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Halloween special from Guanajuato museum

Here, mummified bodies, preserved spontaneously and without human intervention, are on display. The natural mummification may be caused by the richness of the soil in lime and clays, and the tendency of some materials to absorb humidity from the atmosphere.

 

For many years, San Sebastián was the main cemetery in the city, to not mention those of San Cayetano and San Agustín, the latter of which was exclusively for the foreign born. The need to provide a cemetery which would adequately serve the growing population led the city government, on August 30, 1853 , to request permission from the state to build a large, well-planned cemetery at the south end of the hill known as Cerro Trozada. Construction wasn't completed until the beginning of 1861. Because of the location and topography of the zone, the cemetery has the curious and quite significant feature of causing the preservation of the bodies buried there, that is, their mummification. It is said that the first mummy was taken from vault number 214 of the first series, having been buried on June 19, 1865.

 

From 1870 on, mummies began to be placed in a room off the cemetery's administrative area, and visitors from abroad began to come see the mummies around 1894.

 

Not all bodies are mummified, even when buried in adjoining vaults. The cemetery staff have observed that the bodies covered with coal and lime are the ones that are mummified, while those in zinc coffins last little more than ten years. As of December 31, 1907 , the number of exhumed mummies was 86.

 

There are mummies whose expressions indicate they may have awoken to the horrible reality of being buried alive. But in most cases, death seems to have been preceded by moments of true serenity, without signs of suffering. This is what we see in the children's mummies, which seem like little restless dolls.

 

Source: www.guanajuatocapital.com

 

To see my Interesting 50 or my Mexico set

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Taken on September 2, 2008