In a graveyard in Connecticut, one particular grave stands out. Dating back to the late 18th century, its occupant is a man who is suspected of being a vampire. According to Live Science, a digital science news website, the person who died there was suspected to be dug up and reburied again, but this time, his head and limbs were piled on top of his ribcage.
Formerly known only as "JB-55," his initials and age when he died — archaeologists have now revealed the identity of the man, who's name was spelled out on his coffin in embedded brass tacks. Based on the results, the "vampire" was a man named John Barber — and had been suspected to be a poor farmer who lived a hard life as he appeared to have died from tuberculosis, announced a representative of the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland.
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From the findings and the condition of Barber's skeleton, the experts believed that he may have been suffering from a poorly-healed broken collarbone and an arthritic knee. However, the disease tuberculosis was believed to what has really killed him as it left lesions on his ribs — his condition making his family and friends believe that he was, in fact, a vampire.
Tuberculosis was a common disease during the 18th and 19th centuries, where the illness usually left its victims pale, weak, emaciated and produced ulcers in an individual's lungs. As reported by Jennifer Higginbotham, a DNA researcher, people who had tuberculosis often had bloodstains at the corners of their mouths from coughing up blood and their gums would recede, which would explain why their teeth looked longer.
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In order to settle the issue once and for all, suspected vampires' corpses were dug up and searched for "signs of life" that would identify them as vampires, such as long fingernails and hair, along with fluids running or dribbling from their mouths. Even though we know that these bodily functions occur when a corpse starts decomposing, distraught New Englanders in the past thought them as proof that their beloved relative or neighbor was a vampire or a supernatural creature.