Vampire/plague victim found

In a mass grave of 16th c. plague victims excavated in Venice, one of the interred was found with a brick jammed in her mouth.

Archaeologist Matteo Borrini thinks her survivors shoved a brick into her mouth because they thought she might turn vampire and spread more plague.

At the time the woman died, many people believed that the plague was spread by “vampires” which, rather than drinking people’s blood, spread disease by chewing on their shrouds after dying. Grave-diggers put bricks in the mouths of suspected vampires to stop them doing this, Borrini says.

The belief in vampires probably arose because blood is sometimes expelled from the mouths of the dead, causing the shroud to sink inwards and tear.

He claims this is the earliest vampire-treated remains, but similar finds have been made elsewhere, including by Peer Moore-Jansen of Wichita State University who scoffs at the “first vampire” claim.

Borrini is undaunted, insisting that his study reveals that this Venetian lady who died in 1575 is the first one to provide archaeological evidence of anti-vampiric exorcism.

The whole thing seems tenuous to me. Vampire legends were pretty much all over the map until Bram Stoker sealed the 19th c. Transylvanian version into the popular consciousness. The post-mortem shroud chewers sending plague vibes out from underground bear little resemblance to what people today think of as vampires.

There may just be a wee drappie of sensationalism driving Prof. Borrini’s claim. And understandably so given the sweet press he’s gotten.

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13 Comments »

Comment by Dina
2009-03-08 00:41:43

Eeuw, that’s one mass grave I wouldn’t want to excavate.
Glad it was a brick and not an anti-vampire crucifix.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-03-08 14:48:44

I don’t think the crucifix tradition was in place back in 1575. Here’s hoping they stuck to jamming bricks down dead people’s mouths to prevent plague instead of killing entire cities’ worth of Jews.

Comment by Dina
2009-03-09 15:04:40

oh right. That happened a lot, didn’t it.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-03-09 22:57:33

Ya seems to have. :no:

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Comment by Benjamin
2009-08-10 22:34:19

this is really interesting… now if they only provided a date in which they discovered the vampire remains in venice… that would be very helpful. :skull:

Comment by livius drusus
2009-08-10 22:43:01

I’m guessing it was early this year given the March announcement. It could have been earlier than that, of course, and just not released to the press for a while.

 
 
Comment by sonny
2011-01-31 08:52:23

hmm.. i wonder if the vampires really do exist! and i think if they do,, then maybe the movies series (which Vampire diaries it the best :notworthy:) have stretched out the truth,, you know exaggarated. But honestly dont you think being a Vampire is :cool: cool :cool:….

 
Comment by Anonymous
2011-05-14 05:04:47

:skull: :angry: :lol: :love: :no:

 
Comment by Anonymous
2011-05-14 05:06:58

:skull: it is very very cool i didnt know there was such a thing like this i love this …. :love: :hattip: ;) :yes: :thanks: :shifty: :p :ohnoes: :notworthy: :no: :love: :lol: :giggle: :eek: :cool: :chicken: :boogie: :blush: :blankstare: :angry: :D :) :(

 
Comment by shily
2011-12-01 03:27:18

:skull:

 
Comment by bianca
2012-10-02 22:53:13

if vampire really exist that would be a great story. :love:

 
Comment by Anonymous
2013-11-26 15:36:20

This is so cool! :cool:

 
Comment by awr
2018-09-21 09:09:38

That is really not a nice thing to see. I can not imagine what she has been through. If this is a part of vampire exorcism the old school way, this is very nasty. But come to think of it, if she is really a vampire and people are so scared about the plague that they are creating to humankind, they really have no choice but to do this kind of act. How come they didn’t think of burning the cadavers if there’s really a plague?

 
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;) :yes: :thanks: :skull: :shifty: :p :ohnoes: :notworthy: :no: :love: :lol: :hattip: :giggle: :facepalm: :evil: :eek: :cry: :cool: :confused: :chicken: :boogie: :blush: :blankstare: :angry: :D :) :(

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