Mummy Crypt in Wiuwert
In 1765, carpenters working in St Nicholas Church in Wiuwert had the fright of their lives when they unexpectedly came across seven perfectly preserved bodies in the crypt. The carpenters fled from the church in panic.
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In 1765, carpenters working in St Nicholas Church in Wiuwert had the fright of their lives when they unexpectedly came across seven perfectly preserved bodies in the crypt. The carpenters fled from the church in panic. The strange thing was the bodies were still in their clothes. And going by their skin, it looked as if they had only just been buried. Researchers have since explained that the conditions in the crypt caused the bodies to undergo natural mummification without being prepared or embalmed.
The seven corpses were taken to the former University of Franeker for examination. While they were being examined, most of them fell apart. The bones and skulls were returned to Wiuwert in two sealed caskets. One of the caskets was stolen and is thought to have been smuggled to America, though this has never been proved. There are also vague stories and rumours of what French soldiers got up to in around 1800. The clothes have since decayed, but the four remaining bodies can still be seen in the crypt.
There is a girl of 14 who died of tuberculosis around 1610, a woman who died a peaceful death of old age around 1618, a man who died a painful death brought on by a dental abscess and a goldsmith by the name of Stellingwerf, who appears to have died peacefully and was the last to be buried in the crypt in 1705. The strange story of the ancient mummies of Wiuwert is surrounded by mystery. So far there is no scientific explanation of how bodies buried as long ago as 1609 managed to remain so well preserved. The mystery of the mummies of Wiuwert has yet to be revealed.
Tours are organised from April to the end of October. Groups of 15 or more must book in advance. Admission is €3.00 per person.
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