Diary of a Nerdette: Vampire Burials

Hey nerds. Apologies for not writing lately. Hopefully this will make up for my failings as a columnist. I realized I haven’t done anything archaeology related so for all you Indiana Jones lovers, I bet you’ll dig this. Yeah, I just said that, I couldn’t help myself :)

good ol' dirty archaeology

So long story short, It turns out that the whole brick shoved up the mouth thing is a form of exorcism used frequently during the plague. The body went through many decompositional changes which were witnessed by those having to reopen burial chambers when massive amounts of people were dying with the plague. You can read about it more in the article. It’s an incredibly interesting read, if you ask me.

“Reports of vampires in graves actually describe a corpse during decomposition. The rigor mortis would have disappeared. A phenomenon called epidermolysis would be visible, in which the epidermis loosens from the underlying dermis and the nails fall off, exposing the nail beds and giving the impression of new growth. At the same time, the corpse would be going through the putrefaction stage in which the abdomen gets bloated from the build-up of gases. The decay of the gastrointestinal tract contents and lining create a dark fluid called “purge fluid” that might flow freely from the nose and mouth and could easily be confused with the blood sucked by the vampire. And if a corpse was wrapped in a shroud, putrid gases and purge fluid flowing from the mouth would moisten the cloth so that it would sink into the mouth (which would open as the muscles relaxed after rigor mortis), where the fluids would break it down. So the legend that corpse could eat through its shroud is a real observation that was interpreted without the proper medical knowledge. “

~Samir S. Patel, Archaeology Magazine
Visit the entire article which is much more informative and articulate, :

  • http://twitter.com/olive_nerdette Olive

    I would just to make clear since this was edited and a big chunck was left out that obviously these archaeologists, nor I, actually think they are “real” vampires. Also why wouldn’t they just stake the lady “vampire” like the rest of them instead of shoving a brick in her mouth. Just sayin! That’s effed up. People a few hundred years ago were kind of….moronic…. and misogynistic I might add. le sighhhh