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Nature's Mysteries

'Vampire' bones found at Polish construction site

Count Dracula

 (Universal Pictures)

Planning to visit Poland soon? Beware of the vampires.

Well, not really.

According to the Telegraph, skeletons were found with their heads removed and placed on their legs in the Polish town of Gliwice.

This gruesome burial is evidence that the victims had been accused of being a vampire and thus subjected to an execution ritual -- murdered and mutilated, to make sure that the undead stayed dead.

It's not clear when the bodies were buried. One archeologist at the site said they had no belt buckles, buttons or other adornments that could help determine their era. Historians say the practice of killing accused vampires was common in Slavic lands after the adoption of Christianity, the Telegraph reported.

Sometimes, those accused of being vampires were simply decapitated, while others would be hung from a gibbet (a gallows of sorts) until the head separated from the body. Then, the heads were placed on the legs to deter the so-called “creatures of the night” from rising from their graves.

Found during the construction of a road near Gliwice in southern Poland, the bodies left archaeologists surprised: They were used to finding remains of WWII soldiers -- not "vampire" skeletons.

Unlike the pale, blood-thirsty creatures depicted in numerous television shows, books and movies, the definition of a vampire in the Middle Ages was much broader. In those times, a vampire could be anyone who still held pagan beliefs, according to the Telegraph.