Vampire Graves Are a Thing

The Smithsonian reports that archeologists have discovered a 13th century grave containing a skeleton with a stake through its heart. Villagers, (must have been villagers it’s always the villagers) in a fit of “anti-vampire hysteria,” rammed the stake through an already dead person who was already buried.

Awesome skeleton-with-iron-stake pic after the jump:

People who died unusually—from suicide, for example—were sometimes staked to prevent them from coming back from the dead… iron stakes through the heart of a corpse could prevent it from returning from the grave as a vampire… vampire hysteria commonly took hold of Slavic villages, with corpse-stakings occurring frequently.

Romanians believed that if you had an arm or leg resembling an animal’s, or if you were missing a finger, or were just plain ugly, you were “one who is dead.” (That’s a stakin’.) Russians believed you had a “vampire nature” if you talked to yourself. (You better believe that’s a stakin’) In the Balkans, people carried out the stakings until just a century ago.

But good news! If you were born on a Saturday, you have the gift of vampire hunting! So please get over to the Balkans and the Slavic lands and do your job already!

Other sources: Archeology  The Telegraph  The Los Angeles Times

About taoreader

Writer and Editor. Pianist and singer. Feminist and proponent of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. I don't get it either. I wish I could have dinner with Marie Curie.
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14 Responses to Vampire Graves Are a Thing

  1. Russians believed you had a “vampire nature” if you talked to yourself.

    So I read this as “if you talked ABOUT yourself” and I wish that’s what it was because it would be hilarious.

    “God, Ivan is so annoying.”
    “I know! He never shuts up! We get it, dude, you’re cold and depressed. We’re Russian peasants! We’re ALL cold and depressed!”
    “Wouldn’t it be funny if, like, we convinced everyone he was a vampire, or something? Vampires have gotta be narcissists, right, with the blood-drinking and living forever? I don’t know; I guess that doesn’t really make sens–”
    “Let’s do it.”

  2. facetaco says:

    If you were born on a Saturday, you also totally ruined somebody’s weekend and were basically an asshole from the start.

  3. old man fatima says:

    So spooky!! When I was a kid I was terrified of vampires, because I got all the classic old country stories of basically creepy old men with long fingernails, and you need to find a Romanian priest to stake them and encase their tombs in cement or whatever. Romantic, brooding vampires who just want to love you make me so angry. Stop ruining my childhood! I loved being spooked by stuff!

  4. He looks like he’s saying “Seriously guys? You had to stake me? Way to kick a guy when he’s down.”

    • facetaco says:

      If he WAS saying that, maybe they were right to stake him?

    • taoreader says:

      He definitely looks like he was grasping that iron stake until the bitter end, though apparently he was staked well after death. But it was the 13th century, so maybe he was unconscious but not really dead? And then they staked him and he woke up and died, and the vampire hunters were like, “Okay. This doesn’t leave the room.”

      • old man fatima says:

        I love that people kept coming back to life and everyone was like “The Devil!!!” and not one single person said “Hey, maybe we should reevaluate how we determine if someone is dead or not? This kind of happens a lot, is all…”

        Actually, someone probably did, and was burned alive for heresy.

  5. Commentatrix says:

    As the resident Romanian around here, the real-life stories we learned in school were always way more horrifying than any vampiric legend.

    “Oh, you’re Romanian? So, do you believe Vlad the Impaler was a real vampire or what?”

    “Um, would that make him more terrifying than the fact that he IMPALED PEOPLE?”

    And he wasn’t even the only one! Medieval times were pretty much an endless parade of ever more creative torture/execution methods.

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