Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Obsession with Mummies

I've recently come to terms with my obsession with mummies. I resisted at first because I felt morbid, but there's something about them that intrigues me.
I'm not talking about Egyptian mummies; I like the ones that are so well-preserved, you can still see the look on their faces.

It's morbid, I know, but why fight it?

Take a look at the bog people, for example. They were thrown into a bog in Ireland over 2,000 years ago and were preserved so well that on one man, you can still see the wrinkles in his face and the way he styled his hair. You can read more about them on National Geographic.

These mummies were brutally murdered before being sent to the bog. This man, for example, was hung. They were either executed or sacrificed.

He cared for his nails better than most men I know.
Perhaps mummies carry such fascination for me because it connects me to the past. We spend so much time studying texts and artifacts, trying to understand these people, but on rare occasion, we can still see their faces.

Probably the most interesting mummies were the ones in Pompeii. This Roman town was destroyed by a volcano eruption and buried in ash. When archeologists excavated it, they kept finding holes in the ash. 

Finally, they decided to fill the holes with cement to see what they were. Come to find out, they used to be bodies. The ash came so quickly, you can see the people at the exact moment of death. Some were screaming, some were praying, some (like in the picture below) gathered with their loved ones and waited to die.
Laying down, waiting to die
A panicked dog
By the way, going to Pompeii was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It's a whole city... not just a few buildings, but a city. I walked down the streets, surrounded by houses and temples, and felt like I was in ancient Rome.

I'm not the only one fascinated with mummies. In Peru, they discovered mummies who were tied into a fetal position, which makes them look like they're screaming. Impressionist painters used them in their work. In fact, "The Scream" was copied from one of these bodies.
You have to admit, mummies are pretty amazing.


  1. Very fascinating stuff. I saw the Pompeii exhibit when it came to San Diego and it was so interesting. I saw what some of the holes revealed - one was a dog tied to a pole with a rope. And of course people embracing in their final moments. I understand about the mummies, too. It's quite an insight into another time.

  2. Yeah I saw the Pompeii exhibit in Mobile, Alabama. It was really creepy but man, it was AMAZING too!

  3. I think I remember reading that they trimmed the hair and nails of human sacrifices. I guess they didn't want their peat bogs getting full of hair and fingernails or something.

  4. pompeii fascinated me, as a child, when i first heard of it, i was totally enthralled. the idea of how people were preserved in the middle of their activity titillated my imagination. it made me think of a family a few houses up from mine that had abruptly left their home, leaving the table just as it had been...peas on plates and all. entire stories can be built on just such situations.

  5. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!! you have no idea how AMAZING it is to finally know of someone who is obsessed with mummies just as much as i am! i am seventeen and currently in the eleventh as you can see sharing this obsession would be considered morbid and horrible and awkward and no one would want to hang out with me haha but i spend hours at a time at my computer soaking up as much info as i can on this fascinating subject. I too prefer the more preserved ones, it is just so amazing to see that body from millions of years ago. i wish i could see dinosaurs preserved and not just bone. That would be great. But dinosaurs werent mummified haha but they were fossilified :P but i enjoy mummies and over all just death and why people die and how. I have come to accept my weirdness and use it as food for my brain :) thanks so much for sharing this! i am finally not alone :)


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