17th-century ‘zombie’ child shackled to grave to stop it hounding the living

Researchers reportedly found a child shackled to the grave to prevent it coming back to life. Pic credit: Pixabay

Archaeologists in Poland discovered a grave from the 17th century containing a “zombie” child buried facing downward and shackled by the feet to the grave.

The researchers found the remains of the zombie child buried at a site in the village of Pień, south-eastern Poland.

Experts believe that the unusual burial was likely to prevent the zombie child from coming back to life to hound the living, Reuters reported.

Medievals believed the dead could return as zombies

Professor Dariusz Polinski, a researcher at Nicolas Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, said people used the site for burying outcasts and others they believed to be witches or possessed by evil spirits.

Medieval Europeans lived in fear of ghosts, vampires, zombies, and other malign supernatural entities. They feared that witches or people who were demon-possessed during their lives could come back to life as vampires or zombies to torment the living.

Dead shackled to their graves to stop them from escaping

When medieval people suspected that a dead person could return as a zombie, they took care to perform funeral rituals and burial procedures they believed prevented the deceased from returning as an evil spirit, zombie, or vampire.

A procedure widely adopted in medieval Poland involved placing the person face down in the grave so that the mouth touched the soil. People believed that making the dead “bite the dust” prevented them from returning to attack the living.

They also shackled the dead to the ground to stop them from sitting up and escaping from their graves.

Some superstitious individuals continued living in fear that zombies could escape from the grave even after shackling them to the ground. So they took extra precautions, such as exhuming the skeleton and leaving only the leg bones.

“Zombie” woman buried with a sickle around her neck

Fears that the dead could return to harm the living forced people to invent various other bizarre preventive measures.

Last year, researchers unearthed a grave in Poland containing the remains of a zombie woman with a sickle around her neck. Experts believed they hoped the sickle would stop the deceased from leaving her grave.

They placed the sickle with the cutting edge facing downward so that it would cut through the neck of the zombie if it tried to get up.

The people who buried her also shackled the big toe on her left foot to the ground.

Individuals buried with special precautions taken to prevent them from coming back to life were likely those accused or suspected of witchcraft, sorcery, or demon possession during their lives.

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