Did you believe those Count Dracula stories as a kid?
Well, archaeologists in Bulgaria have uncovered two medieval "vampire" skeletons near a monastery in the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Sozopol. Upon discovery, the skeletons were found to have iron rods pierced through their chests, which authorities believe were used in exorcisms against vampires in the Middle Ages.
800 years ago deceased often underwent this ritual to prevent potential enemies who died suddenly from a strange illness, from turning into vampires after death.
"The practice 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.
Apparently, over 100 skeletons have been found in the same way in Bulgaria alone.
Discovery News reports:
The vampire legend originated from the disturbing appearance of decomposing bodies that had succumbed to the plagues that ravaged Europe between 1300 and 1700. During those epidemics, mass graves were often reopened to bury fresh corpses and gravediggers would stumble into bodies that were bloated by gas. Featuring a hole in the shroud used to cover their faces, these bodies showed individuals with their hair still growing, their teeth appearing through the shroud, and blood seeping out of their mouths.