'Vampire' skeletons dug up in Bulgaria

Archaeologists have unearthed two skeletons from the Middle Ages pierced through the chest with iron rods to keep them from turning into vampires. (AFP)

Archaeologists have unearthed two skeletons from the Middle Ages pierced through the chest with iron rods to keep them from turning into vampires. (AFP)

“These two skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice which was common in some Bulgarian villages up until the first decade of the 20th century,” said national history museum chief Bozhidar Dimitrov after the recent find in the Black Sea town of Sozopol.

According to pagan beliefs, people who were considered bad during their lifetimes might turn into vampires after death unless stabbed in the chest with an iron or wooden rod before being buried.

People believed the rod would also pin them down in their graves to prevent them from leaving at midnight and terrorising the living, the historian explained.

The practice was common, Dimitrov added, saying some 100 similar burials had already been found in Bulgaria. – AFP

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