So, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter — it’s funny because it’s two things that don’t go together! Hunting vampires, if it ever happened, was more of a Middle Ages eastern European thing. It certainly never happened in the good old U S of A!
Right? Right? Haha…not quite. Turns out 19th century New Englanders were just as into vampires as your teenage cousins are today. Hit the jump for more…
Research into this cultural phenomenon was renewed when a boy discovered bones at gravel mine near Griswold, Connecticut in the early 90s. It turns out a small, rural cemetery had been unearthed. Most of the bodies found there were fairly unremarkable — all except one. One coffin, marked “J.B.” contained a skeleton that had really been put through the wringer. Its ribs were broken and its thighbones and skull had been removed and placed over its chest in a skull-and-crossbones formation. As icing on the corpse cake, analysis showed this guy was rearranged at least five years after his death.
Turns out “J.B.” was a victim of the latest fad in 18th century New England — digging up corpses and royally f–king them up so they wouldn’t rise again as vampires. Up until the discovery of ol’ J.B. memory of this practice lived on only in legend and a few old newspaper clippings, but now there was archaeological proof. Those broken ribs? Probably happened when somebody tried to steal and burn poor J.B’s heart, who likely did nothing to deserve it. Well, except catch tuberculosis.
See, back before common folk understood how contagious diseases worked, they just noticed that frequently one person in a household would get all pale and icky looking and then everyone else in the house would start looking the same way. The diagnosis was obvious — the first one to start looking sickly was clearly a vampire sucking the souls of everyone else in the house. Duh. Break out the shovels, gather a band and make some potato salad! It’s time for a vampire heart burning party!
These vampire slayings were often downright festive, with townspeople making merry as family members consumed the ashes of the vampire’s heart in an attempt to cure whatever plague was sweeping through the community that week. So yeah, if you had mentioned vampire slaying to the real Abraham Lincoln he totally might’ve been up for it, provided he wasn’t busy posing for the back of the penny that day or something.
On second thought, maybe a guy who looks like this shouldn’t show up at a vampire killing party.
Hey by the way, unearthing these kind of morbid true-life tales is kind of an annual tradition of mine. Why don’t you pop over to Cracked and check out my latest Creepy Urban Legends That Happen to be True piece?
via The Week