The face of a man “suspected of being a vampire” from the 19th century has been digitally reconstructed. Additionally, the work may have pinned down the identity of this mystery man using DNA submitted to genealogy websites.
Parabon NanoLabs and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory worked together to produce the reconstruction, which was revealed at the International Symposium on Human Identification conference in Washington DC this week, according to an ad.
The reconstruction is based on the skeleton of a middle-aged man discovered in 1990. in the town of Griswold, Conn. His 19th-century coffin lid had brass studs spelling “JB55,” but his full name is not known, as it appears he was buried in an unmarked grave.
A body study in 2019 argued that the man was suspected of being a vampire. His body appeared to have been dug up and reburied because his limbs had been placed across his chest in an X-shaped skull and crossbones configuration, a ritual usually performed for those accused of being a vampire.
In addition to this, there is evidence that the man may have died of a chronic lung infection, perhaps tuberculosis, as evidenced by some injuries to his ribs.
vampires around the world
Vampire-like figures appear in cultures around the worldfrom ancient China, Poland and even the pre-Columbian Americas, which has led some researchers to believe that the mythical phenomenon may be based on a real illness.
It is unlikely that a single disease provides a single origin for all vampire myths, although a likely candidate is tuberculosis. For example, a seriously ill person with this disease may have appeared pale with gaunt cheeks and receding gums that made the teeth appear longer, like fangs.
Using genetic material from the body and a 3D scan of the skull, the researchers pieced together what this man might have looked like. They estimated that about 10 times as much data would be needed to accurately measure his appearance, but the evidence they do have provided some important clues.
DNA analysis suggested that JB55 had very fair or light skin (92.2% confidence), brown or hazel eyes (99.8% confidence), dark hair (97.7% confidence), and some freckles (50.0% confidence). .
Even if it managed to get high-quality samples, genetics is too complex to analyze DNA and predict what a person’s face looks like, but the project enlisted the help of Thom Shaw, a Parabon forensic artist, to measure its shape. the face based on the 3D scan of the skull.
For their final trick, the researchers used genetic genealogy in an attempt to reveal the identity of the unknown man. The 2019 study also compared JB55’s DNA to profiles on publicly accessible family tree websites, revealing two close matches to the surname “Barber.”
This is the kind of investigation that recently solved a bunch of unsolved murder cases, including the identification of the “Lady of the Dunes”one of the most famous homicide mysteries in Massachusetts.
A further search of historical records led the team to a death notice that mentioned a man named John Barber who was buried in the Griswold Cemetery. This name also perfectly matched the initials “JB” on the casket.
This latest work also found that JB55 has ancestors with the Barber surname who lived in New England in the 18th and 19th centuries, supporting the original hypothesis that it was perhaps John Barber.
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