Mystery: The mummification of bodies “alone” in a mountain village baffles scientists

In a scenario inspired by the zombie apocalypse movie, the deceased residents were in the Colombian mountain town of San Bernardo Automatic mummification without preservatives, With their clothes, hair and even eyes often still intact. Science has not yet found an answer to this phenomenon.

The fossilized bodies belong to people born approximately in the last centuryHer remains were first exhumed in the 1950s from an Alpine village cemetery, after being moved by a flood. While this initially seemed like an isolated incident, more and more bodies were discovered.

“People were a little suspicious of what was happening,” Rocio Vergara, a guide at the Mummy Museum in the city’s cemetery, told AFP.



At the height of exhumations in the 1980s, San Bernardo residents were reportedly digging up as many as 50 bodies a year. Now, about a dozen of the best-preserved specimens are on display in the Mausoleum of José Arquimedes Castro for all to see.

Some corpses appear to be very resistant to decomposition Even his most perishable features (eyes, clothes, hair) remain in perfect condition. “She still has her round brown face, her braids and her hair,” said Clovesneris Bejarano, 63, describing her mother, Saturnina, who died 30 years ago and is on display at the Historic Preservation Society. The deceased mother was reportedly wearing the same dress in which she was buried and holding a carnation in her incredibly well-preserved hands.



The reason for these spontaneous mummifications is still unclear.; However, several theories have been put forward. According to Vergara, some locals believe the posthumous Fountain of Youth is a reward for people who have been “very good” in life, although others consider it a “punishment” akin to eternal damnation.

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Some San Bernardo residents They attribute this phenomenon to the locals’ diet based on guatilla and paloTwo types of local fruits that are commonly consumed in the region. However, this explanation is a bit suspicious, considering that the clothing of the corpses was also in excellent condition.

Some experts think so Mummification has to do with the place of burial of corpses in barren vaults high above the ground, which, in his opinion, could have served as a natural embalming agent.

Prior to the opening of the sites, no state of preservation had been recorded at the former St. Bernard cemeteries. “The wind is constantly blowing because it is hot,” said Daniela Betancourt, an anthropologist at the National University of Colombia. “It’s safe to assume that cupboards act like an oven…they dry you out.” but, No studies have been conducted yet He said about “what are the specific circumstances that lead people to mummification.”

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