GENERICO.ruScienceIn Poland dug up "immortal horror": the grave of an old "zombie" was opened

In Poland dug up “immortal horror”: the grave of an old “zombie” was opened

What are the mysteries of the 'vampire child' buried?

Researchers in Poland have unearthed the grave of a 17th-century woman buried with a sickle around her neck and a padlock on her leg. Nearby were found the remains of children with a padlock under their feet. Their owner was nicknamed the “vampire child” in the media.

What secrets does the burial of the

If reports of the time are to be believed, 17th-century Poland was infested with “revenants” (or “animated corpses”)—not vampires, but proto-zombies who harassed the living by drinking their blood or, less troublingly, by causing a stir in their homes. writes The New York Times. In one story, dating back to 1674, a dead man rose from the grave to attack his relatives. And when his grave was opened, the corpse was unnaturally preserved and carried traces of fresh blood.

Such reports were so widespread that a wide range of means were used to prevent the reanimation of corpses: they cut out their hearts, nailed them into graves, drove stakes into their legs, hammered bricks into their jaws (to prevent them from chewing their way out). In 1746, a Benedictine monk named Antoine Augustin Calmet published a popular treatise in which, among other things, he tried to distinguish between real “Revenantos” and fraudsters.

Four centuries later, archaeologists in Europe discovered the first physical evidence of the supposed existence of a revenant child. During excavations at an unmarked fraternal cemetery on the outskirts of the village of Pien, near the Polish city of Bydgoszcz, researchers from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń discovered the remains of what was widely referred to in news reports as a “vampire child.” The corpse, believed to have been about 6 years old at the time of death, was buried face down with a triangular iron padlock under the left leg, probably in an attempt to tie the child to the grave and prevent him from harassing his family and neighbors.

“The padlock was attached to the big toe,” said Dariusz Polinsky, a lead archaeologist who participated in the study. Some time after the burial, the grave was desecrated and all the bones were removed, with the exception of the lower limbs.

“The child was buried in a prone position, so if he had come back from the dead and tried to get up, he would have been biting into the mud instead,” says Dr. Polinsky. “As far as we know, this is the only example of such a burial of a child in Europe.” The remains of three other children were found in a hole next to the child's grave. In the pit was a fragment of a jaw with a green stain, which, according to Dr. Polinsky, was left by a copper coin placed in the mouth – an ancient and common burial practice.

The necropolis, a makeshift cemetery for the poor and what Dr. Polinsky called “forsaken souls excluded by society,” was discovered 18 years ago under a sunflower field on a hillside. It was not part of a church and, as far as local historical records indicate, was not on consecrated ground. So far, about 100 graves have been discovered at the site, including one just a few feet from the nursery, which contained the skeleton of a woman with a lock on her toe and an iron sickle around her neck. “The sickle was meant to cut off a woman’s head if she tried to stand up,” Dr. Polinsky explained.

Chemical analysis showed that the green stain in her mouth was not from a coin, but from something more complex. The remains contained traces of gold, potassium permanganate, and copper, which Dr. Polinsky thought might have come from a potion prepared to treat her ailments. The cause of the woman's death is unclear, but whatever it was must have horrified those who buried her.

A woman and a child do not qualify as vampires, says Martin Ready, a historian at University College London. Vampires, he noted, are a special type of ghost; their characteristics were first identified in the 1720s by Austrian officials from the Habsburg dynasty, who encountered suspected vampirists in what is now northern Serbia and wrote reports that ended up in the medical journals of the time.

“He was absolutely it is clear that in popular local legend the vampire had three characteristics: he was a revenant, he fed on the living, and he was contagious,” Dr. Ready said.

There are two types of walking dead in Polish legends, writes The New York Times. The ghoul, which was later replaced by a “vampire”, is similar to the cinematic Dracula, embodied by White Lugosi. Striga was more like a witch — “that is, in the old fairy tale sense, an evil female spirit or demon that preys on people, can eat them or drink their blood,” says Al Raidnur, a folklorist from Los Angeles.


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