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Epidemic

Volume XIII, Number 3 | summer 2020

Miscellany

During the fifth century, the body of a ten-year-old child was buried in the Umbrian town of Lugnano with a rock inside its mouth. The practice was part of a folk custom intended to prevent corpses from turning into vampires and infecting the living with malaria. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said the lead archaeologist who uncovered the skeleton in 2018.

Death from the bubonic plague is rated, with crucifixion, among the nastiest human experiences of all.

—Guy R. Williams, 1975

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