Richard Sugg*1 “Vampire beliefs still have bite” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/08/vampire-beliefs-skeletons-bulgaria
Last weekend, Bulgarian archaeologists working near the Black Sea town of Sozopol unearthed centuries-old skeletons pinned down through their chests with iron rods. Interestingly, this technique was evidently used to "stop the dead from becoming vampires": people who had been "unusual" in life (alcoholics, criminals and assorted outsiders) were automatically suspect, even before any vampiric assaults had actually occurred. The Bulgarian finds were mere youngsters by comparison with the deviant burials unearthed in Mikulovice, in the Czech Republic, a few years ago. There, the bodies weighted down with rocks were thought to be around 5,000 years old.
Archaeologists find grave of suspected vampire
Czech News Agency (ČTK) ^ | 14 July 2008 | Czech News Agency (ČTK)
Posted on Tue Jul 15 2008 02:20:59 GMT+0800 (中国 (標準時)) by BGHater
Pardubice, East Bohemia, July 11 (CTK) - Archaeologists have uncovered a 4000-year-old grave in Mikulovice, east Bohemia, with remains of what might have been considered a vampire at the time, Nova TV has reported.
The experts made the terrifying find within their research of a burial site from the Early Bronze Age.
One of the graves was situated somewhat aside. The skeleton in it bears traces of unusual treatment.
When buried, the dead man was weighed down with two big stones, one on his chest and the other on his head.
"Remains treated in this way are now considered as vampiric. The dead man's contemporaries were afraid that he might leave his grave and return to the world," Radko Sedlacek from the East Bohemia Museum said.
This is for the first time Czech archaeologists have uncovered a "vampire's" grave, Nova said.
In ancient times, people believed vampires are the dead who occasionally return among the living to harm their health or property.
For most of history, vampirism was the subject of mind-shattering terror. During a vampire outbreak, everyone would routinely flee their houses and sleep together in one building. Meanwhile, there was the question of those who fell into a coma. In Greece, one family was so terrified that their comatose daughter risked becoming undead that they buried her alive, against the desperate pleas of the local doctor (secretly, he opened up her grave that night, only to have her die in his arms). In the same country, another luckless man woke from a coma at his own funeral, in his open coffin. Sadly, this was no cause for celebration. Traumatised by this vampiric being, the villagers stoned him to death.
If Robert Pattinson sat on Kristen Stewart's chest in the middle of the night, we can well imagine the censors would be pretty terrified – at least about losing their PG certification. But there's another problem. If you sent Pattinson or Lugosi trick-or-treating in real vampire country, the locals wouldn't actually recognise them as a vampire. Indeed, if a caped, lean, pale and haughty aristocrat appeared in your humble village one evening, there was only one reason to be frightened of him: namely, because someone so rarefied-looking was probably your blood-sucking landlord. In reality, the undecayed corpse found in the grave would often be bloated (not thin), and conspicuously reddened (not pale) – as you'd naturally expect from a creature feeding on blood. Sharp teeth were far from essential, and if they were found, were merely further evidence that the vampire was undead: it was not only undecayed, but still growing. Oh – and, for the dress code? No dinner jacket required. A humble peasant shroud would do – ideally a little torn and frayed, to indicate that the vampire had been chewing hungrily on it in its grave.
The real vampires died out only fairly recently: the Greek stoning, for example, occurred about 1930. Here and there, they may still live on as I write. In November 2003, Stephenie Meyer signed the contract for Twilight. A few weeks after this, in January 2004, the Romanian villagers of Marotinul-de-Sus smelt a vampire when a woman fell ill. The culprit was identified as the recently deceased Petre Toma. Around midnight, six men disinterred his body, split open the ribcage, and removed his heart. This was burned, and the ashes were given to the sick woman to drink in water (to escape a vampire, it's sometimes necessary to turn cannibal). Although the Romanians called Toma a strigoi*4 (poltergeist), this was a typical folk way of explaining and fighting sickness. The vampire, not germs, was to blame.
Monica Petrescu “To Many Romanians,Vampires Are A Terrifying Reality: The Long Shadow Of Dracula” (originally published in 2005) http://rense.com/general62/vamp.htm
Richard Sugg is lecturer in Renaissance literature at the University of Durham. He is the author of Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: the History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians (Routledge, 2011). He is currently writing Faces of the Vampire: from Holy Terror to Sexual Taboo
*3:See eg. Ines Navacic “‘Vampire’ Graves Unearthed Near Black Sea Town” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/06/vampire-graves-unearthed-by-the-dead-sea/
*5:Mentioned in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091208/1260270282