Was There A Zombie Outbreak In Medieval England?

Yet another reason why we're glad we live in this century...

game of thrones
Did the medieval people fear zombies? Zombies Image HBO

The discovery of a mass grave full of mutilated and burnt human bones has sparked speculation that England may have come under attack from some sort of zombie invasion in Medieval times.

Archaeologists from Historic England and Southampton University, have found an assemblage of skeletons in a village site in Wharram Percy, England. They unearthed and analysed 137 bones in total representing ten individuals of varying ages and sexes.

Strangely, the bones show signs of decapitation, dismemberment, and burns inflicted post mortem leading scientists to believe that there was once a legitimate fear of the walking dead from the 11th to the 13th century. The findings were detailed in a study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. 

Wharram percy zombie bones
Bone showing knife marks Image Historic England
















It may sound insane, but Medieval literature goes into detail about ways to handle what they called ‘revenants.’ An old term for ghost. Suggestions included – exuding a dead body, ripping it apart and burning the remains. 

wharram percy village
Wharram Percy Village Image Historic England

These actions were based on a strong belief that evil spirits could reside in a dead person and get up to mischief among the living.

wharram percy bone
Cranium Image Historic England

While cannibalism during a famine and odd ritualisms have been explored, co-author of the study Simon Mays seems to think otherwise – based on where the knife marks are placed on the body. Grimly, many have been found around the head and neck area.

“The idea that the Wharram Percy bones are the remains of corpses burnt and dismembered to stop them walking from their graves seems to fit the evidence best,” he said.

If they are right and these bodies were indeed mutilated to prevent a zombie apocalypse, then it further proves how messed up, and dark Medieval beliefs were.

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