My Paranormal Bucket List - El Museo de las Momias

Our next voyage takes us to Central Mexico. In the town of Guanajuato lies El Museo de las Momias, the “Mummies’ Museum” – a museum that houses the earthly remains of more than 100 mummies.

These are not your typical mummies. These corpses were once buried in the local cemetery. However, things changed when the government enacted a burial tax on all bodies buried more than 5 years. If surviving relatives were unable or unwilling to pay the burial tax, the body was exhumed and put into storage.

When cemetery workers began exhuming bodies, they discovered something unusual. The bodies were not in the expected state of decomposition and decay. Instead, they were finding mummies. What made it even more unusual was that the bodies had not been specially prepared for preservation. The mummification process had occurred naturally, likely due to the warm, dry climate and the mineral-rich soil.  In fact, some of the mummies are so well-preserved, they still have their hair and clothing.  

As word of the mummies spread, people began to ask if they could see them. Enterprising workers realized they could make some money by charging a small fee for admission. And thus the museum concept was born.

The first body to be exhumed and displayed in 1865 was that of Dr. Remigio Leroy. Today, there are 118 mummified corpses housed in the museum. They range from the “smallest mummy in the world,” a fetus, to the elderly. Men, women, and children of all ages, including many babies, are exhibited. One heart wrenching display contains the bodies of a mother and baby who died during a fatal Caesarean section.

The museum is not only unusual, it is also plagued by a dark rumor. It is a long-held belief that some of the inhabitants of the museum were buried alive. Awkward body positions and tortured expressions fuel this belief. Some of the corpses’ mouths are stuck wide open in a screaming position. Is the pained expression a result of natural muscle contractions, or could it be something more? One woman’s body seems to be at the center of the controversy. It is said that when Ignacia Aguilar was exhumed, her body was found upside down as if she had turned over in her grave. To make matters worse, it appeared she was biting her arm, and blood could be clearly seen in her mouth. Scratches on her body are consistent with a contained struggle, according to experts who have examined the remains.

Employees and visitors have reported hearing footsteps and voices that cannot be explained. The museum is closed at night, but there are many reports that shadow figures are often seen through the windows when the building is completely empty. Is El Museo de las Momias haunted? Rumors of being buried alive. Painful, struggling deaths. Bodies exhumed from their graves – their final resting places – and displayed for all to see. Are these spirits truly at rest? Or are they still wandering those museum halls, searching for the eternal peace they have not yet found?

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