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20 Historical uses for mummies and mummification

Oil Paints
The curious color known as Caledonian Brown was created of ground up mummy bits. Also sometimes called Egyptian Brown or just plain Mummy.

Mummia or Mumia was ground up mummy that was usually used as a tea or eaten directly. Ground up mummy was thought to cure many diseases.

Observation Sessions
The royal elite used to purchase mummies and hold unwrapping sessions. These sessions were much akin to public displays of anatomical studies in medical. Doctor Pettigrew at the Royal College of Surgeons would often hold many of these viewings.

Fuel for Locomotives
Mark twain popularized this idea in The Innocents Abroad. “The fuel use for the locomotive is composed of mummies three thousand years old, purchased by the ton or by the graveyard for that purpose, and . . . sometimes one hears the profane engineer call out pettishly, ‘D–n these plebeians, they don’t burn worth a cent–pass out a King!'”

Curio Museums
Mummies were often popular attractions in sideshow museums as well as curio museums. The Niagara Falls Museum was one such museum that was home to more than a few mummies. Old Museum Flyers

Mummy Wrapping Paper
Because mummies were viewed as an inexhaustible supply they often gained new purposes. In the mid to late 1800’s it was believed that mummy wrappings could prove to be a cheap affordable linen for paper. This might be because mummies can be found wrapped in hundreds of yards of linen.

Mummy parts were often dismantled and sold or given as souvenirs. Souvenirs were not new to the 1800’s the concept can actually be traced as far back as Napolean. Mummy Finger Souvenir

Scientific Study
Here is something practical. Mummies are used for a number of scientific studies. Most of the studies are anthropological in nature but some are also based upon forensic investigation.

A follow through on the scientific study. Enough biological material has now been collected so as to be able to clone a “healthy” mummy from 2600 b.c.

Stored organs
Parts of the mummy such as the liver, lungs, stomach, or intestines. Each organ was placed into a different canopic jar. One with the head of Horus, Duamutif, Hapy, Quebehsenuf and Imetsy. Each god served a different purpose to the organ. The organs separated from the mummy were thought to be ancient items of power.

Preserve your pets
The egyptians were known to mummify both cats and falcons. In a new twist you too can mummify your own pet. Summum offers a pet mummification service for a cost of $4000-$100,000.

Horror Movies
What would a classic horror movie be without the mummy? The mummy has proven to be a reliable source for terror and suspense. The Mummy first appeared in 1932.

The terrifying curse of the mummy. The curse of the mummy gained great popularity with the discovery of King Tutankhamun. Many coincidental accidents and deaths gave fuel to the curse. Since then the curse has proven as ample protection from some grave robbers.

Sink the titanic
No it wasn’t a glacier that sunk the titanic it was The Curse of the Egyptian Princess of Amen-Ra. The mummy was removed from its case and sent to sea. Titanic passenger Frederic Kimber Seward blamed the mummy for the sinking of the ship as well as others. The mummy’s case is still in the British museum.

Antiques and Auctions
Even today mummies are invaluable. Such as lot 239 at the I M Chait auctions and gallery. An authentic egyptian mummy hand sold for $3750.

Inspire Poetry
Edgar Allen Poe wrote Some Words With a Mummy in 1850. “They had been awaiting me with much impatience; the Mummy was extended upon the dining-table; and the moment I entered its examination was commenced.”

Buy it by the pound
When the great mummy rush of 1586 started one could purchase it by the pound. This was done in much the same way as we would now buy or sell mulch.

Stage Props
Stage magicians would often keep a mummy on hand for publicity. Often times the mummy may have even made it into the egyptians act.

The mummified cats were used as fertilizer. It was believed that they gave the crops an extra bit of luster.

Fire Wood
The cases mummies came in would make great fire wood. Arabs would often use them to start fires. The people of thebes would sometimes use them to heat ovens. On occasion an arm or leg may have been used to light the way in a dark tomb.

Magic Powder
King Charles II would rub ground up mummy powder on his skin. He believed this powder would give him the powers of the ancient Pharaohs.

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  1. Pingback: The Monarch Review interviews Tony Hicks~ | Victorian Adventure Enthusiast

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