Ancient 'Vampire' Skeletons Unearthed In Bulgaria

By Amir Khan on June 6, 2012 10:07 AM EDT

Dracula
Count Dracula as portrayed by Béla Lugosi in 1931's Dracula (Photo: Creative Commons)

Archeologists in Bulgaria discovered two medieval skeletons with iron rods sticking out of their chest -- an ancient pagan practice aimed to stop them from turning into vampires.

"These skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice which was common in some Bulgarian villages up until the first decade of the 20th Century," Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the National History Museum in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, told BBC News.

Like Us on Facebook

Bulgaria is home to over 100 "vampire skeleton" burials, according to the Daily Mail. In medieval times, people believed that those who were "bad" would come back as vampires unless they were stabbed with a wooden or iron stake before being buried. The stake would pin them in the grave, preventing them from rising up to feed.

"These people were believed to be evil while they were alive, and it was believed that they would become vampires once they are dead, continuing to torment people," Dimitrov told the Daily Mail.

He also said the practice was commonplace, and was surprised at how much attention his discovery was garnering.

"I do not know why an ordinary discovery like that became so popular," he said. "Perhaps because of the mysteriousness of the word 'vampire.'"

Vampire legends are an important part of the regions folklore and directly inspired Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, Dracula.

Despite the numerous findings, there have been no women found in a vampiric grave, Dimitrov told the Daily Mail.

"The curious thing is that there are no women among them," he said. "They were not afraid of witches."

However, archeologists in Italy recently discovered a female skeleton in Venice with a brick wedged between its jaws, which they believe was to stop it from feeding.

"It's possible that other corpses have been found with bricks in their mouths, but this is the first time the ritual has been recognized." Matteo Borrini, an anthropologist from the University of Florence, told the Daily Mail.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Sponsored From Around the Web

    ZergNet
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
INSIDE iScience Times
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet  Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)