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Featured Image Credit: Miroslaw Blicharski/Aleksander Poznan
Researchers who found the remains last month have finally published their findings that revealed that the body was found with a sharp sickle around her neck with a padlock around the big toe, as per New York Post.
A sickle was most commonly used on people thought to be ‘vampires’ to prevent them from rising from the dead in the 1600 and 1700s.
Lead researcher Professor Dariusz Polińsk told Daily Mail: “The sickle was not laid flat but placed on the neck in such a way that if the deceased had tried to get up… the head would have been cut off or injured.”
He also said that people would often go to extreme lengths to prevent those believed to possess ‘paranormal powers’ from coming back from the dead.
He explained to The Washington Post: “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.”
Author of Undead Apocalypse: Vampires and Zombies in the 21st Century Stacey Abbott also told the outlet that the ‘fear’ of vampires in the 17th and 18th centuries was quite prevalent.
She said that paranoia would ensue for anyone unique or who didn’t ‘fit in’ - similar to witchcraft accusations.
“If you stood out in any way, similar to the witch trials, to be slightly different created the same sort of hysteria,” she said.
Abbott continued: “It would have been a case of accuse first, otherwise you’d be accused yourself.”
Fears of blood-sucking creatures date as far back as the 11th century as there were instances where ‘corpses’ had clawed their way out of their graves and emerged as ‘monsters’.
But according to Dr Lesley Gregoricka from the University of South Alabama, this was not because of ‘superpowers’; it was due to infectious diseases like cholera running rampant through Europe.
She told Metro: “People of the post-medieval period did not understand how disease was spread, and rather than a scientific explanation for these epidemics, cholera and the deaths that resulted from it were explained by the supernatural – in this case, vampires.”