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These Corpses Became Mummies in the Basement of a German Cathedral

When a local stumbled upon the mummies, he was shocked.

The crypt that lies beneath St. Peter’s Cathedral in Bremen, Germany is known as Bleikeller – lead cellar – because the space was originally used to store leftover lead after renovations. Scientists think that, in an unintended side effect, the lead and the dry air contributed to the mummification of corpses stored down there, some of which could be almost 300 years old.

mummies basement
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Related: A Secret Room Inside Mount Rushmore Holds Answers for Future Civilizations 

The bodies were found by Arp Schnitger, a 17th century organ maker who was allowed part of the basement to use as a workshop – so it must have been quite a shock. The bodies have been accessible to tourists since the mid-19th century, according to at least one account, and today you can see their bodies through glass-topped coffins.

If you visit, you’ll see that each of the bodies has a story to tell: a man who was fatally shot, a Swedish general, the general's assistant, an English countess, a murdered student, as well as a few prominent Bremen citizens. It’s definitely a unique stop and something your friends might have missed.

Scroll below to see what lies within St. Peter's crypt: 

mummies basement bremen cathedral
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
mummies basement bremen cathedral
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
mummies basement bremen cathedral
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
mummies basement bremen cathedral
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
mummies basement bremen cathedral
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
mummies basement bremen cathedral
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
mummies basement bremen cathedral
  • A vintage postcard from the early 1900s depicting the Bremen mummies
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

[Via Atlas Obscura]

This story was first published on did you know? 

Featured photo: Wikimedia Commons 

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