In Slavic beliefs, causes of vampirism included being born with a caul, teeth, or tail, being conceived on certain days, "irregular" death, excommunication, and improper burial rituals. Preventive measures included placing a crucifix in the coffin, placing blocks under the chin to prevent the body from eating the shroud, nailing clothes to coffin walls for the same reason, putting sawdust in the coffin (vampire revives in the evening and counts sawdust until he dies again in the morning) or piercing the body with thorns or stakes. In the case of stakes, the general idea was to pierce through the vampire and into the ground below, pinning the body down. Certain people would bury those believed to be potential vampires with scythes above their necks, so the dead would decapitate themselves as they rose.
Evidence that a vampire was at work in the neighbourhood included death of cattle, sheep, relatives, or neighbours, an exhumed body being in a lifelike state with new growth of the fingernails or hair, a body swelled up like a drum, or blood on the mouth coupled with a ruddy complexion.
Vampires, like other Slavic legendary monsters, were afraid of garlic and liked counting grain, sawdust, etc. Vampires could be destroyed by staking, decapitation (the Kashubs placed the head between the feet), burning, repeating the funeral service, sprinkling holy water on the body, or exorcism.