Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vampire Lovers and History Buffs...

Anyone with a fondness for medieval, obscure, or vampiric history should enjoy this article. I'm certainly fond of forensic history...

Most people know that the Black Death was a source of great concern throughout the Middle Ages. (Yes, I am aware that this is a vast understatement.) The plague swept across Europe, decimating the population and killing entire villages. Now for the fun part...
Please, if CSI makes you nauseous, do not read the rest of the article. It's about to get good- I mean, gross...

Recently, archaeologist Matteo Borrini excavated a mass grave on Lazzaretto Nuovo Island in Venice, Italy. The bodies uncovered in the excavation were from the 1576 plague. Well, at the time of the burial, 1576, not all of the bodies were believed to be human.

To the left is a photo of a woman's skull; the object shoved into her jaw is a brick. The Italian village where this woman died believed that the disease was spread by "vampires" that chose to snack on their shrouds once they were buried. So, to prevent this nasy habit, grave-diggers would place bricks into the mouths of dead humans suspected of being "other." This misconception is believed to have stemmed from the fact that when a person dies, blood is expelled from the mouth, causing any shroud to sink in and tear against said person's teeth.

Overall, people were desperate for anything that might stop the ravages of the plague. Borrini claims that his find may be the earliest attempt at a vampire exorcism. However, this has been disputed by Peer Moore-Jansen who says that he has found similar skeletons in Poland.

Hmmm. So the idea of vampirism really is part of the global culture... Cool!

For more on vampires go to these links-
Ancient Italian- NewScientist article and AOL News article
Modern Teen- Fang Place blog


  1. Wow! I've learned about the black plague before, but it's always so interesting to learn new facts about that period in time.


  2. Couldn't agree more! I have always loved digging up obscure factoids.


  3. I've always heard that dirty underwear works as well as a brick.