This story began nearly 30 years ago, in November 1990. During mining in one of the gravel pits in the US city of Griswold, Connecticut, New England, workers came across a 200-year-old abandoned family cemetery. Archaeologists were called in and 28 graves were uncovered. They contained the remains of 27 people: five men, eight women and 14 children. A grave contained traces of the funeral, but was empty. Above all, however, the scientists were interested in the grave No. 4. The coffin inside, on whose wooden cover the inscription "JB 55" was attached, showed obvious burial traces.
1 US vampire story
2 Are there vampires?
3 causes and signs of tuberculosis
4 Who was the 200-year-old American vampire really?
The scientists opened the chest with the deceased and were very surprised by what they saw. The femurs of the skeleton were dislocated from their anatomical positions and found themselves on broken ribs, forming a figure of folded cross and crossed bones under the skull. Remember the pirate flag. An unusual find was sent to the museum, and a fragment of one of the deceased's thighs was sent to a research lab. However, the research technologies of the time resulted in scant results, and it was not possible at this time to establish a person's identity. The only thing scientists could suspect was that the coffin inscription "JB 55" contained the initials of the person's name and the age at which she died.
Fragment of the coffin ceiling with initials
Already today, scientists using modern DNA analysis technologies, as well as historical references and methods for predicting a surname from genealogical data, have determined that a person in life had the surname Barber. Then the scientists checked the old cemetery records and newspapers and tried to find out if anyone with that name lived in the city of Griswold. In a newspaper, researchers found an obituary that reported the death of a 12-year-old boy named Nathan Barber in 1826, whose father was a man named John Barber. Bingo The identity has finally been established. Soon, scientists also found out why the remains of a person in a coffin were so unnatural.
Are there vampires?
The researchers concluded that the locals regarded the deceased as a vampire and tried to prevent him from rising from the grave. It was found that the exhumation of the remnants of John Barber was completed about 5-6 years after his death. Most likely, members of his own family have done so. Historians explain that at the time there were many legends about vampires who could rise from the grave and bring anyone into the next world who stood in their way. As a result, local residents often resorted to mystical rituals that helped them to protect themselves. According to researchers, there are records of at least 80 such rituals in historical chronicles.
The graves of the alleged vampires were opened a few years after their death and tried to check whether liquid blood remained in the heart of a dead person. If so, it was generally believed that such a person was considered a ghoul. In this case, the heart was burned, the bones were crushed and buried again. Scientists say that such rituals were performed not only in the rural population of the United States but also in Europe at that time.
The humans who dug up Barber 200 years ago found no heart in his chest – by then it was already decomposed. So they just changed the position of his bones and some broke them.
Causes and signs of tuberculosis
But Barber was not a vampire, of course. He had tuberculosis. Historians are certain that tuberculosis patients were mistaken for vampires. Pale and exhausted, with sunken cheeks, eyes and bad breath. From time to time, after the coughing, blood accumulated in the corners of the mouth and dried up. It was these outward signs that described the bloodsuckers in stories and legends about vampires.
The pathogen of the disease – tubercle bacillus (or Koch bacillus) – was discovered in 1882 by the German microbiologist Robert Koch, so that the former residents of New England did not understand what really happened.
See also: Tuberculosis can be defeated before 2045
The farmers of this time lived in large families. In one room five to seven people slept at the same time. Therefore, people with tuberculosis inevitably infected their relatives. It was a real epidemic. Without understanding that the disease spreads through airborne droplets, but seeing people begin to melt before their eyes and die in whole groups, uneducated people attributed what they saw to attacks from vampires, which the superstitious fear among the locals further increased. And forced her to perform the rituals with the remains of the deceased.
Who was the 200 year old American "vampire" really?
The fact that Barber died of a severe form of tuberculosis, scientists learned by the condition of his ribs. The tuberculosis bacterium left its mark on the bones. The remnants also found that John Barber was a very hardworking but not a wealthy farmer. One person was missing several front teeth. In addition, he had knee arthritis and a collarbone fracture that did not heal properly.
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