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The remains of nearly 500 people have been discovered. Some of the dead were decapitated and coins were placed in their jaws

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During the expansion of Kościelna Street in Luzino (Pomeranian Voivodeship), archaeologists discovered the remains of about 475 people. Some of the dead were decapitated, coins were placed in the jaws, and the skeletons were weighted down with stones or bricks. According to experts, this indicates the so-called anti-vampire practices.

Three months ago, during the extension of Kościelna Street in Luzino (Pomeranian Voivodeship), a construction company came across human remains. Archaeologists were asked to check the find, who admit that the discovery surprised them with its scale.

Near the church of St. Lawrence, the remains of about 475 people and countless loose bones from the liquidation of earlier graves were revealed.

During the expansion of Kościelna Street in Luzino (Pomeranian Voivodeship), archaeologists discovered the remains of about 475 people.  Some of the dead were decapitated, coins were placed in the jaws, and the skeletons were weighted down with stones or bricks.  According to experts, this indicates the so-called  practices "anti-vampire".

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of about 475 peopleDetective Archaeological Services

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As Maciej Stromski, an archaeologist from the Detekt company, who works on excavations, points out, the number of excavations will probably increase, because the research is not over yet. As soon as the archaeological work is completed, the remains will be reburied in the church grounds.

According to archaeologists’ estimates, the deceased were buried at the Luzino cemetery from the Middle Ages to the end of the 19th century. In their opinion, the method of burial of about 20-30 percent of them indicates the use of the so-called. anti-vampiric practices and sheds new light on the history of ancient rituals and folk customs in the region.

These practices included on placing fragments of bricks or stones in the graves and coins in the mouths of the dead. All this so that after death they could not return to the world of the living. These bricks or stones were supposed to crush him, immobilize him in the coffin. The coin was given so that – when the deceased wakes up in the coffin, he would simply have something to do – he could suck or bite it – explains Stromski.

Throughout Europe, many methods have been “developed” over the centuries to “avoid” the return of vampires from beyond the grave. Poppy seeds were placed in the coffin, or garlic, a crucifix or holy water were placed near the body of the deceased. More extreme methods included, for example, driving a wooden stake into the heart, burning the remains, or using steel rods to lock “vampires” in graves.

Another special form of “anti-vampire” practices were also decapitations.

– It was believed that if someone died in a given family, and relatives died soon after the funeral, people were convinced that this person had become a ghost and would take other family members with him to the grave. According to folk beliefs, the only effective method was to dig up the grave and decapitate the deceased. Then it was placed in the legs so that the deceased could not reach it anymore. Interesting examples include the burial of a woman who was decapitated, and a child’s skull was placed on her pelvis. It’s hard for us to explain. Such cases are known from ethnographic literature, but now we also have material confirmation of this type of burial practices – emphasizes the archaeologist.

“Anti-vampire” practices persisted into the 1990s.

He adds that there were some signals that could indicate that someone has a chance to become a “soothsayer”, i.e. a form of human posthumous existence, similar to a vampire or a ghost.

– This could be evidenced by, for example, unusual physical features, such as the fact of being born in the so-called a cap, a specific, e.g. choleric disposition, or other, inexplicable phenomena at that time. In cases where, for example, the hands of the deceased spontaneously slipped in the coffin or his face turned red – this gave his relatives a signal that the deceased may be dangerous and may wish to return to the world of the living – says Stromski.

As the last known cases of “anti-vampire” practices were noted by Fr. Jan Perszon in the 1970s at the cemetery in Srebrzysko in Gdańsk. According to accounts collected by the clergyman, similar practices were still cultivated in the 1990s.

Main photo source: Detective Archaeological Services



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