Construction workers digging up a road in northeast Poland made a grim discovery last week. They found a mass grave with around 450 skeletons in it. These were not just any old skeletons, however. They were suspected vampires.
The discovery was made during a road project in the small town of Luzino. Many of the decapitated bodies had their skulls placed between their legs, with a coin in each of their mouths. This is just one of many strange burial rituals that swept through Eastern Europe, starting around a thousand years ago. People were so worried about their loved ones rising from the dead that they began mutilating their bodies.
In about 30% of the vampire graves that have been uncovered so far, they also found bricks placed next to the legs, arms, and hands — although it’s unknown what that was supposed to do. Some of the skulls had a metal stake driven through them, as opposed to the wooden stake through the heart in popular fiction. Vampire stories date back to the 11th century in Poland, and the country went through several waves of hysteria as people thought their relatives were coming back as vampires.
Nicolaus Copernicus University Professor Dariusz Poliski is an expert on this odd tradition from Polish history. He told the Daily Mail, “Other ways to protect against the return of the dead include cutting off the head or legs, placing the deceased face down to bite into the ground, burning them, and smashing them with a stone.”
So, at least there was some real science behind it!
Unfortunately for the folks in Luzino, the road project is probably going to be delayed for a while as archaeologists have to dig up the bodies and move them elsewhere. There’s no word on how long that will take. Hopefully, none of the skeletons will wander off in the meantime now that the workers have accidentally released them.