Researchers have recently discovered a centuries-old “female vampire” held to the ground by a sickle and buried in a Polish village cemetery.
The remains of the so-called vampire were found by a team of Toruń Nicholas Copernicus University researchers in Pień, roughly a half-hour drive from the city of Bydgoszcz, according to Turkish media site Arkeonews.
The skeleton reportedly dates to the 17th century and has a sickle around its neck, believed to be placed there to prevent her from coming back to life. There was also a padlock on a toe, the researchers said, also attributed to superstitions about how to keep the dead from rising from the grave.
The woman was also buried with a silk cap, which archaeologists thought indicated her high ranking in society. A front tooth jutted out of the mouth, a feature that could have raised suspicions that she was a vampire, Arkeonews said.
“Such a discovery, especially here in Poland, is astonishing, especially now — centuries later. Pure astonishment,” said professor Dariusz Polinski, the leader of the research team, told CBS News.
Polinski told Arkeonews that there were several methods the superstitious used to protect themselves against the dead who had been accused of being vampires and witches, including cutting off heads or legs, burning, smashing bodies against stone and placing their faces toward the ground.
The sickle also could have cut the dead person’s head if they tried to rise again.
More research is expected at the Polish cemetery as researchers from Poland’s Institute of Archaeology at the University of Krakow test the DNA of the skeleton, CBS News revealed.