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‘Vampire’ skeletons unearthed in Bulgaria

Arhaeologists in Bulgaria unearthed two skeletons from the Middle Ages pierced through the chest with iron rods to keep them from turning into vampires.

People believed the rod also would pin the dead into their graves to prevent them from leaving at midnight and terrorizing the living, the historian explained.

The practice was common, Dimitrov added, saying that some 100 similar burials already had been found in Bulgaria.

Archaeologist Petar Balabanov, who in 2004 unearthed six nailed-down skeletons at a site near the eastern town of Debelt, said the pagan rite also was practiced in neighbouring Serbia and other Balkan countries.

Vampire legends are widespread across the Balkans. The most famous is that of Romanian count Vlad the Impaler, known as Dracula, who staked his war enemies and drank their blood.