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Are These 19th-Century Remains an American Vampire?

Archaeologists have dug up remains the remains of an American from the 19th century that they are identifying as a “vampire.”

Vampire lore goes back centuries. But it came to most prominence after Bram Stoker wrote his novel “Dracula,” which was rooted in history based upon bloodthirsty ruler named Vlad the Impaler in the 15th century. Now, is it possible that vampires also existed in early America?

Bones buried in an odd manner

Archaeologists dug up the bones of a 19th century male in Connecticut they identified as “JB-55.” But what was most intriguing about this burial – isn’t when they were buried – but how.

This burial was first mentioned in a study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology after archaeologists discovered the grave in 1990.

Reburied as a “vampire”

From the evidence unearthed, archaeologists have determined that, after the man had died, he had been dug up, then reburied with his head and limbs placed on top of his rib cage. His bones were arranged in a skull and crossbones pattern. The archaeologists said such an arrangement of bones was a familiar pattern that was used in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There was a very distinct reason for doing arranging the bones in this specific pattern: This is how people in those centuries indicated that someone was suspected of being a vampire.

“Upon opening the grave, the skull and femora were found in a ‘skull and crossbones’ orientation on top of the ribs and vertabrae, which were also found in disarray,” the authors of the study wrote.

“We believe that he was rearranged in the grave because he was believed to be undead,” Connecticut state archaeologist Nicholas Bellantoni said.

Bones identified

“On the coffin lid, an arrangement of tacks spelled the initials ‘JB-55’, presumably the initials and age at death of this individual,” the study authors wrote.

This is how the bones initially came to be identified only by ‘JB-55,’ as the true identity of the person associated with them was not yet known.

But now, the bones have now been connected to a man identified as John Barber. The archaeologists reached this conclusion after researching local genealogical databases to help identify the man. According to what researchers learned, Barber was likely a poor farmer and it is believed he died from tuberculosis.