For centuries the fear of the dead rising from the grave was real enough to prompt people to take special precautions when burying the remains of suspected vampires.
Often these rituals would involve such gruesome acts as staking the body to the ground or cutting off the head, anything to make sure that a deceased ‘vampire’ actually stayed dead.
Six burials that appeared to be perfect examples of this were recently discovered at a rural cemetery in Poland dating back to the 17th or 18th century. Each body had been carefully interred with a sickle and several rocks placed on top of their necks, presumably to make it impossible for them to rise from the ground without being decapitated.
There was however something different about these particular burials. Further investigation revealed that these people had actually been victims of cholera, a deadly disease that kills within hours.
The researchers believe that the people of the time, unfamiliar with the horrific flesh-eating symptoms of the disease, could have mistaken the victims for vampires.