The Vampire of Venice
Among the corpses of medieval plague victims was one very curious find: a skull with a brick shoved so forcefully between its jaws, they were broken. The technique was used on suspected vampires in Europe during this time, especially when natural biological processes after death resulted in dark blood-like liquid streaming from the mouth. Researchers have determined that not only was this elderly woman feared a vampire after her death, she may have been accused of witchcraft before she met her end. Most people didn’t live to be her age, estimated at 60-71 years, and many medieval Europeans believed that the devil gave the elderly powers to cheat death. Older women were particularly suspect because it was assumed that they had little to live for, and were vulnerable to offers of power.