Postcard from... Sofia
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 01 November 2013
Nikolai Ovcharov is not a fan of Halloween. He may be one of Bulgaria’s most famous vampire experts, but he prefers a different kind of glass of red. “Sorry to tell you this, but I prefer the young Beaujolais season to Halloween,” he says, referring to the November festival in France to mark the release of bottles of the new vintage.
In fact, Professor Ovcharov is scathing of anything he feels cheapens or sensationalises his archaeological niche. The world may have been astounded by last year’s discovery of a “vampire grave” – a 14th-century skeleton with a stake through its chest – but the academics are a little blasé about it.
“It was a media bomb, we registered enormous interest on this topic,” he says about the find at Sozopol. But he adds that he had made dozens of similar finds over the last two decades, the stakes being part of burial rituals dating back to the 10th century to stop the dead rising as blood-suckers: “We should use these lower interests to show them higher heritage.”
The archaeologist whose team discovered the Sozopol vampire agrees. “It’s ordinary [here],” says Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the Bulgarian National History Museum. “We never made a noise about it.”
- 1 Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
- 2 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 3 Germanwings crash: Descent may have been 'deliberate, suicidal choice' by pilot, claims experts
- 4 Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 5 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...