'Vampire' skeleton with spikes discovered in Britain

LONDON: We all acknowledge Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' as a work of fiction but recent findings tend to point to the existence of this spooky creature.

In one such discovery, a skeleton dating from 550-700 AD has been uncovered in Britain with metal spikes pierced through its shoulders, heart and ankles.

The skeleton was found buried in the ancient minster town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, the Daily Mail reported.

It is believed to be 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 UK.

The skeleton was found by archaeologist Charles Daniels during the original investigation of the site in Church Street in the town, which revealed Roman remains.

Matthew Beresford, of Southwell Archaeology, details the discovery in a report.

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

"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," the paper quoted Beresford as saying in his report.

"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 societies rules: adulterers, disrupters of the peace, the unpious or oath breaker.

"Which of these the Southwell deviant was we will never know," he stated.

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

John Lock, chairman of Southwell Archaeology, said the body was one of a handful of such burials to be found in the UK.

"A lot of people are interested in it but quite where it takes us I don't know because this was found in the 1950s and now we don't know where the remains are," he said.

Vampire skeleton unearthed in Bulgaria too

Archaeologists, excavating a monastery near the Black Sea city of Sozopol, discovered the skeletons which were buried in a pagan ritual that they said was aimed at keeping the men from turning into vampires.

700-year-old remains of two men stabbed through the chest with iron rods were unearthed in Black Sea city of Sozopol.

"This was a pagan belief widespread in the Bulgarian lands in the 12th to 14th centuries. People were very superstitious then," National History Museum head Bozhidar Dimitrov said.

"Throughout the country we have found over 100 such 'vampire' burials of mainly noblemen from the Middle Ages who were branded bloodsucking immortals."