Moving pictures or movies as it is called for short, were made by entrepreneurs to entertain the people for a profit. It became a powerful media to convey the masses into a different world, away from the reality of daily life. Towards the 1930's, it morphed into one of the best propaganda tools by governments to sway and instill ideas to its citizens. Ask yourself this question the next time in the movies, either it was made for propaganda or entertainment?............AMOR PATRIAE
OLD WAR MOVIES
OLD WAR MOVIES
...The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power and the growth of corporate propaganda against democracy.
Monday, March 19, 2018
CONSPIRACY THEORISTS GO NUTS OVER PICTURES THAT SUGGEST PUTIN HASN’T CHANGED HIS APPEARANCE IN 100 YEARS
Photos taken in 1920 and 1941 show two men that look remarkably similar to Russian president Vladimir Putin
This has led some to speculate on social media that he is immortal and can time travel
Others believe Putin may have sat for Da Vinci when he painted the Mona Lisa, and lived as Vlad the Impaler
None of these above claims have been scientifically proven in any way
A photograph from almost 100 years ago has some on social media convinced that Russian leader Valdimir Putin is immortal.
The picture, taken in 1920, shows a Russian solider who has an uncanny resemblance to the country’s current leader.
What’s more, another photo taken of a Russian solider in 1941 also looks just like Putin and the man who was pictured 20 years prior.
Some think this is definitive proof that Putin is much more than a 63-year-old workout buff with a penchant for riding horses shirtless.
These people instead believe he is a mythical creature who is ageless and can time travel.
Twins: Photos taken in 1920 and 1941 show two men the look remarkably similar to Russian president Vladimir Putin
‘On social networks are circulating pictures from 1920. and in 1941. for which some people claim that they are pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
‘In fact, supporters of the thesis that Putin is almighty and immortal, have launched a story that their president is a mythical creature that resides on our planet for hundreds, if not thousands of years.’
Some also believe that Putin is Vlad the Impaler, who was born in 1431 and is better known as Dracula.
There is also proof, as supplied by Buzzfeed this past June, that Putin also briefly lived as Lisa Gherardini, the subject of the Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting.
Given she was painted in the early 1500s, Putin perhaps decided to go undercover after living out his life as Vlad the Impaler.
Or he may have just traveled back in time and posed for the painting.
None of these above claims have been scientifically proven in any way with the exception of the fact that Putin is in fact a 63-year-old man who runs Russia and enjoys a good shirtless horse ride.
Human remains have been collected at the bottom of the cliff and re-buried
Residents in Whitby terrified more of the cliff face is about to collapse
Bram Stoker used the cemetery for backdrop to Dracula horror scenes
The novelist visited the North Yorkshire town in the 1890s
It is the eerie old church that featured in Bram Stoker’s gothic novel Dracula.
Now St Mary’s in Whitby has become the scene of real horror after human bones began to emerge from their centuries-old graves.
The grisly discovery was made when the church cemetery, which dates to 1110AD, began to subside and fall down the cliff last month following heavy rain.
Grave danger: Human bones have crumbled off the side of the cliff where St Mary’s Church, in Whitby, stands
Ruin: It is feared the legendary St Mary’s Church in Whitby could fall if the cliff face crumbles away
Many of the ancient graves were exposed – and among the debris tumbling on to the buildings below were a number of human bones, thought to be at least a century old.
Stoker was inspired to use the cemetery – which has been closed to the public since 1865 – as the backdrop for some of Dracula’s horror scenes after visiting the North Yorkshire town in the 1890s.
Resident Barry Brown, 56, told how he found several bones in the backyard of his kipper smokehouse, which sits under the cliff. He said: ‘When the subsidence began I went out and found a few pieces of bone. They’d been buried for God knows how many years because they were soft and yellow from being in the soil.
‘I managed to identify one hip bone, two pieces of skull and a large bone that looked like it was part of a leg.
‘It’s quite sad picking that sort of thing up, I expect the people who buried them thought they’d be there for ever.
Debris: More cracks have appeared in the cliff face this week following heavy rainfall in Whitby
Loss: Reverend Canon David Smith said if the church is forced to close it would be a huge loss to Whitby
Historic: In 2000 St Mary’s Church in Whitby experienced more landslides close to the edge of the graveyard
Dangerous: Work to construct support structures and sea defences were carried out in 2000 below the cliff
Goths who flocked to the graveyard because of its links to Dracula were banned from the churchyard in 2011
UNEARTHED: THE MEDIEVAL ‘VAMPIRE’ SKELETON BURIED WITH AN IRON STAKE THROUGH ITS CHEST TO STOP IT WAKING UP AT THE WITCHING HOUR
The skeleton is of 35-40 year old male from the 13th or 14th century
Discovery is similar to one found by the same team in Sozopol last year
It was uncovered by the ‘Bulgarian Indiana Jones’ Nikolai Ovcharov
It’s the stuff of nightmares: A dig at a macabre graveyard has revealed a Bulgarian vampire pinned to his resting place by a metal spike. The ancient skeleton, identified as a 35 to 40 year old male, is only the second ever skeleton with a spike driven near its heart in this way, after one that was found last year in the southern town of Sozopol. It is thought the man, considered to be a vampire by his medieval contemporaries, was pinned to his grave using the ploughshare – the metal end of a plough – to prevent him from leaving at midnight and terrorising the living.
The ancient skeleton, identified as a 35-40 year old male, was discovered with a large metal ploughshare (pictured in rusty orange, top right) driven through his left shoulder. The discovery was made at the Perperikon site, in the east of the country, during a dig led by the ‘Bulgarian Indiana Jones’ Professor Nikolai Ovcharov. Last year, a group heading by Professor Ovcharov unearthed another 700-year-old skeleton of a man pinned down in his earth in a church in the Black Sea town of Sozopol. The skeleton, which quickly became known as the ‘Sozopol vampire,’ was pierced through the chest with a ploughshare and has his teeth pulled out before being put to rest. Professor Ovcharov has said described the latest finding as the ‘twin of the Sozopol vampire’ and said it could shed light on how vampire beliefs in the Pagan times were preserved by Christians in the middle ages.
The man, thought at the time to be a vampire, was pinned to his grave using the plough to prevent him from leaving at midnight and terrorising the living
The discovery was made at Perperikon in a dig led by the ‘Bulgarian Indiana Jones’ Professor Nikolai Ovcharov. Coins found with the body have been dated it to the 13th and 14th century. In other cases Professor Ovcharov said he had found skeletons ‘nailed to the ground with iron staples driven into the limbs’ but this was only the second case were a ploughshare was used near the heart. ‘[The ploughshare] weighs almost 2 pounds (0.9kg) and is dug into the body into a broken shoulder bone,’ he said. ‘You can clearly see how the collarbone has literally popped out.’ This is the latest in a succession of finds across western and central Europe that shed new light on how seriously people took the threat of vampires.
Last year, a group heading by Professor Ovcharov unearthed another 700-year-old skeleton of a man pinned down in his earth in a church in the Black Sea town of Sozopol
Professor Ovcharov has said described the latest finding, discovered at Perperikon (pictured) as the ‘twin of the Sozopol vampire’ and said it could shed light on how vampire beliefs in the Pagan times were preserved by Christians in the middle ages. According to Pagan belief, people who were considered bad during their lifetimes might turn into vampires after death unless stabbed in the chest with an iron or wooden rod before being buried. These ‘vampires’ were often, intellectuals, aristocrats and clerics.
A skeleton found last year, which quickly became known as the ‘Sozopol vampire,’ was also pierced through the chest with a ploughshare
‘The curious thing is that there are no women among them. They were not afraid of witches,’ said Bulgaria’s national history museum chief, Bozhidar Dimitrov.
The string of plagues which ravaged Europe between 1300 and 1700 helped cement an already growing belief in vampires.
Gravediggers reopening mass graves following a plague would sometimes come across bodies bloated by gas, with hair still growing, and blood seeping from their mouths.Theshrouds used to cover the faces of the dead were often decayed by bacteria in the mouth, revealing the corpse’s teeth, and vampires became known as ‘shroud-eaters.’
According to medieval medical and religious texts, the ‘undead’ were believed to spread pestilence in order to suck the remaining life from corpses until they acquired the strength to return to the streets again.
‘In my opinion it’s not about criminals or bad people,’ said Professor Ovcharov.
‘Rather, these are precautionary measures that prevent the soul from being taken by the forces of evil in the 40 day period after death.’
Over 100 buried people whose corpses were stabbed to prevent them from becoming vampires have been discovered across Bulgaria over the years.
NOW IT’S COUNT DRAC-OO-ARRR! BLOOD-SUCKING VAMPIRE WAS FROM DEVON NOT TRANSYLVANIA, CLAIMS NEW BOOK
Author Andy Struthers, 49, from Chesire, makes the claim in his new book
He claims author took inspiration for killer from a priest in the Westcountry
Mr Struthers said: ‘It’s a bit like finding out who Father Christmas really is’
Blood-sucking vampire Count Dracula wasn’t from Transylvania – but Devon, a new book claims.
Writer Andy Struthers says that rather than Vlad the Impaler, author Bram Stoker took his inspiration for the famous virgin killer from a priest based in the Westcountry.
Mr Struther’s new book says the Gothic character is actually based on the works of Sabine Baring-Gould from Exeter – who would have preferred drinking cider to blood.
A new book claims that the blood-sucking vampire Count Dracula, played by Christopher Lee above, wasn’t from Transylvania – but Devon
Andy Struthers’s new book explains why in the famous 1897 text ‘Dracula’ solicitor Jonathan Harker leaves from Exeter’s Cathedral Close (pictured) to make his perilous journey to Transylvania
He claims Stoker created the character Dracula after reading Baring-Gould’s Lycanthropy: the study of Werewolves and vampire story called Margery of Quether.
Andy says it also explains why in the famous 1897 text ‘Dracula’ solicitor Jonathan Harker leaves from Exeter’s Cathedral Close to make his perilous journey to Transylvania.
He says Stoker included the reference as a secret thank you to Baring-Gould and acknowledgement that he was inspired by him.
His book Dracula Incarnate: Unearthing The Definitive Dracula will be released later this year.
The region is known for its medieval towns, mountainous borders and castles, including Gothic Bran Castle.
As well as its historical characteristics, Transylvania also boasts hardwood forests and wildflower meadows.
Many say travelling around the area is like going back in time, as horse-drawn carts trek along dirt roads.
DEVON, SOUTH WEST OF ENGLAND
Devon is surrounded by sandy beaches, fossil cliffs, medieval towns and moorland national parks.
The county boasts a number of national parks and perhaps the most famous is the National Parks is Dartmoor.
Kents Cavern in Torbay is one of the earliest places in England known to have been occupied by modern man.
Mr Struther’s new book says the Gothic character is actually based on the works of Sabine Baring-Gould (pictured) from Exeter
His findings will be revealed at the World Dracula Congress in front of Dracula author Bram Stoker’s descendants in Dublin.
Andy, 49, from Warrington, Chesire, said: ‘The book of werewolves and the vampire tale provided Stoker with elements of his story, and virtually everything he needed for the creation of his vampire Count, possibly including the voice of his vampire, which was female.
‘Stoker was fond of tipping his hat to friends and acquaintances who had either helped him in researching his novel, or perhaps, even inspired the characters within it’s pages.
‘Exeter was included in the novel as a way of saying thank you to Baring-Gould, and the masses of material that he had provided the Irish author with.’
According to Mr Struthers, Stoker drew heavily on the books by Baring-Gould, born in 1834, who also wrote the famous hymn Onward Christian Soliders.
Mr Struthers added: ‘People will be surprised and sometimes shocked by my findings, as most of what they now hold true will be proven to be false.
‘It’s a bit like finding out who Father Christmas really is.’
EUROPE’S FEAR OF BLOOD-SUCKING VAMPIRES IN THE MIDDLE AGES
The belief in vampires was widespread throughout Bulgaria and other parts of central Europe throughout the Middle Ages.
The word vampire is derived from the original Slavic term opyrb or opir which later appears as vipir, vepir, or vapir.
Drunkards, thieves and murderers were all believed to be likely candidates to become vampires.
John van Eyssen prepares to drive a wooden stake through the heart of vampire. The scene was in ‘Horror of Dracula’
Appearing completely normal, they would arrive at a town and live amongst the people often even marrying and fathering children. But at night they would wander the countryside in search of blood.
These types of vampires could be destroyed with a stake through the heart.
One account maintains that a vampire was the soul of an outlaw who died in the mountains or forest or along a country road, and whose corpse is eaten by crows, wolves, or some other such scavengers.
Because such a soul is not permitted to enter heaven or hell it remains on earth haunting the place where he was killed strangling and drinking the blood of anyone who comes by.
Another account states a person who died a violent, unnatural death or whose corpse was jumped over by a cat before burial, can become a vampire.
In such cases during the first 40 days after burial, the bones turn to gelatin and the vampire performs mischief at night – releasing animals from their pens, scattering house hold items, and suffocating people.
During the first forty days it can be destroyed by a Vampiridzhija – a professional vampire hunter capable of seeing them – or alternatively devoured by a wolf.
However if not destroyed in this time period the Vampire would develop a skeleton and becomes even more fierce.
Horror: Christopher Lee in the 1958 horror film Dracula which was inspired by the novel by Bram Stoker (right)
‘It could have even been one of my relatives, as my family have been here since the early 1800s.’ The bones were collected soon afterwards by church staff and have since been reburied in a more stable spot.
It is not known who the bones belonged to, as many of the headstones in the cemetery have been moved around over the centuries. St Mary’s Reverend Canon David Smith said: ‘The cemetery has been closed for over a century, so if any graves are exposed it’s only bones. If anything is exposed we re-inter them.’
The landslide has been blamed on a drainage pipe which became damaged and fell away. This meant recent heavy rainfall saturated the soil, which then began to fall.
Rev Smith added: ‘The church has been trying to muck in to get things done and we have had a civil engineer working to sort it out.
‘They’ve been trying to find where the water was coming from and making the cliff edge more secure.’
THE PERFECT SETTING FOR A GOTHIC NOVEL
As Bram Stoker sat at his desk overlooking the seaside town of Whitby Bay in 1890 he noticed the huge number of bats flying around St Mary’s Church.
Perched on top of a cliff St Mary’s, with its rows upon rows of tombstones, looked out onto the stormy North Sea.
It was the atmospheric surroundings of Whitby and St Mary’s Church which would inspire him to write the classic Gothic novel Dracula published in 1897.
The writer happened to be staying in the town trying to decide whether it would be suitable for a family holiday.
However, it became the perfect backdrop for his book.
He wrote: ‘For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud obscured St. Mary’s Church.
‘Then as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the Abbey coming into view; and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and churchyard became gradually visible…
‘It seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell.’
Stoker’s Dracula is shipwrecked off the Yorkshire coast. He comes ashore in the guise of a black dog and wreaks havoc on the town.
Prince Vlad the Impaler, from Transylvania and known for his bloodthirsty reputation, is thought to have been the inspiration for Stoker’s character Dracula.
One of the characters, Mina, keeps a journal containing detailed descriptions of Whitby and those areas frequented by Dracula.
A spokesman for Scarborough Borough Council said: ‘The cliff is not the responsibility of the council because it is private land and there is no immediate danger to life or property. ‘We have written to the church and have made them aware of their obligations as landowners.’
Dracula, published in 1897, tells the story of the vampire Count’s attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, leaving a trail of dead in his wake, with his ship running aground in Whitby in a storm.
Stoker hit upon the idea of the count while reading a history book at Whitby library, and made St Mary’s part of the story after being struck by the way the bats circled the building. In one scene, the Count appears in the church cemetery with his young victim Lucy Westenra.
Many visitors to Whitby still ask about Dracula’s grave, forgetting he is a work of fiction.
The cemetery, which inspired Bram Stoker when writing his classic novel Dracula, is closed to the public
The future of the historic graveyard at St Mary’s Church in Whitby is in danger after the nearby cliff began crumbling away
Human bones were discovered after the landslide at St Mary’s Church which took place last month
Prince Charles is campaigning to save the forests of Transylvania, inspired by his ancestral links to Vlad the Impaler, the 15th century nobleman better known by his patronym, Dracula.
Rapid economic growth in Romania – which is now part of the EU – means that the forests of the Carpathian Mountains are under threat from development and logging.
The Prince is calling for the forests, some of the last untouched wilderness areas in Europe, to be protected before they are lost, like the woodland that once covered Britain.
Blood lines: Prince Charles, left, is descended from Transylvanian prince Vlad III, known by the sobriquet Vlad the Impaler and the patronym Dracula, right, through his great-grandmother, Queen Mary, wife of George V
He claims a family connection to the area through Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, who earned the sobriquet Vlad the Impaler thanks to his favoured method of torture and execution.
The 15th century nobleman, notorious for his bloodthirsty campaigns against the Ottomans and fierce repression of his people, is a distant ancestor of Charles’s great-grandmother, Queen Mary. The total number of his victims is estimated in the tens of thousands, many killed by being impaled on huge metal stakes.
His reputation for cruelty is said to have helped inspire Bram Stoker’s diabolical villain, Count Dracula.
Virgin: The forests of the Carpathian Mountains, some of the last untouched wilderness areas in Europe, are under threat from development and logging
Biodiversity: A European grey wolf stalks the forest of Transylvania. The area is also home to brown bears, lynx, and 13,000 other species
In a new documentary about the Carpathian mountains, Charles makes fun of his ancestral links to ‘Count Dracula’.
‘The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country,’ he quipped.
The Prince has recently bought a five-bedroom house in the village of Zalanpatak, which is said to have been founded by one of his Transylvanian ancestors.
Charles is expected to use the 150-year-old home as an isolated holiday retreat, and it will be used as a guesthouse when he is not in residence.
The Prince first visited Transylvania in 1998 and has bought three properties there, including the Zalanpatak house and a £43-a-night guesthouse in the village of Viscri.
Old haunt: The farmhouse in Viscri, Transylvania, that Charles bought in 2006 and turned into a guesthouse
Fit for a future king: Inside the 18th century farmhouse in Viscri, now restored as a guest house after it was purchased by the Prince of Wales
Traditional farming and building techniques used in the area are said to have inspired his plans for Poundbury, the Dorset village created by his Duchy of Cornwall.
HOW THE ROYAL FAMILY IS LINKED TO COUNT DRACULA
Count Dracula is related to Britain’s royal family both genealogically and through a medical condition that gives sufferers a thirst for blood.
It is believed that Queen Mary, consort of George V, was related to the 15th Century slayer Vlad the Impaler, who was also known as Dracula
Vlad is said to have dispatched more than 100,000Turkish warriors in battle. The vampire legend was fed by his predilection for eating bread dipped in his victim’s blood.
And it is known that porphyria, an iron deficiency, which is thought to lie behind the vampire myth and may have spurred Vlad’s taste for blood, has run in the Royal Family.
He has since sold a manor near the medieval town of Sighisoara, while the Viscri and Zalanpatak guesthouses are managed by Count Tibor Kalnoky.
‘It seems to me in Transylvania there is a combination of the natural ecosystem with a human cultural system,’ the prince told the documentary, according to the Daily Telegraph.
‘This extraordinarily unique integrated relationship is so hugely important. People are yearning for that sense of belonging and identity and meaning.’
If development goes ahead, Romania could end up barren like swathes of the Highlands of Scotland or Canada that were once dense with virgin forest, Prince Charles warned.
Two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand hectares of virgin forests are in urgent need of protection, according to Magor Csibi, country manager of the World Wildlife Fund’s Danube-Carpathian programme in Romania.
The area, home to brown bears, lynx, wolves, and 13,000 other species, represents up to 65 per cent of Europe’s remaining virgin forests.
IF YOU THOUGHT VAMPIRES WERE SIMPLY THE STUFF OF MYTH AND LEGEND – AND PERHAPS THE ODD TEEN HORROR FILM – THINK AGAIN.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN BULGARIA HAVE UNEARTHED TWO SKELETONS FROM THE MIDDLE AGES PIERCED THROUGH THE CHEST WITH IRON RODS TO KEEP THEM FROM TURNING INTO THE UNDEAD.
THEY ARE THE LATEST IN A SUCCESSION OF FINDS ACROSS WESTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE WHICH SHED NEW LIGHT ON JUST HOW SERIOUSLY PEOPLE TOOK THE THREAT OF VAMPIRES AND HOW THOSE BELIEFS TRANSFORMED INTO THE MODERN MYTH.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO
FIND: TWO SKELETONS, BELIEVED TO BE THOSE OF SUSPECTED MEDIEVAL VAMPIRES, WERE DISCOVERED WITH IRON POLES PLUNGED THROUGH THEIR CHESTS IN THE BULGARIAN BLACK SEA TOWN OF SOZOPOL
THE TWO SKELETONS, BELIEVED TO BE AROUND 800 YEARS OLD, WERE DISCOVERED DURING AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIG NEAR A MONASTERY IN THE BULGARIAN BLACK SEA TOWN OF SOZOPOL. BULGARIA’S NATIONAL HISTORY MUSEUM CHIEF BOZHIDAR DIMITROV SAID: ‘THESE TWO SKELETONS STABBED WITH RODS ILLUSTRATE A PRACTICE WHICH WAS COMMON IN SOME BULGARIAN VILLAGES UP UNTIL THE FIRST DECADE OF THE 20TH CENTURY.’
A CLOSE UP OF ONE OF THE ‘VAMPIRE’ SKELETONS DISCOVERED WITH A METAL BAR THROUGH ITS CHEST
ACCORDING TO PAGAN BELIEFS, PEOPLE WHO WERE CONSIDERED BAD DURING THEIR LIFETIMES MIGHT TURN INTO VAMPIRES AFTER DEATH UNLESS STABBED IN THE CHEST WITH AN IRON OR WOODEN ROD BEFORE BEING BURIED.
PEOPLE BELIEVED THE ROD WOULD ALSO PIN THEM DOWN IN THEIR GRAVES TO PREVENT THEM FROM LEAVING AT MIDNIGHT AND TERRORISING THE LIVING, THE HISTORIAN EXPLAINED.
ACCORDING TO MR DIMITROV OVER 100 BURIED PEOPLE WHOSE CORPSES WERE STABBED TO PREVENT THEM FROM BECOMING VAMPIRES HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED ACROSS BULGARIA OVER THE YEARS.
HE ADDED: ‘I DO NOT KNOW WHY AN ORDINARY DISCOVERY LIKE THAT BECAME SO POPULAR. PERHAPS BECAUSE OF THE MYSTERIOUSNESS OF THE WORD “VAMPIRE”.
‘THESE PEOPLE WERE BELIEVED TO BE EVIL WHILE THEY WERE ALIVE, AND IT WAS BELIEVED THAT THEY WOULD BECOME VAMPIRES ONCE THEY ARE DEAD, CONTINUING TO TORMENT PEOPLE.’
ACCORDING TO DIMITROV, ‘VAMPIRES’ WERE OFTEN ARISTOCRATS AND CLERICS.
HE ADDED: ‘THE CURIOUS THING IS THAT THERE ARE NO WOMEN AMONG THEM. THEY WERE NOT AFRAID OF WITCHES.’
HOWEVER LAST MONTH ITALIAN RESEARCHERS DISCOVERED WHAT THEY BELIEVED TO BE THE REMAINS OF A FEMALE ‘VAMPIRE’ IN VENICE – BURIED WITH A BRICK JAMMED BETWEEN HER JAWS TO PREVENT HER FEEDING ON VICTIMS OF A PLAGUE WHICH SWEPT THE CITY IN THE 16TH CENTURY.
MATTEO BORRINI, AN ANTHROPOLOGIST FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORENCE, SAID THE DISCOVERY ON THE SMALL ISLAND OF LAZZARETTO NUOVO IN THE VENICE LAGOON SUPPORTED THE MEDIEVAL BELIEF THAT VAMPIRES WERE BEHIND THE SPREAD OF PLAGUES LIKE THE BLACK DEATH.
FIND: THE TWO SKELETONS WERE DISCOVERED DURING A DIG OUTSIDE A MONASTERY IN THE BULGARIAN BLACK SEA TOWN OF SOZOPOL
SOZOPOL: ACCORDING TO THE HEAD OF BULGARIA’S NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM 100 CORPSES OF PEOPLE WHO WERE STABBED TO PREVENT THEM FROM BECOMING VAMPIRES HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED ACROSS THE COUNTRY OVER THE YEARS
THE SKELETON WAS UNEARTHED IN A MASS GRAVE FROM THE VENETIAN PLAGUE OF 1576 – IN WHICH THE ARTIST TITIAN DIED – ON LAZZARETTO NUOVO, WHICH LIES AROUND TWO MILES NORTHEAST OF VENICE AND WAS USED AS A SANITORIUM FOR PLAGUE SUFFERERS.
BORRINI SAID: ‘THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT ARCHAEOLOGY HAS SUCCEEDED IN RECONSTRUCTING THE RITUAL OF EXORCISM OF A VAMPIRE.
‘THIS HELPS … AUTHENTICATE HOW THE MYTH OF VAMPIRES WAS BORN.’
THE SUCCESSION OF PLAGUES WHICH RAVAGED EUROPE BETWEEN 1300 AND 1700 FOSTERED THE BELIEF IN VAMPIRES, MAINLY BECAUSE THE DECOMPOSITION OF CORPSES WAS NOT WELL UNDERSTOOD, BORRINI SAID.
GRAVEDIGGERS REOPENING MASS GRAVES WOULD SOMETIMES COME ACROSS BODIES BLOATED BY GAS, WITH HAIR STILL GROWING, AND BLOOD SEEPING FROM THEIR MOUTHS AND BELIEVE THEM TO BE STILL ALIVE.
THE SHROUDS USED TO COVER THE FACES OF THE DEAD WERE OFTEN DECAYED BY BACTERIA IN THE MOUTH, REVEALING THE CORPSE’S TEETH, AND VAMPIRES BECAME KNOWN AS ‘SHROUD-EATERS.’
ACCORDING TO MEDIEVAL MEDICAL AND RELIGIOUS TEXTS, THE ‘UNDEAD’ WERE BELIEVED TO SPREAD PESTILENCE IN ORDER TO SUCK THE REMAINING LIFE FROM CORPSES UNTIL THEY ACQUIRED THE STRENGTH TO RETURN TO THE STREETS AGAIN.
THE REMAINS OF A FEMALE ‘VAMPIRE’ FROM 16TH-CENTURY VENICE, BURIED WITH A BRICK IN HER MOUTH TO PREVENT HER FEASTING ON PLAGUE VICTIMS
‘TO KILL THE VAMPIRE YOU HAD TO REMOVE THE SHROUD FROM ITS MOUTH, WHICH WAS ITS FOOD LIKE THE MILK OF A CHILD, AND PUT SOMETHING UNEATABLE IN THERE,’ SAID BORRINI.
‘IT’S POSSIBLE THAT OTHER CORPSES HAVE BEEN FOUND WITH BRICKS IN THEIR MOUTHS, BUT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THE RITUAL HAS BEEN RECOGNISED.’
WHILE LEGENDS ABOUT BLOOD-DRINKING GHOULS DATE BACK THOUSANDS OF YEARS, THE MODERN FIGURE OF THE VAMPIRE WAS ENCAPSULATED IN THE IRISH AUTHOR BRAM STOKER’S 1897 NOVEL ‘DRACULA,’ BASED ON 18TH CENTURY EASTERN EUROPEAN FOLKTALES.
BATTY BELIEFS: EUROPE’S FEAR OF VAMPIRES IN THE MIDDLE AGES
THE BELIEF IN VAMPIRES WAS WIDESPREAD THROUGHOUT BULGARIA AND OTHER PARTS OF CENTRAL EUROPE THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE AGES.
THE WORD VAMPIRE IS DERIVED FROM THE ORIGINAL SLAVIC TERM OPYRB OR OPIR WHICH LATER APPEARS AS VIPIR, VEPIR, OR VAPIR.
DRUNKARDS, THIEVES AND MURDERERS WERE ALL BELIEVED TO BE LIKELY CANDIDATES TO BECOME VAMPIRES.
MOVIE LEGEND: CHRISTOPHER LEE AS COUNT DRACULA GETS HIS COMEUPPANCE WITH A STAKE THROUGH THE HEART IN THE 1958 FILM DRACULA
APPEARING COMPLETELY NORMAL, THEY WOULD ARRIVE AT A TOWN AND LIVE AMONGST THE PEOPLE OFTEN EVEN MARRYING AND FATHERING CHILDREN. BUT AT NIGHT THEY WOULD WANDER THE COUNTRYSIDE IN SEARCH OF BLOOD.
THESE TYPES OF VAMPIRES COULD BE DESTROYED WITH A STAKE THROUGH THE HEART.
ONE ACCOUNT MAINTAINS THAT A VAMPIRE WAS THE SOUL OF AN OUTLAW WHO DIED IN THE MOUNTAINS OR FOREST OR ALONG A COUNTRY ROAD, AND WHOSE CORPSE IS EATEN BY CROWS, WOLVES, OR SOME OTHER SUCH SCAVENGERS.
BECAUSE SUCH A SOUL IS NOT PERMITTED TO ENTER HEAVEN OR HELL IT REMAINS ON EARTH HAUNTING THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS KILLED STRANGLING AND DRINKING THE BLOOD OF ANYONE WHO COMES BY.
ANOTHER ACCOUNT STATES A PERSON WHO DIED A VIOLENT, UNNATURAL DEATH OR WHOSE CORPSE WAS JUMPED OVER BY A CAT BEFORE BURIAL, CAN BECOME A VAMPIRE.
IN SUCH CASES DURING THE FIRST 40 DAYS AFTER BURIAL, THE BONES TURN TO GELATIN AND THE VAMPIRE PERFORMS MISCHIEF AT NIGHT – RELEASING ANIMALS FROM THEIR PENS, SCATTERING HOUSE HOLD ITEMS, AND SUFFOCATING PEOPLE.
DURING THE FIRST FORTY DAYS IT CAN BE DESTROYED BY A VAMPIRIDZHIJA – A PROFESSIONAL VAMPIRE HUNTER CAPABLE OF SEEING THEM – OR ALTERNATIVELY DEVOURED BY A WOLF.
HOWEVER IF NOT DESTROYED IN THIS TIME PERIOD THE VAMPIRE WOULD DEVELOP A SKELETON AND BECOMES EVEN MORE FIERCE.
IN OTHER AREAS, THE UNEXPLAINED DEATHS OF CATTLE OR OTHER LIVESTOCK WERE OFTEN TAKEN AS PROOF THAT A TYPE OF VAMPIRE KNOWN AS AN USTREL WAS AT LARGE.
THESE WERE BELIEVED TO BE THE SPIRITS OF CHILDREN BORN ON A SATURDAY BUT WHO DIED BEFORE RECEIVING BAPTISM.
ON THE NINTH DAY AFTER ITS BURIAL, A USTREL WOULD CLIMB OUT OF THE GROUND AND ATTACK CATTLE OR SHEEP BY DRAINING THEIR BLOOD BEFORE RETURNING TO ITS GRAVE BEFORE DAWN.
TO KILL AN USTREL, A VILLAGE WOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH A RITUAL KNOWN AS LIGHTING OF A NEEDFIRE.
THIS INVOLVED EXTINGUISHING ALL THE VILLAGE HOUSEHOLD FIRES ON A SATURDAY MORNING BEFORE ROUNDING UP ALL THE CATTLE AND SHEEP IN AN OPEN SPACE.
FROM THERE THE ANIMALS WERE MARCHED TO A NEARBY CROSSROADS WHERE TWO BONFIRES, LIT BY A NEW FIRE CREATED BY RUBBING STICKS TOGETHER, HAD BEEN SET UP.
BY GUIDING THE ANIMALS BETWEEN THE FIRES THE VAMPIRE WOULD BECOME STRANDED AT THE CROSSROADS WHERE WOLVES DEVOURED IT.
BEFORE THE BONFIRES BURNED OUT, SOMEONE TOOK A FLAME AND USED IT TO RELIGHT ALL THE HOUSEHOLD FIRES IN THE VILLAGE.
It is the ‘home’ of one of the greatest villains ever to stalk our nightmares –
a place where only the brave might venture, and the more nervous might fear a sharp pain in the neck.
Alternatively, it might be seen as a splendid royal palace in a less-seen part of Europe.
Perfectly picturesque: Whatever its links to Dracula, there is no doubting the beauty of Bran Castle
High up on its hilltop: Bran Castle has long been linked to the story of Dracula – as played by Christopher Lee in the 1958 film adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel
Either way, these pictures give a fascinating insight into the fortress that supposedly played host to one of the darkest figures of European mythology – Count Dracula. Bran Castle – which perches on a dramatic hilltop near Brasov in central Romania – has long been linked to the toothsome vampire. Constructed in the early 14th century, it is open to the public, who are able to peer into its creaky rooms and dark passageways.
Sharp-eyed tourists will point out that Dracula did not exist.
And they would – rather obviously – be correct. The most famous vampire of all was, of course, created by the Irish novelist Bram Stoker in his iconic Gothic novel Dracula, published in 1897.
Who goes there? A lot of people, actually – the castle receives half a million visitors every year
Grand designs: The Gothic four-poster bed fits in perfectly with the legend of Dracula in spooky Bran Castle – although Bram Stoker never actually visited the area
Stoker also never visited Romania – let alone Bran Castle.
However, the man who is thought to have been the spark for Stoker’s dastardly creation – Vlad III of Wallachia – is believed to have a more direct link to the fortress.
Better known as Vlad the Impaler, this notoriously ‘uncompromising’ nobleman ruled Wallachia, in what is now Romania, in the 15th century (probably 1456 to 1462) – a time when the region was under attack from Ottoman forces, and staunch tactics were needed.
Vlad – a member of the House of Draculesti – gained his vicious reputation thanks to his reputed habit of running through his enemies with spikes.
Gloomy spaces: The castle supposedly played host (in the dungeons) to the notorious Vlad the Impaler in 1462
Dining out: For those looking to feast on more than just blood, the eerie dining room is decorated with statues and works of art
Museum display: Over half a million vampire fans flock to the Romanian castle each year, to wander the corridors of a place which loosely inspired Bram Stoker
Following suit: The castle clings to its 14th century roots with armour and medieval weaponry on display
And he may have spent a little time at Bran Castle – though not at his leisure.
Some historical sources say that Vlad III was captured by the Hungarian king Matei Corvin in 1462, and transferred to the fortress, where he spent two months languishing in its dungeons – a little sojourn that must have done little for his fiery temper.
The modern-day owners of Bran Castle underline this link as one of their main reasons for marketing the property as the ‘home of Dracula’.
Spooky: The castle is steeped in history. It is believed that Vlad the Impaler was locked in the castle dungeons for two months in the 15th century
They also claim that the castle bears a notable resemblance to the terrifying hilltop fortress described so stirringly in Stoker’s narrative.
While conceding that Stoker did not travel to Romania before (or after) he penned his masterpiece, they also argue that ‘the imaginary depiction of Dracula’s Castle from the etching in the first edition of “Dracula” is strikingly similar to Bran Castle and no other in all of Romania.’
Whether or not this is enough of a connection for historians or literary academics, there is no doubt that Bran Castle is popular – it attracts some half a million tourists a year.
Those who visit the fortress – which perches on a bluff 20 miles south-west of Brasov – find a structure that is certainly beautiful, whatever its ties to vampires.
Enough to send shivers down your spine: Bran Castle looks even more eerie when illuminated at night – particularly with a full moon rising behind
Perfectly picturesque: Whatever its links to Dracula, there is no doubting the beauty of Bran Castle
View from above: The huge castle dominates the surrounding landscape in the beautiful Romanian landscape
Many of its echoing chambers are fitted out with furniture and fittings acquired by Queen Marie – the last Queen Consort of Romania, in the early 20th century.
However, peer behind that thick velvet curtain, or wander down that dimly lit corridor, and you never know who you may encounter.