Bulgaria puts "vampire" skeleton on display

SOFIA Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:38am IST

1 of 4. National History Museum head Bozhidar Dimitrov (R) speaks to the media near a skeleton pierced with a piece of iron during a media event at the National History Museum in Sofia June 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stoyan Nenov

Related Topics

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's history museum plans to display a "vampire" skeleton next week after unearthing the 700-year-old remains of two men stabbed through the chest with iron rods.

Archaeologists, excavating a monastery near the Black Sea city of Sozopol, discovered the skeletons which were buried in a pagan ritual that they said was aimed at keeping the men from turning into vampires.

"This was a pagan belief widespread in the Bulgarian lands in the 12th to 14th centuries. People were very superstitious then," National History Museum head Bozhidar Dimitrov said.

"Throughout the country we have found over 100 such 'vampire' burials of mainly noblemen from the Middle Ages who were branded bloodsucking immortals."

Dimitrov explained that these people were considered bad during their lifetime and according to pagan beliefs could become vampires after death and continue to torment the living.

"That's why they were often pierced with rods, wooden or metal," he said.

The Balkan country, which remained pagan until it embraced Christianity in the ninth century, borders Romania -- birthplace of the 15th century ruler often associated with the popular fictional character upon which Dracula is based.

Romania's notorious 15th century ruler Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler was no vampire, but his cruelty and name inspired the fictional Dracula created by novelist Bram Stoker.

The finds in Bulgaria have sparked interest from vampire enthusiasts all over the world and the small Balkan country may seek to capitalize on its pagan heritage.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova, editing by Paul Casciato)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Celeb Buzz

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Latin Grammys

Latin Grammys

U.S. politics takes center stage at Latin Grammys.  Full Article 

King's 'Revival'

King's 'Revival'

Stephen King's 'Revival' debuts at No. 1 on U.S. best-seller list.  Full Article 

Book Talk

Book Talk

Ten years on, Chetan Bhagat prepared to face critics  Full Article 

Trip Tips

Trip Tips

Hungary, where goose is king - and eaten - for a month.  Full Article 

Bill Cosby's shows

Bill Cosby's shows

Cosby comedy gigs to go on in midst of swirling allegations.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage