An ‘undead child’ has been found at a ‘vampire graveyard’ in Poland where bodies were buried with bizarre boobytraps to stop them from returning from the grave to prey on the living.
Archaeologists have been digging at the 17th-century cemetery in the village of Pien since a ‘vampire woman’ was found there last year. She was buried facedown, with her foot held in a padlock and a sickle blade across her throat, in an apparent bid to stop her from getting out of the grave and feeding on the living.
Now, archaeologists have discovered the remains of a child buried with similar macabre precautions. However, it seems superstitious villagers may been even more scared of the child than they were the adult woman – as they went to even greater lengths in their attempts to stop it from returning as one of the ‘undead’.
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The corpse, thought to be that of a child of around six years old, was cut in half – with only the bottom half being found buried and chained.
Archaeologists at the site reportedly think that gravediggers may have believed the child was a ‘revenant’ – which were feared even more than vampires. According to supernatural lore, ‘revenants’ died under violent circumstances and returned as reanimated corpses to exact their revenge or complete unfinished business.
They were considered even more dangerous than vampires because they do not share their blood-sucking sibling’s weaknesses. It was thought that they were able to walk about freely in the daytime and could enter homes without invitation. Their name is derived from the French word revenir, which means ‘to come back’
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The child buried at Pien was “clearly greatly feared”, said Nicolaus Copernicus University’s Dariusz Poliński, who is leading the dig. He told The Times: “The reason for such a brutal and disgusting burial is unknown. Maybe the child was found guilty of someone’s death, an accident, or even just creating worse living conditions in general.”
The child was found buried just a few feet away from the previously exhumed ‘vampire’ woman. Speaking about that find – and others at the graveyard – fellow Archaeologist Maciej Stromski has previously said: “We discovered examples of belief in the dead returning from the grave, which could only be stopped by decapitation.
“It was believed that if a member of the deceased’s family died shortly after the funeral, then he or she could be a vampire. Therefore, after burial, the grave was dug up and the deceased’s head was cut off, which was then placed in the legs.
“We also discovered an example of a woman after decapitation. The skull of a child was laid on her bosom.”
He added that in around 30 per cent of the graves uncovered, researchers had also found bricks placed next to the skeletons’ legs, arms, and heads.
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Recorded undead myths in Eastern Europe date back as far as the 11th century. And, in some regions, the myths were so widely believed that they caused hysteria. This led to many accusations of vampirism against those who died in an untimely fashion – particularly by suicide.
By the end of the 17th century, all across Poland, odd burial practices were being put into place in response to an “outbreak” of vampires, with many bodies being mutilated posthumously. And a mass grave packed with hundreds of suspected vampires was recently discovered by workers digging up a road in Luzino, Poland.
Poliński previously told the Mail Online: “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.”
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