This week, researchers announced that archaeologists have discovered the remains of a “vampire” in a cemetery in Poland.
Polish researchers found the remains of a woman with a scythe around her neck and a triangular padlock on her foot in a cemetery in the village of Pień. The cultivation tool, according to ancient beliefs, was supposed to prevent a deceased person believed to be a vampire from returning from the dead.
The research team, led by Professor Dariusch Polinsky of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, made the unique discovery in late August.
In an interview with the Polish news agency PAP, Magdalena Zagrodzka, who represented the research team, said that the human remains also contained a silk headdress, woven with gold or silver thread. While the lock and sickle are associated with 17th century superstition, Zagrodzka said the hat is evidence of the deceased’s high social standing.
Zagrodzka said that the sickle and the lock “may have protected against the return of the deceased, which was probably feared. In this context, these practices can be considered so-called anti-vampires.” The planting tool with the blade was placed on the neck. It was believed that such an arrangement would cause decapitation if the deceased tried to “get up”.
This type of practice became popular throughout Poland in the 17th century, in response to a reported vampire epidemic. Polanski explained that in addition to practices using a machete, corpses were sometimes burned, smashed with stones, or had their heads and legs cut off.
Experts plan to further research the tomb, with the help of new technologies to survey the area. In addition, researchers from the Institute of Archeology at the University of Krakow will conduct DNA testing on the remains to learn more about the deceased woman.
In an interview with CBS News, Polinsky said the discovery left him speechless.
“Such a discovery, especially here in Poland, is amazing, especially now – centuries later,” he said. “Pure amazement.”
This is not the first discovery of its kind in the country. Archaeologists led by Leslie Grigorica of the University of South Alabama in the US found six so-called “vampire skeletons” in a cemetery in northwestern Poland in 2014.
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