As zombie fever sweeps across North America, vampire mania is brewing in Eastern Europe. The LA Times is reporting that the discovery of a 700-year-old skeleton, with its chest punctured by a metal stake, has visitors flocking to the Bulgarian town of Sozopol. Increased tourism and interest from occult groups has prompted authorities to move the remains to a special display case at the Natural History Museum in the nation’s capital, Sofia.
Archaeologist and museum director Bozhidar Dimitrov says approximately 100 impaled skeletons have been discovered during modern-day archaeological excavations. "A group of brave men would reopen their graves and pierce the corpses with iron or wooden rods. Iron rod was used for the richer vampires."
Anti-vampirism funeral rituals are still practiced in Bulgaria according to ethnologist and “vampirologist”, Rachko Popov. Local folklore has perpetuated the myth that vampires are elderly or deformed individuals who feed on the blood of livestock, but can also attack humans. It’s believed they fear water, and entire villages in Bulgaria’s mountainous south-eastern region have actually relocated to opposite rivers banks for protection. Some funeral customs in Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania even include the planting of garlic.
The mayor of Sozopol, Panaiot Reizi, hopes "The archaeological finds will have a positive effect on tourism." But what he's failed to account for is the swarm of teenage Twilight fanatics who will inevitably descend upon his sleepy resort town. That's the most terrifying prospect of all.