The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

'A Vampire Graveyard in Northern Europe?'

That's not my headline. That's German magazine Spiegel's. The article is a fascinating look at the number of bodies found of prehistoric people in moors. It focuses on Northern Europe, but it includes a map in the photo gallery of bodies discovered throughout Europe, including Red Franz, photographed here on the left (hope the image didn't cause any one to do a spit take on his or her computer...ah, who am I kidding, I hope you did!). But the article really is a must read.

A 2,600-year-old corpse has been discovered in the moors of northern Germany. It's not the only one. Such finds are frequent, but have posed an increasingly large riddle: Why were so many of the bodies victims of violence and dismemberment? snip The corpse found in the bogs is that of a teenage girl, between 16 and 19 years old -- and with perfect teeth. According to the radiocarbon dating method, the corpse is from 650 B.C., meaning she was likely part of an early Germanic tribe. But that wasn't immediately obvious. Because the well-preserved corpse was nude, the criminal investigation department concluded the girl had been the victim of a sex crime and sent the corpse to the forensic medicine department in Hamburg. But the forensic experts were unable to find any evidence of violence. The file was soon forgotten and began to gather dust. Only when peat-cutters -- working at the same location again in January 2005 --happened across more bones embedded in the moor did the officials begin questioning their earlier assessment. snip Did the woman commit suicide? Or was she fleeing from something? Perhaps she was just gathering birds' eggs. Metzler introduces another idea: He imagines that the woman may have been some sort of a witch who used herbs to practice her art and had ventured into the bogs to gather bilberries. The blue fruits have an intoxicating effect, and were used as a drug by the early Germanic tribes. But at this point, explanations are premature and nothing more than conjecture. snip Researchers believe that there was an irrational reason for this overkill. The "lewd" had violated taboos and the holy moral decency laws. They were considered impure and shameful, tainted by the stench of what was considered evil sexual passion (because it was forbidden). It was believed they would return to the world of the living to exact revenge. "The Germanic tribes were afraid of vampires," explains Hassmann. To render them harmless, they were ritually mutilated. Archeologist Michael Gebuehr, who will unveil a moor corpse exhibit titled "Paths into the Afterlife" in the northern German city of Schleswig this week, calls this superstition "fear of demons." According to Gebuehr, the wooden huts of the Germanic tribes were filled with tall tales and horror stories about living corpses, zombies and "Nachzehrern" -- demons that would plunge their teeth into the flesh of innocent sleepers at night.
Those are some of the highlights, but there's a lot more worth reading. Hat tip to Obscurious.


Blogger Cosmic said...

Hi Batboy, I just read this in the Guardian and immediately thought of you....

"In a country where plaster Madonnas weep blood, it is only to be expected that the supernatural should be on everyone's minds. But even miracle-hardened Italians have been taken aback by the affair of the medium and the body in the lake."

Here's the linky,12576,1570196,00.html

Pea Ess: It's really nice to see you back in Dkos again. Cheers to you Carnacki.

9/14/2005 11:57:00 PM  

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