Archeologists uncover latest skeletons that fell victim to pagan ritual
A piece of iron was found next to skeleton dating back in the Middle Ages at this archeological site in Bulgaria.
Has the zombie apocalypse spread to Bulgaria?
Not quite, experts say, though archeologists there have uncovered two “vampire” skeletons from the Middle Ages, given that term because they were gored through the heart by iron stakes to prevent them from rising from the dead.
"These skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice which was common in some Bulgarian villages up until the first decade of the 20th century," Bozhidar Dimitrov, chief of the National History Museum in Sofia, told reporters, according to Discovery News.
The pagan ritual entailed stabbing people thought to be “bad” after they died, out of a fear they would return in a vampire state to suck blood from the the living, according to the BBC.
The belief was that by putting a rod through a dead body's heart and a stone in its mouth, the corpse would be kept in its grave and prevented from rising up to attack the living, Dimitrov explained.
Apparently the vampire legend sprouted from people's fear of the massive amounts of decomposing bodies around them in the wake of the plagues in Europe between 1300 and 1700, Discovery News reported. Gravediggers regularly encountered bodies whose changing shapes during the decomposition process made it seem as though they were still alive.
While the subject of zombies has become a hot topic in America in recent weeks due to a rash of grisly crimes, Dimitrov said the so-called vampire skeletons are nothing new in Bulgaria, where roughly 100 of them have already been discovered.
Peter Balabanov, an archeologist who found six of these skeletons in 2004 in Bulgaria, said the creepy ritual was also practiced in Serbia and other nearby countries, according to the BBC.
The latest two were found in the Bulgarian town of Sozopol.
"I do not know why an ordinary discovery like that [has] became so popular," he said, according to Fox News. "Perhaps because of the mysteriousness of the word 'vampire.' "
Source: NY Daily News