The skeleton of what archaeologists believe was a 17th-century “vampire” was discovered near Bydgoszcz, Poland. According to the team of researchers from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, the body identified in the village of Pień had a scythe attached to its neck, which could “prevent it from returning to life”, as well as a padlock on the left big toe.
According to Magdalena Zagrodzka, who is part of the study, the discovery is unprecedented in Poland. “This is a unique find. There has never been anything like it before,” she said. The unfortunates labeled witches or vampires have been feared from time immemorial, even after apparent death. In the past, people did their best to keep them from returning from the grave.
Professor Dariusz Poliński, who led the team, explained that the finding is different because forms of protection against the return of the dead typically included cutting off the head or legs, placing the deceased face down to bite the ground, burn them and crush them with a stone. “[A foice] It was not placed horizontally, but placed on the neck in such a way that if the deceased had tried to get up, the head would likely have been cut off or injured,” he added.
“Vampira” had a padlock on her big toe
There was yet another object in the tomb, a closed padlock on the “vampire’s” left big toe. According to Professor Poliński, “this symbolizes the closing of a stage and the impossibility of returning”.
Archaeologists said the way the woman was buried was also unusual. She was buried with great care, which they pointed out was surprising for classic anti-vampiric practices. On her head was a silk cap, very expensive in the 17th century, which archaeologists say indicates high social status.
Although this is the first case in Poland of “vampire burial” using a scythe around the neck, many other suspected cases have been uncovered. Several skeletons with severed heads were found in 2008 in Krakow.
In 2014, in Kamień Pomorskie, a body was discovered with a piece of brick forcefully placed in the mouth, so that all the upper teeth were pulled out. His leg was also pierced so he wouldn’t rise from the grave.
Pień’s unearthed remains were taken to Toruń, where they will undergo a detailed examination.
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