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Art in vampire tombs
Articles | 30 NOV 2023 Por Redacción

There is much talk about the unjust public executions of witches, but, just as those women were capriciously pointed out and sentenced to death, there were other types of rumors and legends that meant torture of innocent victims. We are talking about vampirism and the so macabre and interesting art that emerged in the tombs and mausoleums of those who thought they were vampires.

Origin of vampires

It is difficult to say with certainty when the stories about vampires originated since different cultures have their own version of these undead beings. However, it is known that, from the 18th century, multiple legends circulated in central and eastern Europe, about vampires and how to identify them.

There were even completely real diseases that collective hysteria ended up twisting and turning into vampirism. Many people with real diseases, deformities or certain disabilities were called vampires, which ended in torture and horrible deaths for them. The history of vampirism is more extensive than it seems, so we are going to focus on the ideas that led people to make the graves of those they accused as vampires special.

Symbology in Mausoleums and tombs

Being undead entities, it was a challenge for the imagination of the eighteenth century to conceive ways to end the lives of these beings, so torture and burials were processes that today still surprise us with the cruelty and meaninglessness that characterizes them. A good example would be the stakes on the chest. Many of the characteristics that we can find in the graves of vampires - stakes on the chest, bodies decapitated, chained, turned upside down, among others - arose with the intention of not allowing vampires to leave their coffins once buried, since there was the idea that even after all the rituals with which they tortured and killed them, they would come back to life.

Finally, they had to be prevented from escaping, so the impossible was done to prevent them from opening their graves and some tomb looter from letting them out without knowing what they were doing. For this reason, the tombs of the aforementioned vampires were particular.

These had marks, sculptures and other elements that separated them from the rest and indicated to those who saw them, that a vampire was contained there.

These elements were quite graphic, some were part of the story - or what they imagined - of the life of the deceased and his acts as a vampire. There are sculptures in which you can see fierce heads with prominent fangs and pointed ears.

There are symbols that are related to vampires as well, such as bats, wolf heads, skulls and even inverted torches. It should be noted that these elements are what are known to be found specifically in the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France.

Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

This cemetery is famous not only for the number of important personalities who rest there - such as Eugène Delacroix, Chopin and Oscar Wilde - it is also varied in terms of the religions of those who rest there, it practically does not discriminate against pagans. Among the mausoleums that can be found there, those that can be identified as "of vampires" have one of the best architectural and sculptural works of the place, even some are the origin of vampire legends and not the end.

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