Known as “vampire skeletons” these discoveries tell a story of fear, superstition and age old vampires. The skeletons were found with an iron stake through the chest, indicating that at some point in history, these people were believed to be vampires. Vampires during the middle ages were thought to be undead creatures that would prey upon the living during the night. Whenever someone was suspected of being a vampire, their grave would often be uncovered and a ritual would be performed. An iron rod would be driven through their chest, in hopes of pinning the vampire to its grave. A wooden stake would also sometimes be driven through the chest. A rock would also be wedged into the mouths of corpses that were thought to be vampires.
Many vampire myths were born from plagues that swept through Europe between 1300 and 1700. Often mass graves would be needed for the victims and sometimes already buried bodies would be unearthed again as new ones were put to rest. The bloated look of the decomposing corpses, along with noticeably longer hair, nails and blood from their mouths convinced people of those times that the dead would not always stay that way. They believed that these corpses had remained alive and had obviously had a recent meal.
Whenever someone would suddenly pass away from a mysterious illness, they would automatically be suspected of being vampires. Just to be safe, folks would casually dig up the bodies and drive the stakes through the chests of the dead. This was especially important with murderers or other criminals that would not be welcome back from the dead as a vampire.
Vampire skeletons have been found before and it is believed that this was practiced in many areas of the world throughout history. Archaeologist Petar Balabanov discovered six nailed-down skeletons, at a site near the Bulgarian town of Debelt in 2004.
It is evident that people had a strong belief in the existence of vampires in the past. Strong enough to dig up graves of friends and loved ones. Although much can be attributed to superstition, one can’t help but to wonder why so many people were so convinced.