SOFIA, Bulgaria – Ever since archaeologists announced last week that they have found two ancient skeletons in Bulgaria with iron rods thrust through their chests, the media have been reporting how Bulgarians once did that to prevent the dead from emerging from the grave as vampires.
On Saturday, one of those 700-year-old skeletons will be put on display at the National History Museum in Sofia, and its director, Bozhidar Dimitrov, says he expects there to be a big turnout.
'These two skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice common up until the first decade of the 20th century.'
- National history museum chief Bozhidar Dimitrov
Dimitrov said Thursday that some people who were believed to have led evil lives were treated that way when they were buried in parts of Bulgaria as recently as the beginning of the last century.
The media have reported that because vampire tales remain popular in Balkan countries such as Bulgaria some people in the Black Sea resort of Sozopol, where the skeletons were found in a graveyard, are having trouble sleeping at night.
According to Dimitrov, over 100 corpses stabbed to prevent them from becoming vampires have been discovered across Bulgaria over the years.
"I do not know why an ordinary discovery like that [has] became so popular. Perhaps because of the mysteriousness of the word "vampire," he said.