Are mummies real? Sadly, when a person with no family dies, their body is often left unnoticed for days or weeks – sometimes, this can last for years. However, if the conditions are right, the body can be preserved, leading to a real mummy. The modern mummy stories on this list are tragic, usually involving people who die and rot for years, with nobody checking on them or even removing the body.
Real mummies have included the recent discovery of a German sailor in a yacht, left dead for years; a woman found in a San Francisco hoarder house that later sold for over a million dollars; a suicide victim found by a young boy; and a woman who sat dead in front of a TV for over 40 years, while neighbors squabbled about what to do with her apartment.
Here are some real cases of mummified people found years after their death.
Scientists Discovered Wasps, Bees, And A Squirrel Nesting Inside A Partially Mummified Man
This is a first. In Poland, Researchers discovered a partially mummified body hanging 80 feet in the air from a tree. Scientists found honeybees, wasp, and even a squirrel taking up residence inside the man’s body, which they believe went unfound for nearly 13 years. The woodland critters were found after researchers took the body to Wroclaw Medical University’s Forensic Medicine Department. The body was uncovered in 2016, but it wasn’t until September 2018 researchers unveiled their findings in a study.
“No one before us had the opportunity to describe a case of nesting of these species of animals inside a human corpse found in a tree,” said study author Marcin Kadej of the Institute of Environmental Biology at the university. “[It[ brings a new perspective and gives us new information on the behavior, ecology and biology of these animals.”
Mummified German Sailor Found in Yacht in the Philippines
Mummified San Francisco Hoarder Found in Million Dollar House
A foreclosed house became a nightmarish find for a San Francisco tax official when he discovered the mummified body of an elderly hoarder inside. Police in oxygen masks entered the home, and found the worst case of hoarding they’d ever seen, including giant piles of rotting garbage, rats, and hundreds of bottles of urine. The woman’s corpse, dead for five years, was found in the bedroom of the decrepit house, where, incredibly, her daughter lived as well. The daughter was removed from the house, and it was completely cleaned and remodeled.
In a sure sign of the insanity of the San Francisco real estate market, the house, in the popular Lake District, went back on the market – and sold for $1.56 million.
Ohio Mummy Found Hanging by Young Boy
Tokyo’s Oldest Man, Mummified for 30 Years
Tokyo resident Sogen Kato was thought to be the city’s oldest citizen, born in 1899 and living well into the 21st century. Or at least he was until police discovered his mummified body in his house, lying there since some time in 1978.
Ironically, it was local officials attempting to give the man an award on Respect for the Aged Day that led to the grisly find. Kato’s family was prosecuted for collecting his benefits for decades without telling authorities about his death.
The Croatian Woman Who Sat Dead for Four Decades
The Mummified Children’s Book Author
In May 2013, the mummified remains of Chicana author, activist, and teacher Barbara Salinas-Norman were found inside her Santa Fe, NM home. Authorities and family members believe that the body may have been inside the home for over a year. While once a renowned children’s book author and civil rights activist, Salinas had become reclusive and suffered from financial and cognitive problems.
After two years of nobody in her family hearing from her, her brother-in-law entered the home and found her mummified remains. A preliminary autopsy revealed that Salinas had likely died of natural causes.
Woman Found Mummified in a Detroit Garage
Detroit resident Pia Farrenkopf had all of her bills set to autopay, had no family near her, traveled constantly, tended to go in and out of contact, and had recently left her job. So when she died in her car, parked in her garage, nobody noticed. It wasn’t until her checking account ran out of money that authorities came by – to put the house in foreclosure.
Her mummified corpse was found in the backseat of her Jeep in 2014, with no signs of either suicide or foul play. It’s believed she died some time in 2009.
Carved Up Mummy Man Found Beside a Road in Spain
Elderly Hoarder Found Mummified Body in Bed in Arizona
The Woman Who Drove Around with a Mummy in Her Car
A Costa Mesa, CA woman drove for months with a dead mummified body in her passenger seat before the corpse was discovered by police. After finding the car parked in a high-end neighborhood, police found the former real estate agent, who wasn’t identified, in the driver’s seat, along with the mummy. The corpse was determined to be a transient named Signe Margit, a woman who had two master’s degrees and had founded a non-profit before vanishing.
The driver, who was using her sick father’s car, told police she was afraid she’d be blamed for the woman’s death, so she simply piled clothes on it and waited for it to mummify.