Saturday, May 31, 2014

Poland's Vampire Burials

Tales of the customs followed to prevent the occurrence of vampires have been told for centuries.  Evidence of these rituals and customs have been discovered in cemeteries across the world.  The latest find is in Poland, which is nearly a year after a much larger find of buried vampires in another region of Poland.  The latest find features a skeleton with a rock in place of its teeth and a stake hammered through a leg bone to keep the corpse from rising.  The earlier find featured four vampires, all of whom had been decapitated - a sure fire way to prevent corpse re-animation.

The act of placing a rock in the mouth of a suspected vampire dates back to the 16th century, with vampire folklore dating back until nearly the beginning of human history.  Rocks were thought to keep the corpses from chewing through their burial shrouds and obviously, it is impossible to bite someone and suck their blood if there is a large rock in the mouth.  The picture you see to the left is the skull of a female skeleton found in Venice.  The plague was raging at the time of burial and archaeologists suspect that mass graves were dug and when they were reopened for more bodies, the people of the time - ignorant of decomposition - suspected that some corpses were vampires.

The latest vampire burial was found in a West Pomeranian town of Kamien Pomorsk in Poland.  The skull of the skeleton had a rock placed in its mouth as well.  The top row of teeth is missing as well indicating they may have been removed before placement of the rock.  An interesting tidbit to the story is that the mainstream media is reporting that the placement of rocks in the mouth is a regional occurrence.  Apparently, Polish people believed that their vampires were self-eating zombies of some sort, hence the rock prevented that as well as the eating through burial clothes.  But as I detailed above, this is found in Italy as well.  I imagine this practice is central to vampiric folklore.

Over 100 of these types of burials have been discovered in eastern Europe.  Another well known one was in Bulgaria.  The corpse, believed to be 700 years old, had an iron stake through the chest cavity of the skeleton.  The use of iron stakes or rods dates back to the 14th century.  The last recorded burial of this type is believed to have taken place in 1913.

Did such actions prevent vampire attacks?  Apparently since the lore has lived on, I would guess the rituals either did not work and or many vampires were not discovered.  There have been no reports of sparkly dust in any of the burial locations.  Edward must live on.