Modern Mummies

The Preservation of the Human Body in the Twentieth Century


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About the Book

For many, a mummy is an Egyptian pharaoh, wrapped in cloth, found thousands of years later in a pyramid by archaeologists. But mummies need not be ancient. Modern-day mummies can be found under glass in special tombs built in their honor, in private collections where they have come to rest after decades on the carnival circuit, in dissecting rooms of medical schools, and in the basements of funeral homes waiting for decades to be claimed by the next of kin. Stories about the famous (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Eva Peron) and the not-so-famous (Leslie Hansell wanted her body mummified to bask in the sun rather than being buried in the cold ground) mummies are told here in great detail, along with a broader look at the history and process of mummification. The book includes a comprehensive study of the successful prolonged preservation of the human body, and delves into the law and science of modern mummification.

About the Author(s)

The late Christine Quigley authored books and articles, wrote an eclectic blog called Quigley’s Cabinet and reviewed books for Fortean Times.

Bibliographic Details

Christine Quigley
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 271
Bibliographic Info: 67 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2851-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1373-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Preface      1
Introduction      3

1. What Has Been, May Be, Can Be, and Will Be Done: The History, Law, and Science of Modern Mummification      5
2. Lying in State: Icons, Idols, and Eccentrics      27
3. Occupational Hazards: Outlaws, Victims, and Local Folks      59
4. Learning About Life and Death: Teaching Aids, Test Subjects, and Teratology Specimens      103
5. Buying Immortality: Emulations, Innovations, and Applications      133
6. Accidents of Nature: Adventurers, Explorers, and a Spelunker      167
7. Acts of Faith: Servants, Patriarchs, and Believers      195
8. Mummy Miscellany: Eviction, Collection, and Neglect      217
9. Conclusion      247

Bibliography      253
Index      259

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Detailed study…incorporates carnival mummies, religious incorruptibility, freak accidents, mortuary science, and cryogenics”—C&RL News
  • “Choc-full of riveting posthumous biographies…extraordinary photographs…a fascinating tome”—Fortean Times
  • “A wealth of fascinating information”—Morbid Curiosity
  • “Well researched…a mass of detail of anecdotal and technical variety”—The Embalmer
  • “Amazing”—Freaks
  • “Those interested in ancient or modern mummification can unearth useful information”—Blue & Gray
  • “Most fascinating”—