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Rare vampire skeleton discovered in United Kingdom

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 5th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

While purported "vampire skeletons" - the remains of those who were suspected of being the mythical night roaming blood suckers of yore during the Dark Ages, turn up regularly in Eastern Europe, they rarely appear in the United Kingdom. Archeologists have since found one in the ancient minster town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vampires today are the stuff of romantic fantasy, as witness the popularity of the "Twilight" book and movie series. This wasn't the case in the Middle Ages, where the creatures were genuinely feared among those in ancient villages.

Those in the Middle Ages took these phantoms very seriously, and took extreme measures against anyone suspected of being able to haunt them in the afterlife.

The discovery of a skeleton, dating from 550-700 A.D., are from a third grave unearthed in central Bulgaria linked to the ritual, which was also apparently practiced in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

The recent find is termed a "deviant burial," where people considered the "dangerous dead," such as vampires, were interred to prevent them rising from their graves to plague the living.

Only a handful of such burials have been unearthed in the U.K. The skeleton was found by archaeologist Charles Daniels during the original investigation of the site in Church Street in the town 1959, which revealed Roman remains.

Beresford said when Daniels found the skeleton he -jokingly, checked for fangs.

"In the 1950s the Hammer Horror films were popular and so people had seen Christopher Lee's 'Dracula' so it would have been quite relevant," Beresford says.

"The classic portrayal of the dangerous dead (more commonly known today as a vampire) is an undead corpse arising from the grave and all the accounts from this period reflect this.

"Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period the punishment of being buried in water-logged ground, face down, decapitated, staked or otherwise was reserved for thieves, murderers or traitors or later for those deviants who did not conform to society's rules: adulterers, disrupters of the peace, the un-pious or oath breaker.

"Which of these the Southwell deviant was we will never know," Beresford says.

Beresford believes the remains may still be buried on the site where they originally lay, as Daniels was unable to remove the body from the ground.

"If you look at it in a spooky way you still have the potential for it to rise at some point."

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