A recent archaeological discovery was made by workers digging a road in Poland. A grave containing 450 headless 'vampire' skeletons was found with the skulls placed between their legs and coins in their mouths. This was believed to stop the dead from returning from the grave and to ensure their passage to the afterlife. This is a rare and intriguing example of how people in the past dealt with their fears of the undead and tried to prevent them from rising again.
The grave site was located in Luzino, a village in northeast Poland, next to an 18th century church. The road workers who stumbled upon it were shocked to see hundreds of human bones, some of which had been decapitated or placed in unusual positions. The archaeologists who examined the site confirmed that these were signs of anti-vampire rituals that were common in the 19th century in this region.
According to Maciej Stromski, who led the excavation, some of the skeletons had bricks next to their head, arms and legs, which were supposed to immobilize them. One skeleton belonged to a woman who had been beheaded and had a child's skull on her chest.
Stromski explained that these practices were motivated by superstition and fear of vampires, which were thought to be responsible for causing diseases and deaths among the living. If a family member died shortly after another's funeral, it was suspected that the first deceased was a vampire who had drained their life force. To prevent further harm, the grave was dug up and the corpse was mutilated or reburied in a different way.
The belief in vampires was widespread in Europe for centuries and influenced many folk tales and legends. However, it was not until the late 19th century that vampires became popularized in literature and media, thanks to works such as Bram Stoker's Dracula and Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla. These stories portrayed vampires as aristocratic, seductive and powerful beings, rather than as decaying corpses.
The discovery of the grave site in Luzino is a valuable source of information for historians and anthropologists who study the culture and beliefs of people in the past. It also shows us how fear can shape our behavior and imagination, and how we try to cope with the unknown and the mysterious.
Workers horrified as 450 headless ‘vampire' skeletons found while digging up road (msn.com)
Author and Voodoo Muser, setting lights, working mojo, throwing wanga, and working wonders in liminal spaces and dusty crossroads.