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
Site Found buried in the Gila Bend Desert in 1895
Current Location
Location Ye Old Curiosity Shop in Seattle, Washington
Catalog #


Sylvester the Mummy was found in the Gila Bend Desert, Arizona in 1895. After his discovery, his well-preserved body travelled as a circus attraction through the United States. 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 considered to be 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 hinted to 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.

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