2019-07-31 18:28:35 UTC
exhumed in 1990, and who appears to have been thought a vampire by his
contemporaries, has been given a name, John Barber.
A vampire¹s¹ remains were found about 30 years ago. Now DNA is giving
him new life.
"He had been in his grave so long that when his family dug him up to
burn his heart, the organ had decomposed and was not there.
Desperate to stop him from stalking them, they took his head and limbs
and rearranged them on top of his ribs in the design of a skull and
cross bones. He was a ³vampire² after all, and in rural New England in
the early 1800s, this was how you dealt with them.
When they were finished, they reburied him in his stone-lined grave and
replaced the wooden coffin lid, on which someone had used brass tacks to
form the inscription ³JB 55,² for his initials and his age.
Now, 200 years or so after the death of what is now the country¹s best
studied ³vampire,² DNA sleuths have tracked down his probable name: John
"Under his coffin lid, Ballantoni and his colleagues found the strange
skull and cross bones arrangement.
His thigh bones . . . were uprooted from the anatomical position and
crossed over the chest, he said.
The chest had been broken into, and the . . . skull was decapitated
and moved away, he said. I was totally befuddled. I had no clue what I
was looking at.
Research soon suggested a link to the New England vampire folk belief,
So JB turned out to have tuberculosis . . . [evident] because of the
lesions on his ribs, he said. We do believe that he was rearranged in
the grave because he was believed to be undead. "