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Palermo mummies.  Source: Habanero666 / CC by SA 3.0.

Resurrecting the Past: Sicily's Bizarre Mummy Rituals (Video)

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Sicily's enigmatic mummy rituals have captivated researchers and historians alike for decades. Originating with the capuchin monks of Palermo, the tradition of mummification rapidly spread across southern Italy, finding its way into convents and churches. These preserved bodies, defying the natural order, were perceived as miraculous and holy, granting protection to those near them. Death, for the Sicilians, was not the end of a journey but a continuation, as the souls of the miraculously preserved mummies guided the recently deceased towards their final destination in the afterlife.

The bodies were meticulously dehydrated, purging them of bodily fluids, both physically and metaphorically cleansing the soul. These astonishingly well-preserved mummies became a medium for communication between the living and the dead, sought after for advice and intercessions. With ties to nobility and the bourgeoisie, mummification became a symbol of wealth and prestige.

Top image: Palermo mummies.  Source: Habanero666 / CC by SA 3.0.

By Robbie Mitchell



Charles Bowles's picture

Dehydrated mummy rituals.

Charles Bowles

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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