The ancients didn’t play around when it came to vampires or what they thought were vampires. Archaeologists in Poland have discovered the remains of a centuries-old “vampire” woman buried underground. It was equipped with a trap; a razor sharp scythe just above her neck to make sure she stays in the ground.
Professor Dariusz Poliński from Nicolaus Copernicus University found the intact bones while he and his team were working at the excavation site.
“The sickle was not stretched out, but placed on the neck in such a way that if the deceased had tried to get up, the head would most likely have been cut off or injured,” he told Daily mail.
Although bloodthirsty immortals are evil characters in folklore, people in the Middle Ages believed in their existence. In fact, many cultures have documented paranormal events where they believed creatures were to blame.
One such event happened in Croatia in 1672. The villagers believed that one of their citizens, who had died 16 years before, was returning and feasting on their blood. They also said he sexually assaulted his widow. An order was decreed for his body to be exhumed and a stake driven through his heart. For good measure, they also decapitated him.
“Other ways to protect against the return of the dead include cutting off the head or feet, placing the deceased face down to bite the ground, burning them and washing them with a stone,” Poliński said. New York Post.
In America, vampires seem to have become just part of the bloodstream of pop culture rather than supernatural societal nuisances. In 1922, director FW Murnau released the silent film Nosferatu in the cinema halls. It was an adaptation of his to Bram Stoker Romanian from 1897 Dracula. Stoker’s estate was not happy about this and ordered all prints to be destroyed. Fortunately, some specimens have survived for posterity.
Of course, almost 10 years later Universal Pictures would produce his own film about the charismatic named vampire Dracula with Bela Lugosi. This time they had intellectual property rights and the approval of Stoker’s widow.
The next iteration of the legendary monster will play Nicolas Cage as of Dracula indentured servant in film Renfield.
Far from Hollywood, however, in the 11th century, the fear of vampires was a real concern among some European cultures. Slavic people were so convinced that vampires existed that it became a kind of pandemic. Like the Salem witches, people were executed if they were believed to be vampires.
Tombs like the ones shown above are not uncommon at archaeological digs in some parts of Europe. The fear of the dead rising from their graves to terrorize the villagers is equivalent to Americans’ belief in Bigfoot, perhaps even more so. Researchers at the Poliński site say that placing the traps in the graves with the corpse was a way to protect everyone, including the deceased.
“When placed in burials, they were a guarantee that the deceased remained in their graves and therefore could not harm the living, but they may also have served to protect the dead from evil forces. According to folk wisdom, a sickle protects laboring women, children and the dead against evil spirits. It also had a role in rituals designed to counter black magic and witchcraft.”