By Dan Satherley
Details on an English skeleton found with metal stakes through its shoulders, ankles and chest – where its heart would be – have been unearthed in a new report.
The 1400-year-old remains were originally found in the town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire in the late 1950s by archaeologist Charles Daniels.
The new report, by Matthew Beresford of Southwell Archaeology, sheds light on just why the unfortunate soul may have been buried in such a manner.
"Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, the punishment of being buried in water-logged ground, face down, decapitated, staked or otherwise was reserved for thieves, murderers or traitors," he writes, "or later for those deviants who did not conform to societies rules: adulterers, disrupters of the peace, the unpious or oath-breaker."
Beresford says it's not known which ancient rule the "deviant" may have broken.
A handful of similar burials have been discovered around Great Britain, reports UK paper The Telegraph.
"A lot of people are interested in it but quite where it takes us I don't know because this was found in the 1950s and now we don't know where the remains are," says chairman of Southwell Archaeology John Lock.
One thing, however, is for certain – the bodies were nailed to the ground because those still living were afraid they'd come back to life, much like the modern myth of the vampire.
"People would have a very strong view that this was somebody who, for whatever reason, they had a reason to fear and needed to ensure that this person did not come back."
According to legend, one of the only ways to kill a vampire is to stab them in the heart with a stake.
Beresford says the skeleton is probably still nailed to the ground where Daniels found it, as he was unable to move it.
"If you look at it in a spooky way you still have the potential for it to rise at some point," he says.