Last month I wrote about the discovery of a skeleton in Bulgaria that had been “staked” with an iron rod: an indication that people thought this was a vampire, or might become one. The skeleton is at least 700 years old, which places it long before Dracula and most modern vampire lore.
Now it turns out that not only had the skeleton been staked, but his teeth had been pulled out! It’s unclear whether people of the period did this to prevent corpses from returning as vampires, or as a way of dealing with suspected vampires. Our understanding of folk culture could allow for either interpretation.
After the story made headlines, the head of Bulgaria’s Natural History Museum admitted this kind of burial was not all unusual, claiming at least 100 other remains had been uncovered in a similar condition. In fact, many cultures have similar practices to prevent the dead from returning to life, some going back thousands of years.