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The Mystery of the Blinking Mummy

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When we hear the word ‘mummy’ we immediately think of Egypt, pyramids & ancient pharaohs seeking to preserve their mortal remains for all eternity. But the truth of the matter is that, either by pure chance or on purpose, corpses showing an incredible state of preservation can be found all around the world.

Such is the case of the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily, where Rosalía Lombardo, a little girl who died of pneumonia in 1920, was interred for her final rest after being embalmed at the request of her heart-stricken father. When researchers found the little body, they were so amazed by the incredibly life-like appearance of the mummy that Rosalía received the name of ‘Sleeping Beauty.’

According to the Peruvian journal El Comercio, scientists interested in learning more about the embalming techniques employed in Rosalía’s body put a camera inside her sarcophagus, capable of taking pictures every 60 seconds.

But the researchers were not prepared for what happened next: The images taken by the camera seemed to show the little mummy’s eyes opening and closing. A phenomenon that repeats itself several times a day.

A trick of the light? A miracle perhaps? Subsequent studies have come to the conclusion that Rosalia’s ‘blinking’, is due to the natural humidity in the crypt where she’s kept – that, or perhaps the little sleeping girl is just waiting for her dad to tell her a a good-night story…

Original Link: Rosalía, la niña momificada que parece abrir los ojos

Read more: Lost “Sleeping Beauty” Mummy Formula Found

Further reading: Multidetector CT investigation of the mummy of Rosalia Lombardo (1918–1920) [Scientific paper]

  1. the eyes have it
    I would have thought it was a shadow cast from her eyelids as the sun passes by. If it is humidity, doesn’t that mean moisture could be getting into the case and cause further decay? Moisture creates mold that will eat away at anything.

      1. The Eyes of the Dead
        Is it possible that a combination of the high-quality embalming technique (especially those zinc salts) and the glass topped box allow for the accumulation and discharge of static electricity?

        The eyelids may be the only part of the corpse the charge is strong enough to move.

        1. high voltage
          But wouldn’t that mean it would occur more that once a day and it would look like a rapid eye movement?. Electricity doesn’t have a schedule. Also the experiment your thinking of was done on recently dead, as in a few minutes/days ago, not 10 years, and therefore the part would still have water within the cells (ex. dancing frog legs). Even with moisture there wouldn’t be enough to react with the salt in this case.

          Whatever it is…IT’S SCIENCE!!!

  2. great article
    If it is humidity , doesn’t that mean moisture could be getting into the case and cause further decay? Moisture creates mold that will eat away at anything.
    It’s ironic that many brands of anti aging and skin care products actually create skin problems, and other health problems. Your skin doesn’t like artificial chemicals, and many people will find the result is skin reactions of various types.

    1. moisture
      Usually yes moisture can activate mold spores that have been on the body and it can also activate dormant bacteria. Not sure of the half life on said mold spores or bacteria though.

      You’re right about the skin creams. If I rub anything on my skin I break out badly. I used to work retail and was unloading deliveries one day. One of the totes had a bunch of nail polish and make-up explode from the heat (it was summer) and got all over me. My hands turned red and itched for a week.

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