This caught my eye while surfing the net, Weird Stroy but Hey Enjoy....
The skeleton of a 16th century female "vampire" has been unearthed from a graveyard in Venice, Italy. Archaeologists say the woman was believed by her peers to be a vampire because she was buried with a brick stuck between her jaws.
The Associated Press reports that the unusual burial is thought to be the result of an ancient vampire-slaying ritual. In 1576, Venice was hit with an epidemic of plague. Since medieval people did not understand how disease was spread, they often blamed cases of plague on the mythical bloodsucking creatures. "Vampires don't exist, but studies show people at the time believed they did," said Matteo Borrini, a forensic archaeologist and anthropologist at Florence University. "For the first time we have found evidence of an exorcism against a vampire."
The skeleton, which is very well preserved, was found in 2006 along with other corpses buried in a mass grave during the plague epidemic in Venice on the island of Lazzaretto Nuovo. Archaeologists have been studying the skeleton for two years. Borrini told AP that medieval texts show the belief in vampires was fueled by the disturbing appearance of decomposing bodies, which were seen when mass graves were reopened to bury fresh corpses. The gravediggers would see older bodies that were not only bloated with blood seeping out of the mouth, but also had an inexplicable hole in the shroud that was used to cover the face. "These characteristics are all tied to the decomposition of bodies," Borrini explained to AP. "But they saw a fat, dead person, full of blood and with a hole in the shroud, so they would say: 'This guy is alive, he's drinking blood and eating his shroud.'"
Now we know that the bloating is caused by a buildup of gases, and fluid seeps from the mouth as it is pushed up by decomposing organs. Bacteria would have consumed the shroud around the mouth area, leaving a hole. But in the 16th century, those who were found with a hole in the shroud--called "shroud-eaters"--were thought to be vampires who fed on the cloth and then cast a spell that would spread the plague so the vampire ranks would be increased. Lore at the time held that the only way to kill a vampire was to force a stone or brick in the corpse's mouth so it would starve to death. And this is what Borrini thinks happened to the woman in the grave, who died of plague at around the age of 60. She was identified as a vampire long after her death when the grave was reopened and either a gravedigger or priest jammed the brick into her mouth. Such superstitions were the only way people then could explain the plague epidemics that killed millions in the Middle Ages.
Hollywood transformed vampires into elegant, blood-sucking creatures. "The real vampire of tradition was different," Borrini told AP. "It was just a decomposing body.