When I was a kid, I entertained the idea of being an archaeologist.
That lasted about a year.
I like the idea of having my own place to go back to every day MORE and I’m not big on the idea of spending my time in a different country that might hate me.
But anywho – archaeology is still interesting to me.
And as you already know, all kinds of monsters and creatures interest me. I wake up from nightmares going, “YES!” and scramble to write them down so I don’t forget.
So vampire graves are pure awesome (I need to find better describing words. What kind of author says uber, awesome, and amazing all the time?)
Check out some crazy stuff going on with corpses…
Vampire Graves have Been Found In
Bulgaria (more than 100 vampire burial sites have been uncovered, especially in a 7000 year old city, Thracian)
Europe (The famous Twins of Sozopol were found in Poland)
US (Mercy Brown most notably was exhumed, her heart cut out, burned, and mixed with water for the brother to drink)
Reasons People were Given Vamp Burials
missing a finger
talk to themselves
aversion to garlic
having no appetite
being murdered violently
died before they were baptized
lived a long life
died of an odd ailment, like tuberculosis
violated society’s laws
had the plague
corpse was unearthed and it looked too fresh
corpse was unearthed and had blood on it
killed a lot of people
cat jumped over the corpse
strange marks found on bodies – often times people thought birthmarks and moles were signs of evil
So, basically, if you didn’t brush your teeth, have perfect health, eat all your dinner, and donate your liver to the grandma down the street, you were going to get jumped by evil spirits and reanimate, doomed to kick it in a coffin during the day and cannibalize your family, friends, and random strangers by night.
But in all seriousness, vampires were a real threat back then. People believed that the likelihood of returning from your grave to suck the life from your loved ones was good.
One of the reasons for this was the plagues and diseases that swept through villages. A few people would crop up with it and when their families got sick with the “mystery illness” – it must be their dead loved one possessed by evil spirits, trying to kill them.
It was also used for scapegoating. Humans are humans after all, and a lot of them just aren’t nice.
I should note that some countries still hold these beliefs, to a lesser extent.
So what would people do to your corpse if they thought you were already a vampire? Or feared you might rise from the grave as one?
Different kinds of vampire burials:
Shove a stake through your heart. (A Bulgarian corpse was found with a 2-pound iron rod shoved in his chest.)
The same Bulgarian man was found with half of his leg removed and laid beside his body.
Cover your grave in huge, heavy stones.
Pin your corpse down in your grave with metal rings.
Bind your hands.
Sever your head and put it between your legs (this is really popular).
Shove a brick in your mouth (that’s just hilarious to even type).
Weight your neck down with stones.
Place coins in your mouth to keep evil spirits from entering you.
The Twin Sozopol vampires were pinned to their graves through the chest by the metal end of a plough.
And just to be POSITIVE you weren’t coming back and sucking anyone’s blood – they’d dig you up a short while after you were buried. Shove a stake through your heart (bodies are still fresh then) or do any number of the things listed above. If they hadn’t already.
These days, there are rumors that a few countries dig suspect corpses up after three or four years to check them for vampirism. Don’t quote me on that though.
Vampire Body Weirdness
Part of the decomposition process bloats the human body, which sometimes causes blood to seep from the mouth.
When a person dies, human skin dries out and shrinks, causing the hair and nails to appear longer, as if they’re growing.
So it wasn’t actually strange for these things to happen – they just didn’t know that back then.
There are A LOT of strange beliefs surrounding vampires and what causes them. Which, you know, is awesome (that’s the same freaking descriptive word!!!).
If I ever get into my archeological urges, hopefully I’ll find a vampire grave. Unbury it, remove the stake, and have a living, non-breathing vampire in my good graces.
Because who wouldn’t want a vampire in their debt? Or to befriend, question, and stalk. Right?