Biography -

The Capuchin Catacombs, is a museum composed entirely of mummified people who once lived in Palermo, Italy - it is the living dead museum. They are dressed in the attire of their times, or the attire of their occupation and spend eternity as a history lesson for those still alive. The very first occupant of the catacombs was a monk Brother Silvestro who died in 1599.

Mummification -

Mummification does not guarantee the stop of decay, as such, many mummies are wired back together as they fall apart. Sometimes the cadavers resemble screaming because the jaw slacked and needs to be reattached.

The walls and rooms are covered with clothed mummies - some officers and soldiers, some painters, plenty of monks, a number of teachers, lawyers. Male, female, old, young, rich or poor.

The original (and still most common) method of mummification was that of dehydrating the bodies by the use of cells that resembled a barbecue pit. Known as strainers the cadaver stayed there for about eight months to a year naturally draining it's fluids and drying up a bit. The environment where the bodies were dehydrated had a perfect mix of coolness and humidity allowing the bodies to dry out slowly but not rot. Once ready they were removed, washed with vinegar, lodged with sweet smelling herbs and dressed for display.

During periods of epidemics the bodies were often first dipped in arsenic or lime.

Citation -

L. (2014, August 21). Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Italy. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from

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