The Morbidly Fascinating Page

On this month's Morbidly Fascinating Page:

The Screaming Mummies of Guanajuato, Mexico


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The Spanish Flu
Bog Bodies
Google Maps

If you ask any Mexican what Guanajuato is famous for, they will almost certainly instantly respond: the Mummy Museum (El Museo De Las Momias). It is almost sad that the historic and charming city of Guanajuato is most famous for this gruesome and horrific museum.

The museum's official website is HERE


Ray Bradbury and the mummies:

When science fiction author Ray Bradbury first visited the sleepy town of Guanajuato, Mexico in 1947, he was shocked and horrified.

“The experience so wounded and terrified me, I could hardly wait to flee Mexico,” he said of the trip. “I had nightmares about dying and having to remain in the halls of the dead with those propped and wired bodies.”

Bradbury then went home and immediately wrote "The Next In Line," a bone-chilling short story about malevolent supernatural forces.

What had disturbed Bradbury so much about his visit to this Mexican town was his encounter with the famed Guanajuato mummies.

In the 1850s, the world was gripped by an enormous cholera epidemic, causing death rates to spike across the globe. Guanajuato, for one, had run out of room in their underground cemeteries for all of the bodies that they were amassing and began interring them instead in newly made above-ground crypts.

See more HERE


From the official website: Be warned the Guanajuato Mummies Museum is not a family orientated attraction. Some of the mummies have distressed expressions while others are downright ghastly.












What are they and what caused this?

The Mummies of Guanajuato are a number of naturally mummified bodies interred during a cholera outbreak around Guanajuato, Mexico. in 1833.

The human bodies appear to have been disinterred between 1870 and 1958. During that time, a local tax was in place requiring a fee to be paid for "perpetual" burial. Some bodies for which the tax was not paid were disinterred, and some—apparently those in the best condition—were stored in a nearby building.

See more HERE

Why do they appear to be screaming?

Most bodies buried in the 1800s and earlier were buried with chin straps to hold the bottom jaw in place. Without the chin strap, the lower jaw can dislodge and give a screaming expression. Also, in arid environments the human body will shrink even more than usual and causes the small ligaments and muscle tissue to contract sharply, making it look as if the skull is screaming.

Where is the museum and can anyone visit it?

The buidling where the mummies were stored was subsequently turned into a museum called El Museo de las Momias ("The Museum of the Mummies") in 1969. fifty-nine mummies are on display, out of of a collection that totals 111. The address is Explanada del Panteon Municipal s'/n, Centro, 36000 Buanajuato, Gto, Mexico.

The entrance costs $50.00 pesos (about $2.50 American Dollars) and the museum is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. Inside, visitors pass through three major rooms where the mummies are lined up like works of art and attached to each mummy is a description of the person. The first mummified body that dates from 1865 is of Dr. Remigio Leroy and is on display along with an assortment of very distress mummies.


Panteon Municipal


Entrance to Museum


Side of Museum

The climate of Guanajuato provides an environment which can lead to a type of natural mummification, although scientific studies later revealed that some bodies had been at least partially embalmed. By the 1900s, the mummies began attracting tourists. Cemetery workers began charging people a few pesos to enter the building where bones and mummies were stored. In 1969, this was turned into the museum it is today.

What is cholera?

Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Left untreated, cholera can be fatal within hours, even in previously healthy people.

Modern sewage and water treatment have virtually eliminated cholera in industrialized countries. But cholera still exists in Africa, Southeast Asia and Haiti. The risk of a cholera epidemic is highest when poverty, war or natural disasters force people to live in crowded conditions without adequate sanitation.

See more HERE