Vampire Discovered in Italy

Last year, archaeologists and news crews were all in a flutter over the discovery of a vampire grave in Venice, Italy.  What I find surprising is that I am still hearing people talk about this amazing historical find so long after the discovery.

Last year Italian researchers found the remains of a female “vampire” in Venice; she was buried with a brick jammed between her jaws to prevent her from feeding on her grave shroud, or on others. In the 16th century a plague had spread through the area and people at the time took all precautions.

If you are a long time reader of ours and have read the vampire folklore posts then you know that a common belief back in the day was that not only did some vampires feed on blood, but that they also spread the plague. At the time villagers took all sorts of precautions to keep vampires from terrorizing them; some involved putting a brick in a corpse’s mouth, hammering nails into various body parts, placing stakes in the grave and many many more.

Matteo Borrini, an anthropologist from the University of Florence, said the discovery of the vampire woman was on the small island of Lazzaretto Nuovo in the Venice lagoon supported the medieval belief that vampires were behind the spread of plagues like the Black Death.

“This is the first time that archaeology has succeeded in reconstructing the ritual of exorcism of a vampire,” Borrini told Reuters by telephone. “This helps … authenticate how the myth of vampires was born.”

The vampire was unearthed in a mass grave from the Venetian plague of 1576. The plagues devastated Europe between 1300 and 1700. Due to the lack of knowledge on decomposing corpses at the time, the people held onto the belief that corpses were becoming vampires and spreading the plague.

Gravediggers reopening mass graves would sometimes come across bodies with hair still growing, bloated by gas, and blood oozing from their mouths and believe them to be alive, or undead.  The shrouds used to cover the faces of the dead were often decayed by bacteria in the mouth, revealing the corpse’s teeth, and vampires became known as “shroud-eaters.”

According to medieval medical and religious texts, they believed that vampires spread disease in order to suck the remaining life from corpses until they acquired the strength to walk again.

“To kill the vampire you had to remove the shroud from its mouth, which was its food like the milk of a child, and put something uneatable in there,” said Borrini. “It’s possible that other corpses have been found with bricks in their mouths, but this is the first time the ritual has been recognized.”

This was quite an influential discovery for not only archeologists but also for vampire fans. I find it fascination how the many vampire myths and legends are born, from rabies to this. It’s incredible.

– Moonlight

By Moonlight

Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).


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  2. In a very recent Archaeological dig in Albany NY, uncovering bodies buried at an Almshouse, we found a corpse bound AND staked!! Perhaps people still believed in vampires only 100 years ago. Well, I don’t think people were ever that superstitious or naive as to believe in something that didn’t really exist, if only to misguidedly go after innocent corpses.

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  4. ok im not one to blieve in supernatural but i think if you look into the Proserpine old files of dental clinic public they have a tooth with a flap covering the hole.
    the closest thing to vampire.

  5. you could also try the chermside hospital public in qld, australia, they took pictures of fluffy light bulbs from a persons belly they were found very aneamic. you can get the pictures by applying to see the copies from the hospital records apply to the hospital for the records of donna lee leon they will let you see them might take time but….

  6. also check the news papers from old papers in melbourne victoria, australia, they have news footage of witnesses seeing a dark angel with supernatural
    the place was victoria parade in the 60,s
    very unusual for people to scream hell over a child little girl
    might b worth your truble to look into news paper articles are free and kept its still in the old papers people have seen the news article on it
    also cops were called on the child and guards were put up while she was around
    when she was around they were padlocked no one could get in to the hospital on victoria parade

    check it out if you like

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