Mummies of the Hervormde Kerk: A Bizarre Form Of Natural Mummification Was Discovered In The Church


IN 1765 CARPENTERS WERE WORKING in the church of the small village of Wieuwerd, Friesland, when they found a crypt with 11 coffins that looked as if they were brand new.

 

To their astonishment the bodies inside the coffins showed no signs of decay. The cool, dry atmosphere of the church had apparently caused decomposition to slow to a glacial pace (though it did not stop completely). Birds that died in the crypt became mummified too.

 

Of the 11 mummies, four remain today. It is believed that they belonged to the Labadist, a protestant religious movement of the 17th century.

Naturally preserved mummy of a young man who died somewhere in the 17th century of inflammation of the jaw. He evidently was in a lot of pain when he died, as can be seen by how crooked his toes are, not to mention his facial expression. This unfortunate guy lies on display in a vault under the church of Wiuwert .The vault contains three other human mummies (when the vault was discovered in 1765 there were eleven mummies, but for some reason 7 have disappeared. Probably several scientists ran off with them). It is still a mystery why the corpses were conserved. Experiments with dead animals have shown that the conservation process is still going on.

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