16th century "vampire" burial stirs controversy

The burial of a Venician woman with a brick in her mouth was originally publicized as a suspected vampire. Other researchers dispute this.

The woman was buried in a mass grave with other victims of the 1576 Venetian plague. The archaeologist at the site concluded that the brick may have been placed in her mouth by suspicious gravediggers who suspected her of being a vampire, or shroud-eater.

Other researchers dispute this claim, citing other building rubble surrounding the bodies. They say the brick may have simply lodged in her mouth during a hasty burial.

They also dispute the fear of shroud-eaters, noting that it is a superstition known only to a small part of Germany.