Back in 1892, Mercy Brown was a young girl that caught tuberculosis from a family member and died. Her mother was the first to die of the disease, but some of her siblings also became ill and died. When her brother Edwin became ill, the townspeople encourage Mr. Brown to dig up his kin and see which one was a vampire, which he did. Mercy, having been the latest to die and due to a cold winter, hadn't decomposed much in her grave, so it was concluded she was undead and sucking the life out of the remaining family members. Poor Mercy's heart was removed from her body, burned and made into a draft for Edwin to drink. He died two months later.
I learned of this gruesome bit of history when I was in my early twenties and it stuck with me over the years. Just the gruesomeness of digging up a loved one and making a potion from the ashes of their heart is enough to put me off my feed.
So I was thinking, what if it was true that tuberculosis was a form a vampirism? That would mean someone in the Bronte family was a vampire. Charlotte was the only sibling to survive into her thirties. Imagine the horror of knowing your dead relatives are trying to suck the life out of you from beyond the grave. No wonder Charlotte was always described as being so humorless. She must have felt it was her sister, Anne, that was the vampire. That would explain why she went out of her way to surpress the reprinting of Anne's books. But given his ability to suck so much out of the family during his life, I'd put the blame on Branwell.
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