Bon Jovi moment: “Stake through the heart! And you’re to blame! You give vampires…a Bad name!!”

Something like that right? I had to modify the lyrics slightly to reflect the recent discovery of a vampire grave in Bulgaria as documented in this revealing article that sheds light on the whole vampire myth. Stuff like vampires as we know them didn’t exist until after Bram Stoker. The whole idea of undead bloodsuckers came about during the Black Death, in which bodies were buried in mass quantities and re-opened to throw in more dead guys. Of course, at that point, the bodies were decaying somethin harsh. Their hair appeared to still be growing and their teeth would protrude through a shroud covering their face, with blood coming from the corners of their mouth.

Kinda like a vampire. Only, like, not Dracula. So our medieval heroes did what any one of us would do and killed these beastly suckers with a stake through the heart and a stone covering their mouth. And as a final act of general debauchery, iron rods through their chest to prevent their undead from gettin up and doing vampire stuff.

All before Bran Stoker.

Archeologist Peter Balabonov unearthed six similar vampire corpses in 2004 near the Bulgarian town of Debelt. And the whole nailing the corpse down routine was practiced in Serbia and across the Balkans. Though surprisingly, no word on if our fearless vampire killers did their slaying in neighboring Romania – home of you know who.

The character of Dracula was based on Vlad Tepes, of course, the real life creepy dude with a penchant for…well I’m about to have dinner so I won’t go there, but I will say that there really is a Dracula’s castle, at Poienari. It’s not Bran Castle.

None the less, the vampire myth remains strong in Romania/Bulgaria/the Balkans, and based on these recent discoveries, the whole area makes a great travel destination for ghouls, goblins, vampire freaks and those with a morbid curiosity in stuff of the undead variety.