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The Source:

P.V. Glob :
"The Bog People - Iron-Age Man Preserved"
Faber & Faber, London, UK, 1988

The Case:

In 1936 a young boy was working in a bog near Bocksten farm in order to collect peat. He discovered a skeleton. The police was notified and they came along together with a doctor. They decided that this body was too old for criminal investigation so they contacted someone from the local museum. It was found that the dead man had probably died from a blow to the head. He had been fixed to the bottom of the bog by a couple of stakes that had been hammered through his heart and back. And so the body was moved to the museum.

The Date:

The body of the Bocksten Man was discovered in the summer of 1936. As to the date of his death, that is not easy to say but most experts seem to agree that the man must have died some time between 1250 and 1500. These dates are based on his style of clothes as well as radiocarbon dating. The museum does not believe in confusing its visitors, so they simply have it that the Bocksten Man dates back to the 14th Century. Which sounds good enough for me.

The Place:

The Bocksten Man was found near a farm called Bocksten, some 25 km East of Varberg. The remains and clothes are now on display in the Länsmuseet Varberg. The museum has also made a reconstruction of the face and body. And Varberg can be found on the West coast of Sweden, somewhere South of Goteborg.

Personal Comments:

Now I am not saying or even suggesting that the Bocksten Man was a vampire. But his murderers must have been afraid that his corpse would rise from his watery grave to haunt them and take revenge. Which seems like a plausible explanation for the fact that they went through the trouble of putting those stakes through his body.

Remember that in the 14th Century the word "vampire" did not exist. But people did believe in dead bodies rising from the grave, and they took measures to protect themselves. In many cases they are the same kind of measures that have later been used against vampires, once they had been given that name. Please remember also that - unless someone proves me wrong - I do not believe in the dead returning from the grave. But I must admit that I am interested in these superstitions, and fascinated by the people who believe in such things.

And in case you are interested in corpses found in bogs, I can think of no better introduction than the book by Mr. Glob mentioned on top of this page. There is a wealth of information. There are plenty of interesting photos. Go find yourself a copy of it.

© 2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009

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