A female ‘vampire”s skeletal remains were discovered in a 17th-century Polish churchyard, with a sickle across her neck to prevent her from rising from the dead.
According to the Daily Mail, Professor Dariusz Poliski of Nicholas Copernicus University directed the archaeological investigation that led to the discovery of the bones, which were discovered wearing a silk cap and with a protruding front tooth.
“The sickle was not positioned flat, but was placed on the victim’s neck in such a way that if the deceased tried to get up… the head would have been chopped off or wounded,” Poliski told the Daily Mail.
According to Smithsonian magazine, in the 11th century, populations of Eastern Europe reported vampire worries and began treating their dead with anti-vampire rituals, believing that “some people who died would claw their way out of the grave as blood-sucking monsters that tormented the living.”
According to ScienceAlert, similar burial practices “became prevalent across Poland in reaction to a claimed outbreak of vampires” during the 17th century.
“Other methods of preventing the return of the dead include cutting off the deceased’s head or legs, laying the body face down to bite into the ground, burning them, and shattering them with a stone,” Poliski told the New York Post.
Though other traditional anti-vampire burial tactics included hammering a metal rod through the skeleton, the remains discovered in Poland had the sickle across the neck and a padlocked toe to confine her.
According to Poliński, the padlocked big toe linked to the skeleton’s left foot likely represented “the closing of a stage and the difficulty of returning.”
Poliński did not react promptly to Insider’s request for comment.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.