Science & Tech

Padlocked 'vampire' child found buried in horrifying discovery

Padlocked 'vampire' child found buried in horrifying discovery

The site was near another grave where a female “vampire” was found in 2022

Professor Dariusz Poliński, Nicolaus Copernicus University

Archaeologists have found the remains of a 17th century “vampire child” burial in Poland, in a discovery which shines a light on how the unwanted and rejected people were treated in death.

The infant occupant of the grave had been padlocked and buried face down, in a practice designed to stop the dead coming back to haunt the living.

The site was near another grave where a female “vampire” was found in 2022 in a similar state, but with an iron sickle across her neck.

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Professor Darisz Poliński from Poland’s Nicolaus Copernicus University told IFL Science that burying people facedown was a common precaution against suspected “vampires” because it was thought they “bit into the dirt”.

Nearby, Polińsky and his team discovered the remains of three other children in a pit, with traces of copper, potassium permanganate and gold on the bone surrounding the teeth.

Poliński said this could be because of a potion designed to treat people’s vampirism.

He said: “The main meaning of this site is that we can learn more about [what] the main traditions and customs were for the context of treating people who were ‘different’, yes, and excluding people who were different.

“All the features here indicate that this was a graveyard for the excluded, for those who should be forgotten”.

He added that when it came to suspected vampires, “it did not matter who the person was,” rich or poor. People suspected of vampirism would be cast into peripheral graveyards along with other “outsiders”.

The female “vampire” found in 2022 appears to have been quite wealthy. “She had been buried with a cap which had gold thread in it,” said Poliński.

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