'Vampire' Graves Unearthed in Poland

The skeletons' heads were found between their legs

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 13, 2013 7:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – No word on whether they kept garlic or a crucifix nearby as they dug, but Polish archaeologists say they've unearthed four "vampire" skeletons. The remains were found with the head placed between their legs; folk tradition held that this burial arrangement would ensure that a possible bloodsucker couldn't find his head and come back to life. Though an archaeologist tells Polskie Radio that "it's very difficult to tell when these burials were carried out" due to their lack of jewelry or other items that could be dated, they likely occurred long before 1914—the date of the last recorded "vampire" burial in the country.

The skeletons were found on a construction site near Gliwice, in southern Poland, and tests are being conducted on the remains. The Telegraph goes into greater (and gorier) detail about the ritual, which was said to be common in the Slavic region after the advent of Christianity there: Believed vampires would either be decapitated or hanged until their body naturally fell from the head due to decomposition. LiveScience points out that there were other ways to deal with suspected vampires, like using metal stakes to secure the corpse to the ground. Archaeologists in Bulgaria made just such a discovery last year.

Vampire stock art is really awful, so we went with a spooky moon.
Vampire stock art is really awful, so we went with a spooky moon.   (Shutterstock)
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