Vampire Graves and Ancient Superstitions

by Rachel Baker on October 31, 2013

The origin of Vampires is less horrifying when when you think in terms of early superstitions vs what we know now about science and medicine today.

We now imagine vampires as blood-drinking, cloaked Counts—or possibly sparkly, sexy teenagers—but throughout history everyone from the Ancient Greeks, to the Eastern Europeans, to 19th-century Americans saw them as disease victims (and sometimes simply dead miscreants) who could prey on the living from the Great Beyond.

To keep these fiends from feasting on their villages, the surviving relatives would try to physically keep them in their graves, sort of like setting up an obstacle course for the deceased.

Last year, Bulgarian archaeologists found two skeletons whose chests had been impaled with iron rods near the Black Sea town of Sozopol—apparently a typical treatment for those suspected of post-mortal malfeasance until the early 1900s there. About 100 such skeletons have been uncovered in Bulgaria alone.

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