14 Real People Who Turned Into Mummies Before They Were Found

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.Ā 

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 aĀ partially mummified bodyĀ 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 KadejĀ ofĀ 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
Filipino police were shocked to find aĀ mummified corpseĀ sitting at a desk in a yacht drifting off the coast of the island of Barobo. The man was later identified as German sailorĀ Manfred Fritz Bajorat, who had been missing since 2009. Bajorat was found with his hand just inches from a radio, indicating that he died attempting to call for help, possibly while having a heart attack.
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 – andĀ soldĀ for $1.56 million.

Ohio Mummy Found Hanging by Young Boy
In 2014, a boy in Dayton, OH walked into a seemingly abandoned house to find a shocking discovery in a closet: aĀ mummified manĀ hanging by the neck from a belt. Police later determined the man was Edward Brunton. He had apparently hanged himself in 2009, but his body was Ā perfectly preserved by the warm climate and lack of moisture.
Tokyo’s Oldest Man, Mummified for 30 Years

Tokyo resident Sogen KatoĀ was thought to be the city’s oldest citizen, born in 1899 and living well into the 21st century. Or at least he was untilĀ police discovered his mummified bodyĀ 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
Hedviga Golik was a longtime resident of Zagreb, including the four decades during which she sat dead in her apartment. The woman was last seen in 1966, at which time she made tea and settled in to watch television. Nobody disturbed her until 2008, when herĀ mummified corpseĀ was found in an apartment that had otherwise been untouched. Neighbors believed she had moved out, and the ownership of the apartment was in dispute, meaning nobody saw fit to actually check on her.
The Mummified Children’s Book Author

In May 2013, theĀ mummified remainsĀ of Chicana author, activist, and teacherĀ Barbara Salinas-NormanĀ 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.

HerĀ mummified corpseĀ 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
A Spanish truck driver stopped along the side of a rural road, and found aĀ mummified bodyĀ that was missing an arm and part of its torso. Spanish police said the man, who was never identified, had been dead about two months.
Elderly Hoarder Found Mummified Body in Bed in Arizona
TheĀ mummified bodyĀ of a 98-year-old woman was found in the bedroom of her Arizona hoarder house, still clutching a blanket. The woman had been dead for four years, and was left there by her daughter, Janet Dellatorre. Dellatorre apparently thought the police would believe she had killed her mother, so she simply left her where she found her, telling other family members she had her buried in the family plot in Chicago. The deception was found by a realtor looking at the house and thinking it was a foreclosure.
The Woman Who Drove Around with a Mummy in Her Car

A Costa Mesa, CAĀ woman drove for months with aĀ dead mummified bodyĀ 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.

Man Kills New Orleans Woman, Stuffs Her Mummified Corpse In His Trunk
TheĀ mummified remainsĀ of 39-year-old Polly Pastori were found stuffed into a trunk in a house near the French Quarter – leading to her ex-boyfriend being put on trial. Pastori’s corpse was found three years after she disappeared, and her ex had apparently been carting the body around from apartment to apartment. While the body was found in 2005, Hurricane Katrina delayed the investigation and trial for years.
British Gas Worker Finds Mummified Woman
A gas company employee in Southampton, England went to the house of a woman who hadn’t paid her bills in four months, only to found herĀ mummified corpse. The woman had bought Christmas presents, only to die days before the holiday.
A Mongol Mummy Wearing Adidas?
Archeologists in Mongolia recently unearthed a 1,500 year oldĀ Turkik mummy, the remains of a Mongol woman buried with a number of items, including a fully grown horse. But what truly stood out was the straps of her shoes – they looked exactly like the distinctive stripes on the Adidas brand. Obviously, a 1,500-year-old woman wasn’t wearing 20th century shoes, so this is most likely a case of confirmation bias. Or time travel.