For a lengthy time, Europeans were fascinated via mummies. They were so enthralled by them that rich Europeans would go out of their means to perform some really weird points via them. It was not unheard of to buy mummies to unwrap them either publicly or at a exclusive unwrapping party. Mummies would certainly regularly end up in “cabinet of curiosities” next to somepoint prefer a “mermaid’s hand”, a whale bone and also various other odd purchases.

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Examicountry of a Mummy by Paul Dominique Philippoteaux, circa 1891.


Mummies acquire their name from “mumiya” an Arabic word that refers to “pissasphalt“, a organic substance that was offered in Islamic medication for generations. During the crusades, Europeans were introduced to mumiya (pissasphalt) as a medication and shortly it was being shipped anywhere Europe and used as a kind of cure-all.  

Bitumen, which looks a lot like pissasphalt, was used in the ancient Egyptian mummification process and began to be referred to as “mumia” too. 


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Jar of Mumia


But somewbelow along the line, human being ended up being perplexed, and started to think that the term “mumiya” was referring to actual mummies. Which then started the exercise of basically buying mummies, grinding them up into powder, and also mixing them via something prefer honey to swpermit or spcheck out on a wound to cure eextremely disease and illness you can think of. Different components of the mummy were thmust cure different diseases—if you wanted to cure a skin disease, you would grind the skin of a mummy and ingest that, whereas mummy skull was better for headaches. Mumia dropped out of favour as medication in the 18th century, once human being began to understand that it didn’t actually do anypoint, yet you might still buy mumia in a medicinal catalogue as late as 1924.  

If you’re an artist, you most likely know mumia for a different reason. When Europeans weren’t grinding up mummies to swenable them favor vitamins, they were mixing them through chemicals to create a paint referred to as Mummy Brvery own. Mummy Brvery own had actually a kind of transparency so it was used regularly to show tinted glass or shadows in pre-Raphaelite paintings. Mummy Brown, made through genuine mummies, could conveniently be purchased until the 1930s. 

What ultimately quit Europeans doing weird points via mummies? Firstly, common feeling was created, and also civilization determined that eating mummies and also using them as paint is not exceptionally effective and also actually really gross. At the exact same time, the mummy profession was drying up. It was acquiring harder and also harder to buy a mummy as civilization began to understand their cultural and also archaeological value. Lastly, it transforms out that mummies are not a renewable reresource, and also we were running out of honest-to-goodness mummies. I personally cannot wait until some nice school-kid asks me “why aren’t tbelow mummies anymore?” And I will certainly look them square in the eye and also tell them “bereason we ate them.” And I won’t also be wrong.

Want even more to learn more? We extended mummies and their curses in Episode 26 of our Haunted Talks Podcast.

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