‘Vampire’ skeleton found in Venice

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An Italian archaeologist excavating a 16th century mass grave of plague victims in Venice claims to have found the skeletal remains of a “vampire.”

According to the New Scientist magazine, Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence found the skeleton of a woman with a brick in her mouth on Lazzaretto Nuovo Island.

In those times, many people believed that the epidemic was spread by “vampires” which, rather than drinking people’s blood, spread disease by chewing on their shrouds after dying. Objects were placed in the mouths of suspected “bloodsuckers” to ensure they can no longer feed, Borrini says.

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According to Borrini, his excavation shows the earliest “exorcism evidence against vampires,” but Peer Moore-Jansen of Wichita State University in Kansas says he has found similar skeletons in Poland and says “claiming it as the first vampire is a little ridiculous”.

[Images via New Scientist]