In the village of Lusino in Poland, while widening the road, workers discovered the remains of an ancient cemetery where about 450 people were buried. Excavations later revealed that many of them were probably considered vampires by their contemporaries. Professional archaeologists were called to the site of the discovery. They determined that the cemetery they found was a church cemetery, and it was quite large. The last burials were held there in the nineteenth century, after which the cemetery was closed and a new cemetery was organized elsewhere.
The mass grave has attracted the attention of scientists not only by the great number of bodies, but also by the rituals, which in the XIX century were quite common in this region. We are talking about the rites that were used allegedly for the burial of vampires, in the existence of which at that time in Eastern Europe believed a lot of people. The beliefs gave rise to “dark practices” designed to prevent dead “vampires” from rising from their graves and returning to the world of the living.
“We found examples of belief in the dead returning from the grave, which could only be stopped by decapitation,” says Maciej Stromski, head of excavations in the village of Lusino. – It was believed that if a family member of the deceased himself died shortly after the funeral, he could be a vampire.
This partly explains the mass burial. Scientists speculate that, at some point, there was a real panic among the local population. Terrified villagers might have dug out their dead relatives, cut off their heads and put them between their legs, before putting a coin in their mouths. It was believed that in this way they could lift the “vampire curse.
Maciej Stromski added that a huge number of bones were found in the three ossuaries during the excavations. But the remains of about 450 other people whose bodies showed signs of “fighting vampires” were found in graves located in close proximity to each other. By the way, archaeologists found bricks in every third such grave. This was also one of the measures of “vampire control” – bricks were placed next to the feet, hands and head of the deceased. Virtually every such buried person had a coin in their mouth, the oldest of which was minted in 1846.
“What is rare, we also have examples of decapitation of the deceased already after death,” Stromsky also says. – We found, for example, the body of a woman after such beheading. What’s more, she had a child’s skull placed on her chest.” By the way, the church, on the territory of which were found “vampire graves,” was built in the early XVIII century. It is still active today, but the excavated cemetery was long ago razed to the ground and forgotten.
Vampires in history
Vampires are one of the most fascinating phenomena in the world of mysticism and horror. They appear in the legends and religious texts of many cultures, but are best known for their roots in Eastern Europe. It is believed that the first stories about vampires appeared in Serbia and Croatia in the 17th century. In the nineteenth century, the theme became popular in literature, especially after the publication of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula.
There are many theories as to how the vampire legends came about. One of them has to do with the fact that in the Middle Ages there were epidemics of plague and other infectious diseases throughout Europe. People did not understand how this was happening and began to look for causes in supernatural phenomena. Among other things, they began to believe that the dead could come back to life and infect others.
Many of the rituals associated with “fighting vampires” were related to attempts to protect against infectious diseases. For example, coins placed in the mouth of the deceased may have been used to prevent the spread of disease through kisses at funerals.
“Vampire legends are part of our cultural history and have attracted people for centuries,” says mystical phenomena expert James Williams. – But it’s important to remember that all of these stories have their roots in real events and beliefs. We can study them to better understand how people in the past perceived the world around them and what problems they tried to solve with their beliefs.