In January 2017 a discovery was made in Northamptonshire from the Romano-Britain period. The corpse was buried face down and his tongue had been cut out and replaced with a flat stone. These are all indicators that this individuals was considered odd or a threat to the community.
It is speculated that the man’s tongue was cut out as a punishment for spreading malicious accusations. Or perhaps he was scapegoated for bad weather, as the area where he was buried became a cemetery only when it became too flooded for habitation. An epidemic could also have been the reason why his corpse was punished since an understanding of germs and bacteria was not understood when he lived.
Ancient burials across Europe demonstrate the same methods in which there is a fear of the individuals beyond the time of their death.
In 2012, a discovery was made in Sozopol, Bulgaria of several skeleton with iron rods through their chest. A few years previously other skeletons were found in Czechoslovakia weighted down with stones on their chests. These burials dated back 5,000 years. Other corpses have been found decapitated, with their hearts pierced and buried in bogs or swampy areas.
These persons had been suspected while alive, and when they were buried, measures were taken to make sure they did not become undead menaces. This is contrary to folklore about vampires where a person was disinterred and mutilated, and suspected of being evil after they had died.
Iron Age Celtic burial sites across Britain and Ireland display practices where certain dead were considered dangerous to the living. The parts of the body that were targeted where the heart and the head where it was believed the soul dwelt.
Sometimes the individual's only "sin" was to die an unnatural, sudden death through murder or accident. The fear was that this person had been cheated from a full life and were likely to rise from their grave.
Desecrating the corpse after burial is thought to also have been a way to punish the individuals by not allowing their spirit to go on into the afterlife.
In Britain deviant burials date back to the 11th century, and are believed to have persisted into the middle ages and much less conspicuously into the 20th century.
Farquhar Shaw was buried on the Rothiemurchus estate in Scotland. In 1405, five heavy stones were place on his flat tombstone, and then a metal cage was placed over it to stop anyone from removing them. This was done because Farquhar had "troubled the neighborhood" after he was dead.
In 1704 Lilias Adie committed suicide. She had been jailed at Torryburn in Fife, accused of being a witch. Her body was buried in the foreshore between high and low watermark with a flat stone over it. She was doubly dangerous for being a possible witch and having done away with herself.
In 1824 a saw-pit near Tintern Abbey was being excavated by laborers. A skeleton was found in an orchard. It had been buried face down. A very old, local woman voiced her suspicion that he was a man believed to have been murdered but who disappeared from his home about 100 years before. Possibly the person who murdered and buried him, wanted to make sure his victim would not return and seek vengeance beyond the grave.
In 1889, during an Edinburgh murder trial the murdered man's clothes were produced in the court, but his boots were missing. It turned out that the local constable had been ordered to bury them on the shore between the low and high watermark just like Lilias Adie. This was to prevent him from walking among the living and demonstrates that it wasn't only the murderer who feared him.
In July 1915, a British officer saw two of his soldiers burying a dead German face down. Even in wartime precautions fueled by superstition were taken to make sure the dead did not escape and seek retribution.
In many detailed stories from the 19th and early 20th century which originated in Russia, Austria, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia where those who were already dead but were still blamed for severe weather. In 1891 a Russian woman who had died of alcohol poisoning was disinterred and used as a scapegoat, linking her death by fluid with the an associated drought.
In 1900, a summer drought in Czechoslovakia was blamed on a the village schoolmaster who had been buried with a feather pillow beneath his head. The solution of course was to open the grave and remove the pillow.
Folklorist Agnes Murgoci wrote how in 1926 in Zarnesti, Transylvania heavy rains were blames on the vampiric corpse of a recently buried girl
The following story that occurred in a rural area of Crimea demonstrates that fear of those who had died overrode even displeasing God.
When the prolonged drought of summer 1905 was blamed on a supposed wizard, buried that March, the villagers of Svino Krivza led a solemn torchlight procession to his grave one Sunday at midnight. To the dirge-like playing of fiddles and flutes, he was disinterred, so that the village priest could sprinkle him with holy water before reburial. Unfortunately the priest, Father Constantin, objected and rashly upbraided the villagers for their barbarity and superstition. As a result, he was thrown into the grave, with the offending corpse hurled in on top of him. He was hauled out the following day but could not be revived. If not for two especially pious women who had alerted the police, we should perhaps never have known of this case at all.
Source - HistoryToday
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