In the village of Pniu, in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship in Poland, archaeologists have discovered an unusual burial in a cemetery known as the “cemetery of the damned” from the 17th century. In this grave was found a child who was believed by locals to be a vampire. This discovery aroused great interest among both scientists and the public.
Excavations at the cemetery began last year and continue to this day. Many unusual graves suggested that it was a cemetery for rejected and cursed people. The remains of a child were found face down, with a triangular lock under their feet. This lock is a symbol of an “anti-vampire” ritual designed to keep the “vampire” in the grave.
Prof. Dariusz Polinski, who is researching this cemetery, explained that the child’s grave is next to the grave of the “vampire” girl they discovered last year. The girl’s grave contained remains with a sickle around her neck and a lock on her toe. These rituals were known from written sources and were used to keep “vampires” in their graves.
Researchers from the Institute of Archaeology at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń are continuing excavations at the cemetery in order to preserve it from destruction. On the first day of their excavations, they discovered a triangular lock, and further investigations revealed that a child aged 5-7 years old was buried in the grave. He was laid face down, consistent with the rituals of the time designed to prevent the deceased from returning.
Next to the child’s grave, archaeologists found another burial with the remains of three children. All of them had jaws colored green. The same was observed in the girl-“vampire”. Scientists hypothesize that this is due to the severe illness she suffered from. Analysis of the bones of her jaw showed traces of gold, potassium permanganate and copper, indicating the use of a potion with dyes for treatment.
Prof. Polinsky notes that stereotypical attitudes toward vampirism suspects indicate a fear of not necessarily bad, but deviant people. He suggests that the girl “vampire” may have suffered from a severe illness, which caused fear and misunderstanding among those around her. The child buried face down may also have had some connection to the disease. Further research will help to establish the exact nature of these connections.
The discovery of the grave of a child “vampire” in a 17th century cemetery in Poland has attracted worldwide attention. This discovery provides a better understanding of the customs and beliefs of the time, and their connection to disease and societal fears.