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Modern Mysteries

Identity of 19th-Century 'vampire' revealed

August 3, 2019 | Comment icon 6 comments



J.B. was not a vampire in the traditional sense. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Musicalvienna
Scientists have determined the name of a 'vampire' whose coffin was unearthed almost 30 years ago.
The mystery began back in 1990 when the bones of a man with the initials J.B. were unearthed in a gravel quarry in Griswold, Connecticut.

The discovery was particularly unusual because this individual, whoever he was, had been buried around 200 years prior in a very particular way by someone who thought that he was a vampire.

His skull and ribs had been carefully positioned to resemble a typical 'skull and cross bones' arrangement, while his initials and age had been inscribed on his coffin using brass tacks.

Researchers spent the better part of three decades studying the remains, revealing that J.B. was a hard-working farmer with a limp who most likely died of tuberculosis.

"This case has been a mystery since the 1990s," said forensic scientist Charla Marshall.
"Now that we have expanded technological capabilities, we wanted to revisit JB 55 to see whether we could solve the mystery of who he was."

The man's name, it turns out, was John Barber.

It is thought that the poor man's illness had made him appear so frightful, that his own family members may have carried out his burial in such a way so as to stop him rising from his grave as a vampire.

"This was being done out of fear and out of love," said archaeologist Nicholas F. Bellantoni. "People were dying in their families, and they had no way of stopping it, and just maybe this was what could stop the deaths... They didn't want to do this, but they wanted to protect those that were still living."

"People were desperate."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (6)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by ScotDeerie 3 years ago
Interesting story. I can't imagine digging up a body to play around with it, though. Seems getting tuberculosis would be easier. And less pungent.
Comment icon #2 Posted by pixiii 3 years ago
Sounds like he was an 1800's style of stalker (with with all the witchcraft/supernatural superstition added on top!)  
Comment icon #3 Posted by ScotDeerie 3 years ago
A stalker? How did you get that?
Comment icon #4 Posted by pixiii 3 years ago
Facetious I was.  
Comment icon #5 Posted by ScotDeerie 3 years ago
Ah. Got it.
Comment icon #6 Posted by highdesert50 3 years ago
It seems the vampire was introduced in early 1800s literature and became a stock figure of Gothic fiction. Certainly Abraham Stoker's Dracula in 1897 made a big enough impact to get the movie studios interested. So, one see how these people may have been impacted by early 1800s literature.


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