At one point in history the belief in vampires was very much real and alive. People lived in great fear of the undead and precautions were taken to prevent a corpse from returning as a vampire. Common methods throughout Europe included staking the corpse with a certain type of metal or wood, placing a fish net on the body, scattering seeds in and around the grave, nailing metal rods in the grave and body, and many more (see a list here). Archaeologists still come across these skeletons today, these centuries-old bodies that were mutilated due to the fear of vampires. Most recently, two of these vampire skeletons were discovered by Bulgarian archaeologists.
The vampire skeletons were recently excavated near the Black Sea town of Sozopol. Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of Bulgaria’s National History Museum, was quoted as saying that corpses were regularly treated this way in some parts of the country even until the beginning of the 20th century.
This isn’t the first vampire discovery in Bulgaria, about 100 similar burials have been found throughout Bulgaria over the years and many more in other countries throughout Europe. Bulgarian archaeologist Petar Balabanov has found quite a few nailed-down skeletons near the eastern town of Debelt, at gravesites dating as far back as the 1st century.
On the recent discovery, “I do not know why an ordinary discovery like that became so popular,”Dimitrov was quoted. “Perhaps because of the mysteriousness of the word ‘vampire.'”
While these discoveries are fairly common, I find them fascinating every time I hear about them. For me, the lore and history behind vampires is significantly more impressive than any modern day tale, because these are the beliefs of real people that truly existed. Vampires were feared throughout the world and virtually every country has their own myths and legends. It’s incredible.