Sylvester the Mummy
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Sylvester the Mummy
Age Around 45 years old when he died
Sex Male
Status Desperado
Height N/A
Culture American Frontier
Date(s) Around 1895
Site Unknown, but possibly processed as an embalmer's exhibit
Current Location
Location Ye Old Curiosity Shop in Seattle, Washington
Catalog # Unknown


Sylvester the Mummy was claimed to have been found in the Gila Bend Desert, Arizona in 1895, although recent tests have disproved the story.[1] During the 20th century, his well-preserved body travelled as a sideshow attraction throughout the United States.

Sylvester has a hole in his chest and what appears to be blood around the wound. Sideshow exhibitors claimed it was a bullet wound, but modern endoscopic exploration have proved the hole was made with a drill, and the discoloration is paint.

In 1955, he was purchased by the Ye Old Curiosity Shop in Seattle, Washington. He was exhibited in the 1962 Seattle World's fair. Currently, he is still situated in a glass case in the curiosity shop.

Sylvester was a male of European descent who died when he was approximately 45 years old. He was marketed as a "Desperado from the Old West". In 2001 and 2005, studies were conducted which discovered shotgun pellets in his right cheek, neck and lungs. These injuries were likely obtained years before his death. It is unknown what caused his death, though the 2001 analysis indicated tuberculosis.


In 2001, researchers at the Bioanthropology Research Institute at Quinnipiac University conducted MRI and CT scans on Sylvester. They revealed the presence of well-preserved internal organs and brain. According to Conlogue, "he's absolutely the best preserved mummy we've ever examined".

In 2005, with newer technology, the team discovered that the tongue was still intact, and still perhaps contained some moisture. He also had a healthy liver during his time of death.


Sylvester was so well preserved because he was injected with an arsenic based fluid by an embalmer immediately following his death. This caused his body to dry out and subsequently, be mummified.

References Edit


External LinksEdit

Ervin, K. (2005, November 20). CT tells mummy’s secret: Preservation no accident. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from

Stolze, D. (2014, August 6). The strangest places human remains can be found in the U.S. [Web log post]. Retrieved from