The skeleton of a “vampire woman” with a scythe around her neck was found at a cemetery site in Poland during the 17th century. According to the researchers responsible for the discovery, from Nicolaus Copernicus University, the remains were also found with a padlock attached to one of the toes.
The work was carried out by a team led by Professor Dariusch Polinsky, who told the British Daily Mail that this was an unusual type of burial. Such measures, according to the professor, were used, for example, in order to “protect against the return of the dead.”
“Methods of protection against the return of the dead include cutting off the head or legs, placing the deceased on his stomach, cremation and crushing with a stone,” Polinsky said.
He added that “the sickle was not placed horizontally, but was placed on the neck so that if the deceased tried to get up, it is likely that the head was cut off or injured.”
In the discovery, the professor’s team also found that the skeleton wore a thirsty hat on its head, indicating that it may have belonged to someone of high stature at the time of its burial.
In 2015, archaeologists in the village of Dryusko, about 20 kilometers away, found five similarly buried skeletons in a 400-year-old cemetery.
A sickle was found pressed against the throat of an adult male, aged 35-44, and an adult female, aged 35-39.
An elderly woman, who was in her fifties and sixties when she died, was buried, with a scythe on her hips and a medium-sized stone in her throat.
Two other graves were also found, both with a scythe lodged in their throats: the grave of an adult woman between 30 and 39 years old, and another of a young woman who was between 14 and 19 years old.
The researchers who made the discovery at the time said that this was done “to ensure that the dead remained in their graves”, but also “to protect the dead from evil forces”.
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