During epidemics, mass graves were often reopened to bury fresh corpses and diggers would chance upon older bodies that were bloated, with blood seeping out of their mouth and with an inexplicable hole in the shroud used to cover their face.
“These characteristics are all tied to the decomposition of bodies,” Borrini said. “But they saw a fat, dead person, full of blood and with a hole in the shroud, so they would say: ‘This guy is alive, he’s drinking blood and eating his shroud.'”
At the time however, what passed for scientific texts taught that “shroud-eaters” were vampires who fed on the cloth and cast a spell that would spread the plague in order to increase their ranks.
To kill the undead creatures, the stake-in-the-heart method popularized by later literature was not enough: A stone or brick had to be forced into the vampire’s mouth so that it would starve to death, Borrini said.
(from Yahoo News)
If you happen to wrap yourself in a shroud and stick a brick in your mouth this Halloween , be sure to let me know the kind of reaction you get…