Among other things, Medieval Europe was known for its insanely superstitious beliefs in the supernatural. They led to some pretty brutal acts of violence and desecrations of the recently dead. While some of us may be familiar with various forms of vampire burials, a newly discovered superstitious tradition from the Middle Ages has been found in an ancient graveyard in northwestern Poland…

The Drawsko cemetery in Poland has been the site of extensive excavation efforts by researchers in recent years.

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Recently, researchers came across something bizarre: several corpses were buried with what appears to be an ancient iron sickle placed around their necks.

This is one of the corpses. It seems like the sickle is there to keep the body in place.

While the first thought was that these sickles were there to prevent the corpses from “becoming vampires,” another, more bizarre theory has since emerged.

According to a new study, rather than preventing the bodies from reanimating as vampires, these sickles were there as a way to ward off demon spirits. Those involved in the study cited the so-called ‘anti-demonic’ properties of iron. Iron forged by fire in that culture was known to symbolize the transition from life to death and back to life.

While it’s impossible for us to know exactly why these people were buried with sickles, it’s still a pretty darned creepy practice…no matter how you look at it.

(via Mysterious Universe)

Well, one thing is for sure: if I can ever get my time machine design perfected, I’ll definitely be steering clear of the Middle Ages in Poland.

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