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16th-century ‘vampire’ buried with brick in her mouth — to stop blood-sucker from eating the dead

A woman buried with a brick in her mouth out of fear she was an infected vampire from centuries ago had her face recreated with modern technology.
A woman buried with a brick in her mouth out of fear she was an infected vampire from centuries ago had her face recreated with modern technology.

Sink your teeth into this one.

Scientists have recreated the face of a 16th-century woman with a brick jammed into her mouth, an object apparently wedged there to stop her from eating the dead — as Italian locals believed she was a vampire.

The spooky story begins at a mass grave discovered on the Venetian island of Lazzaretto Nuovo, a location used as a bubonic plague quarantine in the late 1500s and 1600s.

The reconstruction shows how it would have been possible to bury the woman with a brick lodged in her mouth out of fear she was a vampire. Cicero Moraes / SWNS
The reconstruction shows how it would have been possible to bury the woman with a brick lodged in her mouth out of fear she was a vampire. Cicero Moraes / SWNS

In 2006, archeological studies found some bodies that were buried centuries ago.

“When they supposedly identified a vampire, one of those responsible for the plague according to popular myth at the time, they introduced the stone [brick] as a protective element, preventing it from feeding and also from infecting other people,” forensic researcher Cícero Moraes told South West News Service of the bizarre discovery.

Using reconstruction technology, Moraes investigated whether it was “possible” for a brick to be lodged in her mouth while she was — gruesomely — still alive “without damaging the teeth and even the soft tissue.”

Naturally, it would have been easier to do so after she perished.

There is also speculation that a graverobber put the brick into her corpse to “exorcise” her so that she would not be able to bite and infect others after death.

The woman lived into her 60s, according to researchers. Cicero Moraes / SWNS
The woman lived into her 60s, according to researchers. Cicero Moraes / SWNS

Previous studies have found that the skull was that of a lower-class European woman who died at 61 — an advanced age that appears more common than previously thought, other research shows.

For the new study, the scientists recreated the skull and concocted a “brick” from styrofoam in their quest to determine when the obstruction might have been placed — before or after death.

“The researchers found that when observing the body with the shroud, those responsible for the burial noticed a depression in the mouth region, indicating potential chewing,” Moraes eerily said.

Although many questions to this centuries-old mystery remain, Moraes feels he can answer whether it would be “possible to insert a brick with those dimensions into the oral cavity, keeping the bone and perhaps soft tissue anatomical structures intact.”

His chilling hypothesis?

“The abundance of available material indicated yes.”