It’s a strange new world. Gone are the days where come midnight, a pale-faced, vampire, dressed to the nines in a dashing tuxedo, slowly creaks his way out of an upright trapezoidal coffin, in search of his next living victim. Nowadays, thanks to Hollywood gone wild, the vampire might be sitting next to you in math class or may even be working in the cubicle next to you. One thing for sure, he’s probably not wearing a dinner jacket. Vampires, at least in the last hundred years or so, still have enjoyed a rather classy and sexy image, even though he continues to be rebooted, upgraded and perpetually made over. The ultimate bad boy, the vampire offers the allure of eternal life and a form of twisted romance that goes along with that endless longevity. The cost? Just earthly mortal existence as one knows it--and the small problem of surviving on a blood only diet, meaning of course that cheeseburgers and fries will no longer cut it.
It wasn’t always this glossy out there in vampire land. In fact, back in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there was nothing sexy or charismatic about the vampire at all. Superstitious beyond belief, ancient people that lived during this time period came up with some pretty perplexing, not to mention wild-eyed stories and far-fetched reasons to explain away the mysterious things that happened around town just because, quite frankly, they didn’t understand what was happening. Having no real knowledge of or the slightest inkling about disease, illness or what might actually cause a sudden and unexpected death of a person or animal, these mysterious deaths were often explained away by blaming it on the existence of a vampire-like being coming to life in the darkness, just to suck the lifeblood out of the living. In fact, rumors and stories regarding vampires were so prevalent during this time period that many villages were experiencing full-blown vampire hysteria.
Fearing the worst, it was not uncommon in many villages to exhume the bodies of these suspected vampires and then re-kill the corpses in a way that (at least in their minds) would ensure that they stayed good and dead-permanently this time. There were many methodologies that were utilized to ensure that the vampires stayed deceased--including the legendary good ol’ stake through the heart technique. There were other ways of permanently killing off a vampire, however, and there is modern evidence being unearthed today to show us just how serious our ancient predecessors were about keeping their dead, dead.
Recently in Poland, construction workers unearthed four bodies that had been buried thousands of years ago under astonishing and somewhat creepy circumstances. The bones were found with the heads removed and placed either in their hands or between their legs. Some of the skulls were weighted down with heavy stones. Buried with no clothing or jewelry, the bodies also held evidence that they had been pierced sharply through with a pointed stake. Archaeologists believe that these individuals, in order to have been buried in this way, were obviously thought to have been vampires. Soon after this graphic find, thirteen more skeletons buried similarly were found nearby. Interestingly, the bodies were discovered in proximity to where an ancient gallows or execution site had once been located. Oh if graves could talk! Well, in a way, this gravesite is speaking volumes and bringing to our modern day some of the ancient, not to mention macabre superstition that was part of every day life so very long ago.
The legend of vampires: Is it truth or fiction? Hard evidence like this vampire cemetery proves without a doubt that whether real vampires ever actually existed or not, there were certainly plenty of folks out there that thought they did.