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Staked, 'vampire' graves discovered near Black Sea town

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 8th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Archaeologists have excavated two suspected "vampire" graves in the Black Sea town of Sokopol, Bulgaria. Each 700-year-old skeleton had an iron rod pinned into its chest. This reflected the customs and the times, when villagers feared that bad men had the power to rise from their graves.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Director of the National Museum of History in Sofia Bozhidar Dimitrov, says that the museum is planning a special exhibit around the two skeletons.

"Every few years we hear of the latest archaeological find, and its attribution to vampire-lore," a 33-year-old vampire researcher and the current administrator of Voices of the Vampire Community, who goes by the name "Merticus" says.

With the recent macabre finds, Sokopol, Bulgaria could soon join the ranks of popular vampire tourism sites, such as Dracula's Castle in Romania and the Vampire Museum in Paris.

Dimitrov said he did not understand why an "ordinary discovery" like this one became so popular. "Perhaps because of the mysteriousness of the word 'vampire,'" he said.

Much current vampire folklore originated in Slavic countries, explaining the high amount of burial instances in that region. "Having such a wide assortment of physical records is invaluable to researchers and enthusiasts," Merticus says. "The Bulgarian and Italian burial claims in the past couple of years add to the mystery and lure of the vampire across all cultures, even for real vampires.

"Real vampires," Merticus explains, "believe they must consume the blood of other living humans by consensual means in order to maintain their well-being."

Modern, self-proclaimed vampires say it's time to stop focusing on folklore.

"While exhibits are fascinating, I would like to see more responsible scientific interpretation and less knee-jerk 'put a vampire on it' claim, even if the Bulgarian burials are in fact directly linked to vampire lore. As a society we are rapidly approaching vampire overload - on all fronts."

According to the online dictionary, Wikipedia, vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person/being.

"Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures, and may go back to "prehistoric times", the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

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