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|1517||Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the cult at Wittenberg in Germany. Luther’s theories and writings inaugurate Protestantism, shattering the external structure of the medieval cult and at the same time reviving the religious consciousness of Europe.|
|1803||Congress ratifies the purchase of the entire Louisiana area in North America, adding territory to the U.S. which will eventually become 13 more states.|
|1941||After 14 years of work, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is completed.|
|1952||The United States explodes the first hydrogen bomb at Enewetok Atoll in the Pacific.|
|1968||The bombing of North Vietnam is halted by the United States.|
|1971||Saigon begins the release of 1,938 Hanoi POWs.|
|1984||Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi by two Sikh members of her bodyguard.|
|1998||Iraq announces it will no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.|
|1999||EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean killing all 217 people on board.|
|2000||Soyuz TM-31 launches, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station.|
|2002||Former Enron Corp. CEO Andrew Fastow is convicted on 78 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice and wire fraud; the Enron collapse cost investors millions and led to new oversight legislation.|
Polcyn’s work describes one female body discovered with a sickle across her pelvis, a rock on her neck and a coin in her mouth. Four other bodies were found with sickles strewn across their throats. While Polcyn said in one study that sickles have been discovered in excavations in other countries like Slovakia before, burials with sickles across the throat are rare during this period. He says the practice could corroborate with historical knowledge of folk tales and beliefs about creatures that rise from the dead to commit evil deeds and bring misfortune to the living.So then the burial practices had to be adapted to accommodate some of those older beliefs. Not everyone had the potential to rise again as a vampire, and there were some clues in the living to indicate who might. Read more about the excavation and what we've learned from it at Smithsonian.
“Throughout the world, people believe that sharp tools, iron—anything that was created by fire, by hammering, had anti-demonic properties,” Polcyn says.
Some of the earliest beliefs surrounding vampires came on the heels of the conversion of Slavic people to Christianity sometime between the 7th and 9th centuries, says Christopher Caes, a lecturer in Polish at Columbia University who has taught classes on Slavic vampires. Before Christianity, Slavs predominantly cremated their dead, in the belief that a person’s soul would only be released with the burning of their body. When missionaries converted them, the new practice of burying the dead would have horrified some.