The Chewing Dead

National Geographic shows us a 330-year-old book that describes the fear of what we would call zombies or vampires. De Masticatione Mortuorum, Latin for "The Chewing Dead", discusses the customs of the time for preventing corpses from rising up and eating the living. A portion is translated to English:
Our Common People attempt to avert the danger of chewing by placing under the chins of the dead a portion of recently excavated earth, lest they perhaps open their mouths and chew on the attached bands...

Others, who do not consider this a sufficiently safe measure, before the mouth of the dead is closed, also place a stone and a coin in the mouth, so that in the event that it begins to chew within the grave, it would find the stone and coin and would abstain from chewing. Which fact was witnessed in its time in a multitude of places in Saxonia by Gabriel Rollenhagen: Book IV Mirab. Peregrinat chapter 20, n. 5 in Kornmann.

The book is part of this Tuesday's episode of National Geographic Explorer called Vampire Forensics. Link -via Buzzfeed

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"On the Chewing of the Dead" would be a more literal translation of the title, preserving as it does the ambiguity between subjective and objective genitive. Agenbite of inwit.
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When I was trying to make out the label (not having yet read the title or accompanying text) I thought it was about chewing gum, perhaps with something deadly in it, like formaldehyde.

Pretty neat nonetheless.
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