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‘Vampire’ found in 17th century grave with sickle across neck

Archaeologists have dug up the skeletal remains of a ‘female vampire’ from a 17th century Polish graveyard.

September 06, 2022 / 08:59 AM IST

Archaeologists have dug up the skeletal remains of a ‘female vampire’ from a 17th century Polish graveyard. According to The Mirror, the woman had a sickle placed across her neck and a padlock on her toe. She also had a protruding tooth, which researchers say could have led to people in the 17th century into believing she was a vampire.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, anti-vampire rituals came into practice in Eastern Europe as far back as the 11th century when a belief took hold that “some people who died would claw their way out of the grave as blood-sucking monsters.”

In the 1600s, superstitions and legends about vampires were so widespread in Poland and other parts of Europe that people thought to be vampires were often executed. Many were buried with a sickle over their throat – a restraint thought to prevent the rise of the dead.

The remains of this particular female ‘vampire’ were found by Professor Dariusz Poliński and a team of researchers from Nicolaus Copernicus University.

“Ways to protect against the return of the dead include cutting off the head or legs, placing the deceased face down to bite into the ground, burning them, and smashing them with a stone,” Poliński told the Daily Mail.


“[The sickle] was not laid flat but placed on the neck in such a way that if the deceased had tried to get up most likely the head would have been cut off or injured.”

He added that the padlock placed around the woman’s neck likely indicated “the closing of a stage and the impossibility of returning.”

The discovery in Pien comes seven years after five other presumed vampires were found buried in the village of Drawsko about 130 miles away. Four of the skeletons were found with sickles pressed against their throats, while one more had a stone at the throat and a sickle placed across the hips.
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first published: Sep 6, 2022 08:58 am
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