A SKELETON exhumed from a grave in Venice is being claimed as the first known example of the "vampires" widely referred to in contemporary documents.
The evidence for it being a vampire was that she was buried with a brick in her mouth, presumably to keep her from chewing on her burial shroud.
OK, we're pushing the word "medieval" a bit here to the end of the 16th century, but every so often I'll hear tell of a vampire story from before the modern era, and every time I'm struck by how little it resembles what I think a vampire should be. Not every undead creature is a "vampire," but people seem interested in seeing them everywhere, like your favorite saint in a tortilla.
It strikes me that, at minimum, to be a vampire a creature must satisfy the following criteria:
- It must be dead.
- It must have been human in life.
- It must be physically animated.
- It must consume blood in order to maintain undeath/animation.
h/t Medieval News, Archaeology on Europe