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Entries in Graves (2)

Tuesday
Jul032012

Teeth Thief Hits Graves of Great Composers in Austria

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(VIENNA) -- Dentures of two of the world's most famous composers have allegedly been stolen from their graves by a Slovak man who boasts of his crimes on YouTube saying he intends to use the purloined choppers to start a museum.

Ondrej Jajcaj, the self confessed thief, says the teeth he extracted from the tombs of the famous 19th century composers Johann Strauss and Johannes Brahms will be part of an exhibition of hundreds of objects plundered from more ordinary graves.

The man was identified in Austrian media reports simply by his initials, O.J.  But a search on the Internet reveals Ondrej Jajcaj, who calls himself the Freedom Undertaker, taking his Internet viewers on a tour of "graves of honor" in the Viennese Central Cemetery, saying that someone has opened the crypts, pointing out fresh dirt uncovered around the tombs.

In one video, Jajcaj gives a tour of his macabre collection of stolen teeth and at one point narrates: "And now, we come to the major pedestal.  On the top are the teeth of Johann Strauss Jr.  To the left there are dentures of his wife Adele Strauss.  To the right, we have rubber prosthesis of Johannes Brahms.  Here, I, as an amateur have managed to build illegal historical collection of dental works."

In 2008, cemetery officials reported that some graves had been tampered with.  As a result, Jajcaj was investigated by Vienna prosecutors for "disturbing the peace of the dead," but they dropped the case because the statute of limitations had run out.

Austrian police again learned of the dastardly dental work when the alleged grave robber released videos bragging about his thefts.

Austrian cops started an investigation in May and they found the claims on the video were true -- the famous musicians' teeth had been removed.

The thief could be facing from six months up to 10 years of prison, claims Thomas Vecsey of the Vienna state prosecutor's office.

"We hope we can charge him with burglary, disturbing the peace of the dead and other related crimes," he told ABC News.  "But the fact that he is not Austrian and does not reside in Austria, complicates things."

He also said that the thefts took place in 2002, which may make them too old to prosecute.

The Federal Criminal Police Office, the Austrian equivalent of the FBI, is checking other graves in the cemetery of such great Viennese composers as Ludwig von Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Arnold Schoenberg.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun072012

‘Vampire’ Graves Unearthed Near Black Sea Town

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SOKOPOL, Bulgaria) -- Sokopol, Bulgaria, could soon join the ranks of popular vampire sites, such as Dracula’s Castle in Romania and the Vampire Museum in Paris. Archaeologists excavated two suspected "vampire" graves in the Black Sea town last Sunday, and each 700-year-old skeleton had an iron rod pinned into its chest.

Bozhidar Dimitrov, the director of the National Museum of History in Sofia, told local media that this was common practice in the Middle Ages, as people feared “bad men” would raise from the dead as vampires. The museum is planning a special exhibit around the two skeletons.  

“Every few years we hear of the latest archaeological find, and its attribution to vampire lore,” said a 33-year-old vampire researcher and the current administrator of Voices of the Vampire Community who goes by the name Merticus.

Most of the vampire folklore originated in Slavic countries, so there is a higher prevalence of burial instances in that region.

“Having such a wide assortment of physical records is invaluable to researchers and enthusiasts,” said Merticus. “The Bulgarian and Italian burial claims in the past couple of years add to the mystery and lure of the vampire across all cultures, even for real vampires."

“Real vampires,” Merticus explains, "believe they must consume the blood of other living humans by consensual means in order to maintain their well-being.”

But rather than worrying about iron stakes through the heart, or being hunted at local hangouts, modern vampires say it’s time to stop focusing on folklore.  

“While exhibits are fascinating, I would like to see more responsible scientific interpretation and less knee-jerk ‘put a vampire on it’ claim, even if the Bulgarian burials are in fact directly linked to vampire lore. As a society we are rapidly approaching vampire overload -- on all fronts.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio