption were exhumed and looked decomposed, as they should. However, George and Mary’s daughter Mercy, who had been entombed in an above ground vault, had not decomposed at all. People grabbed this as evidence that Mercy was a vampire, and rose from the crypt to suck the life out of her family members as they slept.

The people removed Mercy’s heart and burned it. The ashes were mixed with water, and fed to her brother Edwin believing this would stop the undead from feasting on him in the night. Edwin died from tuberculosis anyway.

Up next: South Carolina.

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