Lady 'Vampire' Skull Discovered in Venice -- and That’s Not the Shocking Part

skullsVampires and zombies, zombies and vampires. You got your vampire people, you got your zombie people, and never the twain shall meet. Right?

Wrong! Just ask the archaeologists who discovered the skull of a woman from the mid-17th century during a recent excavation in Venice, Italy.

Found in one of the mass graves used to bury the thousands of people who died from the plague, the woman's skull stood out from all the rest ... mostly because there was a large brick shoved into the mouth, forcing the jaw wide open into a ghoulish, centuries-old howl.

Odd choice of murder weapon, but whatever, you might be thinking. But no! This woman bit the dust before she bit the brick.

Though the person who put that brick there certainly didn't think she was dead at the time.

They most likely believed her to be undead: A Shroud Eater!

Also known as "The Chewing Dead," Shroud Eaters were a type of vampire known for their ability to inflict death and disease without rising from their graves -- by merely chewing on their burial garments.

See?! Like vampire/zombie hybrids! Two great tastes that taste great together! You got zombie on my vampire. You got vampire on my zombie!

Apparently Shroud Eaters weren't unique to Venice, either. The myth of The Chewing Dead (much like the plague itself) spread all over Europe. How to identify and destroy the creatures was considered practical knowledge. If you lived in black plague-era Poland, for example, and happened to see a corpse/cadaver with blood coming out of its mouth (something that naturally happens as a result of decomposition, by the way) or a chewed-through looking shroud, you'd grab the nearest brick or rock and shove it right in that zombie-pire's mouth. No more chewing for you!

Kind of like driving a wooden stake through a heart except ... yuckier. Because if that Shroud Eater were left to its own devices, it would eventually run out of shroud to chomp and move on to body parts -- its own and those of its corpse neighbors -- until at last it was strong enough to be a full-fledged vampire!

I don't know about you, but I can't believe these guys haven't gotten more play! Where's the HBO series? The best-selling books? The film franchise?

I'd be on that like red on blood!!

Do you think Shroud Eaters sound more like vampires or zombies?


Image via Joshua Veitch-Michaelis/Flickr

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ReiRe... ReiReally

No fangs, no saucy romance, no glitter, defiantly not vamp. That, my friend, is all zombie.

Robin Hilliker

to both previouse posters go read  bram stoker's dracula  it is the first and origenal vamipre noval also vampires do not sparkle that's fairys

jagam... jagamama0710

I have read Dracula, Robin. 

jagam... jagamama0710

I also want to point out that while it may be the first vampire novel, Bram Stoker does not "own" the concept. There are various portrayals of vampires and people are free to like whichever ones they want, or even all of them - like I do. 


Maranda Vilsack

Completely agree with jagamama0710 on this one. I've read a ton of vampire books and enjoy all the different 'realities' people are able to create based on them. There are a million vamp legends and not all that many are like Bram Stoker's vamps. There aren't many legends that use garlic to ward off vamps, in fact a lot use wild roses and hawthorn plants as a deterrent. Actually I would like to suggest the 2006 movie 'Stay Alive'. It's actually about a cursed murderous video game ...... but ........ the video game is based on  Countess Elizabeth Bathory  (the REAL original vampire. the woman many modern legends are based on) and all the ways to defeat her are by using items to kill vampires from old legends. Check out the 2009 movie The Countess or the 1971 version Countess Dracula. 

Okay, shit. I'm done with the random vampiric lessons. Obviously I am passionate about my vamps. Sparkly or not. xoxo

jagam... jagamama0710

Maranda - Oh yeah! She was the one who bathed in blood wasn't she? That had popped up in my mind but I didn't know if I was imagining that or it was something unrelated so I didn't mention it. Thanks for the vamp lesson! It was interesting! ;) I didn't know about the wild roses.

I gotta say...I'm so sad that the Buffy-verse is so rarely mentioned when people talk about vampires. That is one of my favorite shows of all time (the movie not so much). You've got sexy vamps (James Marsters....oh Spike) and you've got the gross evil ones. Plus their faces change from normal to scrunchy-vamp face. Fantastic. Granted it did have numerous other monsters, not completely vampire centered.

Dani Kinyon

i wouldnt say Countess Elizabeth Bathory is the original, ever heard of Lilith, Adams First wife, she was said to be the first vampire, or actually the mother of all vampires and or creatures of the night. not saying i know any of that to be anything more the folk lores, just meaning that everyone has heard different folk lores about plenty of different people being the first or original vampire. I my myself really do love the idea of Lilith and Elizabeth Bathory is a favorite of mine too. Im pretty much a die hard vampire fan i even like twilight(the books not the movies)

Dani Kinyon

@ Maranda i do agree on one thing and i should have mentioned this when it comes to people who without a doubt actually existed then i do say Elizabeth Bathory takes the cakes for being the original so i guess i really do agree with you lol :)


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