Note: Article automatically translated with software from Italian
Continuing in reading the parish chronicles of Val Bregaglia, I focused on a rather particular indication, but let’s read what was written by Reverend Agostino Jegher d’Aver in Vicosoprano in the year 1805, in the winter month of November:
Anna, daughter of Murezi Fabi of San Cascian, on the 9th said the second sign and the small bell were rang to “bury it”, but observing that it was still of natural color it was suspended to “bury it” until the following day, that is to 11. She died 9 and 9 months of Ethisia.
November 1805, Excerpts from Vicosoprano’s death certificates
The first thing that catches the eye are the dates, which are confused, in fact the annotations show the date of the first funeral on the 9th, funeral postponed to the following day, so it should be 10 and not 11. Apart from these temporal inconsistencies, the incident tells the chronicle of a suspected case of apparent death. In fact, we cite the case of a little girl named Anna who dies of tuberculosis at the age of nine years and nine months.
On the day of the funeral, the participants realize that the girl’s color is still “normal”, a clue that suggests that she may still be alive, therefore not dead. However on the 11th, when she was dead, she was buried and then declared dead.
Therefore in this case we speak only of suspicion on the part of the witnesses of the time and not of an actual case. The cases demonstrated and confirmed by the medical literature of apparent death are very rare but not non-existent.
What is apparent death?
In medicine, the so-called apparent death falls within those rare but not impossible cases. The characteristics that can follow one another in a case of apparent death are the absence of consciousness and the relative sensory sensitivity, the almost impossibility of perceiving the heartbeat, especially with the methodologies used in the nineteenth century and the complete absence of respiratory movements. Complete muscle relaxation and relaxation of the sphincters generally also occurs. The mirror test to check for breath in most cases also returns a negative result.
Symptoms that could be confused with vampirism
The one in question that occurred to this little girl from Vicosoprano, in a valley of Italian Switzerland called Bregaglia, in certain historical periods and cultural environments were considered as cases of vampirism. Just think of the cultures of the peoples of Eastern Europe but not only, who considered a corpse which had retained a natural color, as an “undead” or a vampire.
Several scholars believe that the vampire tradition is an ancestral fear, long before the advent of the Christian religion. In fact, in some archaeological excavations they have found several skeletons belonging to different cultures and to different eras, which presented the same burial method. That is, in the mouth the skeleton is filled with a stone, and in several cases a second heavier boulder was positioned above the chest of the deceased. Scholars believe that this practice was carried out by other members of the community with the aim of preventing the dead himself from leaving the tomb.
One of the clues that could suggest to these cultures based on different beliefs and superstitions, could be the fact that the corpse retained its natural color.
The vampire par excellence, Count Dracula
As mentioned, the belief in vampirism has very ancient origins even if this concept was relaunched in a fictional way at the end of the 19th century, in 1897 by the Irish Bram Stoker who wrote Dracula, a legendary figure, identified as the vampire for excellence. In any case, the legendary count “Dracula” refers to a historical figure, known by the name of Vlad III of Wallachia, also called Vlad Țepeș, which translated from Romanian literally means Vlad the impaler.
Vlad III of Wallachia earned this nickname for his fame, in fact legend has it that he feasted in the middle of a “wood” of poles with his enemies stuck on them (or through the practice of swamping) in part still alive, surrounded by unheard of suffering.
In fact, the practice of swamping consisted in sticking a long pole in the stomach or rectum and then letting the unfortunate die on top of it.
This practice was used by Vlad the Impaler, with the aim of using it as a psychological weapon against the army of Sultan Maomentto II, soldiers who found themselves in front of a gruesome spectacle, a forest of poles with their comrades in arms. made prisoners, agonizing and screaming.
It is not difficult to understand why Vlad III was easily associated in 19th century literature with the figure of the vampire Count Dracula.
In any case, not everyone knows that in history, the title of Countess Dracula was also assigned , a noblewoman who is today considered one of the most terrible sadistic serial killers of all time.