Mummies have always been a subject of interest to people, not to mention the fact that books are written about them, they shoot movies and use specific costumes for Halloween. However, few know more facts and details about mummies, some of them stranger and chilling blood than anything that Hollywood invented and took about them.
1. Not all Egyptians were mummified
Not every Egyptian was mummified. It was a really expensive process that not everyone could afford. The best variant of mummification included thorough body cleaning, virtuosic removal (and purification) of internal organs and filling with special substances. If the family was well-off, but wanted to save on the deceased, choosing a cheaper option (there were only three options), it was considered a disgrace.
2. The work of the Egyptian “pathologists” was considered ungrateful work
The Egyptians with great respect for the human body, which caused some moral conflict during the mummification process. Transition to the other side required the presence of a whole, unharmed body, so causing harm to a person – even after death – was considered sacrilegious. This, of course, made the embalming process a difficult and responsible affair.
3. Mummies with an open mouth
The mummification process of the Egyptians also included a ritual known as the “opening of the mouth”, symbolizing breathing, as the Egyptians believed that life continues after death. A mummy with an open mouth also seemed to be able to enjoy the food and drinks that loved ones brought to them. Just imagine a family picnic in the pyramid!
4. Unfolding mummies was a popular entertainment
In the Victorian era, the British deployed mummies at scientific exhibitions, usually with the aim of learning more about ancient Egypt. However, these exhibitions attracted an idle public, who liked to stare at the process itself. A well-known surgeon of that time, Thomas Pettigrew, actively organized these events, on which he unfolded the mummies and made an autopsy.
5. Mummies were crushed, and paint was made from them
After the mummies were publicly deployed and opened, they were given (or, to be exact, sold) to the manufactures. What could they do with a bunch of gutted dry mummies? The remains were crushed and used to produce a paint called “brown mummy”. This paint was very popular among artists of the 19th century, so some masterpieces now hanging in museums could very well have been written with the use of parts of dead bodies.
6. Mummies in medicine
If you think that the paint from the ancient Egyptian corpses is disgusting, then this is not the limit. As early as the 17th century, mummies were used to create a medicine that, at that time, was believed to have treated virtually everything from headaches to internal bleeding. The skull of the mummy was a particularly valuable part and had immaculate healing properties. Powder from the mummy was ingested and even rubbed into the skin.
7. Some mummies were obtained accidentally
Some people mummified by sheer chance. We are talking about so-called swamp bodies. These bodies are found throughout Europe, as people dying in the marshes were mummified in a natural way. In the swampy terrain, there is a lot of antimicrobial peat moss that perfectly preserves the body.
The Egyptians may have been the most famous culture that practiced mummification, but they were not the only ones. In 2001, scientists discovered several 3000-year-old mummies on an island off the coast of Scotland. The strangest feature of these Scottish mummies was the fact that they actually contained parts of different bodies. Apparently, these “Frankenstein” originally mummified in the swamp, and then buried again after 300-600 years, but it is more chaotic, according to the principle of how it goes.
9. Some Japanese monks mummified themselves … still alive
Do you think the process of mummification begins only after death? Nevertheless, some Japanese Shingon monks began to mummify themselves during their lifetime. The purpose of this practice was to enter into a state of deep, eternal meditation, and for about 800 years more than a dozen monks have very much succeeded in creating their own mummies. They cleaned the body, then the spirit, and then asked their friends to bury them in a relatively small pit with a small tube leading to the surface for air so that they do not suffocate, but instead just quietly and quietly died of starvation. However, the process was far from over. Hundreds of years after such burial, the tombs of these monks had to be opened to make sure that the mummification was successful.