Seventeenth-Century “Vampires” in the News

Fear of vampires was common in many parts of seventeenth-century Europe, although vampire beliefs varied widely and did not necessarily correspond to modern notions of vampires, which are strongly influenced by nineteenth-century novels and twentieth-century films.


A team of researchers has investigated a series of burials in Poland that reveal evidence of communities’ fears of “vampires,” or at least the undead. According to The New York Times, “In 17th- and 18th-century Poland, the fear of vampires was so strong that some people were buried with sickles across their necks and rocks at their jaws to keep them from rising from the grave and attacking the living.”

The New York Times reports on the seventeenth-century “vampires.” The scientific study, entitled “Apotropaic Practices and the Undead: A Biogeochemical Assessment of Deviant Burials in Post-Medieval Poland,” is available at PLOS.

This entry was posted in Catholicism and Religious Violence, Cultural History of Religion, Death and Burial Practices, Religious Violence in the Media, Research on Religious Violence. Bookmark the permalink.

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