a vampiress in venice ( tommaso braccini )

On august 2006 it was planned a dig in the ancient area of Lazzaretto Nuovo (new Cemetery for lepers).  Because of the peculiar meaning of the job, the Artistic Superintendence of Venice had awarded the contract an anthropologist-archeologist as authority in the field of the analysis of body injured in criminal acts et similia. He collaborated also with the Italian police.

The area of cemetery under investigation (sixteen square meters) was literally full of old skeletons. Of course, this fact it is usual if you dig an ancient cemetery.

The archeological team discovered two layers in the soil : the upper layer was dated about 1630 contagion of leprosy (the same contagion narrated by Alessando Manzoni in the historical novel ‘ The Betrothed ‘) ; in the cemetery were found ancient things belonging to the ancient people lived in Venice.

In the second layer the archeologists found several skeletons belonging to human beings died in a previous plague (1576). Then the diggers found a skeleton named ID6 who was only with the upper part of the body (without legs and also without pelvis). The skeleton was moved by the tomb and the archeologist supposed that the body was cut because the was few space in the cemetery.

The surprising fact it was that a brick was put in the mouth of the died human being : the corpse had a brick in the open mouth and he was the only skeleton having this peculiarity. No other brick, the only was in the mouth of ID6.

That brick was put in the mouth of the human being quickly after his or her death , said the anthropologist detective. The skeleton belonged a woman ( one meter and fifty centimeters tall, aged between 60 – 70 years). Looking the cranium it seems of an european woman , in her neck there were some grains of a rosary hence she seems that she was a Venetian woman.

ID6 supposed to be a body of a worker; for long time the brick in the mouth remained a mistery. A possible solution of the problem was the ” Nachzehrer ” or the Cruncher. Typically a Nachzehrer is recognized as a vampire. In the Dissertatio historico-philosophica de masticatione mortuorum (1679) it is supported the opinion that the died by contagion of plague have crunched their teeth against the veil that wraps their body after death. Like pigs in the trough they make a sound named sonus porcinus (sound like a pig grunts) with the teeth on the shroud.

These grunts was supposed to be the cause of the plague; behind this behavior it was the devil who wishes to terrorize the living men. If you stop the gnawing the consequence was the stopping of the plague of pestilence. A brick or a stone or a iron coin or a bunch of terrain into the mouth of the died is a means to stop the danger caused by the grunts.

This solution of the enigma was also described in the ancient textbook of the Inquisition, ‘One of us, an inquisitor, found a city almost empty of inhabitants because along the streets was a woman dressed with a shround making grunts while she was eating her veil that wrapped her body after death. Until she finished eating the veil it happens that the pestilence will be in the city. Then the bishop had ordered to exhume the corpse and the bishop with a blade cutted the head from the corpse of the woman. The result of this decapitation was the ending of the plague.’

According to inquisitors the Nachzehrer ID6 was buried in the venetian cemetery with a brick in the mouth because the woman was presumed to be a witch like that described by the inquisitors. The feminine vampire of Venice has now an answer.’ 

 

 


also read the sitography:
http://bioarchaeology-palaeopathology.blogspot.it/


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(text  abridged and translated by rinaldo rasa from tommaso braccini archaeology of vampires, 2011)

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Thursday  March 30 2017


 

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2 thoughts on “a vampiress in venice ( tommaso braccini )

  1. It is now thought that tuberculosis gave rise to the idea of vampires. The victims of TB often look pale and drained, growing gradually weaker (as if vampires were drinking their blood). There were no pathologists, so little was known about the appearance of the dead. When supposed vampires were unearthed, they often looked surprisingly lifelike to lay people. The flesh pulls back from the teeth as the body decays, making corpses look as if they are baring their teeth. If pressure is applied to the chest cavity of a corpse while the vocal chords remain intact, a sound may result. Still pretty spooky.

    Liked by 1 person

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