A team of researchers from the Nicolaus Copernicus University of Torun has found the remains of a woman suspected of being a “vampire” in a 17th-century Polish cemetery, with a sickle around her neck and a triangular padlock on her big toe. foot to prevent him from resuscitating.
Magdalena Zagrodzka, who represented the research team, and Professor Dariusz Poliński, from Nicholas Copernicus University, who led the archaeological excavation, said that the human remains found in the town of Pień also had a silk headdress, which was woven with thread of gold or silver, which means that the unnamed woman was young and of a high social class.
The padlock and sickle, on the other hand, are related to 17th-century superstitions, which probably means that “presumably, for some reason, those who buried the woman were afraid that she would rise from the grave, perhaps they feared it was a vampire,” according to a statement sent to DW.
It is also believed that the farming tool, placed with the blade on the neck, cut off the head of the deceased if he tried to “get up”.
“The lock and sickle may have protected against the return of the deceased, which was probably feared. In this context, these practices can be considered anti-vampiric,” Zagrodzka said.
The cemetery was originally excavated between 2005 and 2009, but a recent survey this summer revealed even more graves, one of which archaeologists described as “sensational” and especially unique.
It is not known for sure how he died; it is possible that she was murdered or that she died of an illness. However, as reported IFL Science, Poliński does not believe that she was sentenced to death in a witch trial, since normally such people were hastily thrown into makeshift graves near the gallows.
fear of vampires
In the 11th century, citizens of Eastern Europe expressed their fear of vampires and began treating their dead with anti-vampire rituals, according to the magazine Smithsonianas they believed that “some people who died came out of the grave like bloodsucking monsters that terrified the living”.
In the seventeenth century, according to ScienceAlert, these burial practices “became common throughout Poland in response to an alleged vampire outbreak.”
“The 17th century was a time when people believed in vampires. In the case of this enigmatic tomb in Pień there are more questions than answers,” Poliński said, adding that “in addition to the practices with the sickle, sometimes the corpses were burned, crushed with stones or had their heads and legs cut off”.
More analysis is needed in the Polish cemetery
The research team plans to carry out further analysis in the cemetery, with the help of new technologies to be able to survey the area, and more researchers from the Institute of Archeology of the University of Krakow will carry out DNA tests on the remains, to learn more about the nameless woman.
But this is not the first such discovery in the country. In 2016, Polish archaeologists excavated a series of 13th- and 14th-century graves near the town of Górzyca and discovered three skeletons that had unusual holes in their spines, suggesting they had been nailed to prevent them from rising again. .
Edited by Felipe Espinosa Wang.