Thursday, 29 September 2011

Medieval Irish Zombie-nation. No, you read that correctly!

Zombies! Creepy picture. Ahhhhhhhh.
Image labelled for reuse under Creative Commons. Click here for the source
Hello there! The last time I posted I mentioned that my next piece would be on something kinda creepy. Well, this post is on some interesting skeletons which were discovered in Ireland between 2005 and 2009. They were featured on a British documentary a few weeks ago and are thus in the headlines once more.

What's so special about them, eh eh eh?

Two skeletons were found with large stones in their mouths, an old folk practice used to prevent the dead from rising up as Zombies! The skeletons date back to the eighth century and each was buried at a different time during the 700's.  According to Chris Read (the dude in charge of the archaeological team) the mouth was believed to be a sacred portal through which the soul could leave the body upon death.

It was also feared that the soul could re-enter the body through the mouth and reanimate the corpse or that an evil spirit could enter the body through the mouth. It is interesting that there was a belief in the undead in 8th century Ireland. 

According to an article I read on the subject, it is likely that these two men were considered to be dangerous in some way and were thus subjected to this practice, preventing them from returning as uber-dangerous undead fiends! 

Putting a stone into the mouth of a corpse to prevent evil goings-on seems to have been a popular folk practice in the days of old, not just for Zombies but also Vampires. During Plague times, around the 14th century, stones were placed in the mouths of corpses to prevent the spread of the plague. It was believed that Vampiric individuals transmitted the plague by chewing through their shrouds after they had died and running about infecting people.

In fact the skull of a woman was discovered in Italy in 2009 with a large stone shoved in her mouth. The skull dates back to the 16th century and was found in a mass grave of plague victims from the Venetian Plague of 1576. 

Cool stuff, huh? For anyone interested in Zombies there's a great documentary called 'Zombies' (exciting title, I know) worth checking out. It was made by the History channel. It's about Haitian beliefs surrounding Zombies! My Dad got if for me last Christmas along with some Vampire films, including one with Bon Jovi! Fun and hilarious times. 

Now. Have a song about Zombies. With some epic Industrial dancing. 

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