Archaeologists have discovered the skeletal remains of a supposed Medieval “vampire” at a dig site in Poland. The remains were of a female who was buried on her back, with a sickle placed over her throat; experts say the arrangement was done to ensure that if the dead woman were to rise again, her head would be severed from her body.
As Professor Dariusz Poliński from Nicholas Copernicus University explains: “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.”
Additional Details so far include the fact that the woman wore a silk cap – a possible indicator of high social status – and one of her front teeth was seen to be “protruding.” There was also a padlock attached to the big toe of her left foot – possibly as a symbol of life being permanently over and done.
Horror fascinations of today like vampires (or zombies, werewolves, and other supernatural monsters) have been part of mythology going back to the Medieval era (and beyond). Scientists have routinely found examples in various cultures around the world of the dead being buried or entombed with certain precautions in place to ensure they could not escape the grave and terrorize the living again.
“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,” Professor Poliński explains.
Medieval “Vampire” Skeleton Discovered in Poland
The dark mythology of the dead coming to life and/or spreading their death went hand-in-hand with the calamities of ancient times – with vampires being an obvious metaphor for plague, for example. Dr Lesley Gregoricka, of the University of South Alabama, breaks it down:
“People of the post-medieval period did not understand how disease was spread, and rather than a scientific explanation for these epidemics, cholera and the deaths that resulted from it were explained by the supernatural – in this case, vampires.”
This method of burial in Poland has been discovered before: in 2014 six skeletons at a 400-year-old cemetery were discovered all buried – a middle-aged man and woman in the group were both found to be buried with sickles over throats.
Hopefully, the people of Medieval Poland were just overly superstitious and paranoid. Because if they truly went to all that trouble with burials because they knew something we don’t… the vampire horror genre is about to get moved over to the nonfiction section…