A 17th century female ‘vampire’ was found buried in Poland with a sickle across her neck in order to prevent her from rising from the dead and feasting on the blood of the living. She also had a padlock attached to her big toe. Now I’m not sure if the protruding front tooth was reason enough to suspect she was a vampire or if she was actually caught biting somebody, but my guess is thank God for modern orthodontics.
“The sickle was not laid flat but placed on the neck in such a way that if the deceased had tried to get up… the head would have been cut off or injured,” Poliński told the Daily Mail.
In the 11th century, citizens of Eastern Europe reported fears of vampires and began treating their dead with anti-vampire rituals, according to Smithsonian magazine, believing that “some people who died would claw their way out of the grave as blood-sucking monsters that terrorized the living”.
By the 17th century, ScienceAlert reported such burial practices “became common across Poland in response to a reported outbreak of vampires.”
The padlocked big toe attached to the skeleton’s left foot, Poliński told the Daily Mail, likely symbolized “the closing of a stage and the impossibility of returning”.
There is no doubt in my mind that if I lived in the 17th century that I would have been accused of being an undead warlock. And not just because I did live through the 17th century and was accused of being an undead warlock on countless occasions, but to those villagers’ credit, they were right. That didn’t save them from the Pit of Despair though.