Skeletons with iron rods pierced through their chest were found in Bulgaria recently. No, this isn’t out of Bram Stokers “Dracula,” and it isn’t proof of the existence of vampires either. What it appears to be is paranoia, and fear of the unknown, especially the supper natural.
During the plague years in Europe, roughly 1300-1700, it was common to reopen fresh graves to add bodies. When this was done the grave diggers would find freshly decomposing bodies with bloated guts and their teeth piercing through their lips. The lack of germ theory led people to believe that the corpse was eating the other bodies in the grave. I mean it made sense. The corpse had blood dripping down its mouth, and a bulging belly, kind of like me on Thanksgiving but with gravy dripping down my face. When the digger would see this he would drive a steak through the heart of the “undead” creature (probably where the way to kill a vampire comes from), and wedge a stone in its mouth. They would then drive iron rods through the chest to make sure the body stayed in its grave and couldn’t terrorize the people.
So when these graves have been found, as they have been found all over Bulgaria, Serbia, and the Balkans, it may appear to be the skeleton of a vampire, which indeed is what people thought it was at the time, but it is really just a victim of the plague. It is interesting to see things like this and realize where myths and legends come from.