THE FIRST ROMANIAN MUMMY

Mar 12, 14 • BlogNo CommentsRead More »
A century old enigma solved. Photo by Bogdan Croitoru

A century old enigma solved. Photo by Bogdan Croitoru

In 1908, professor Mina Minovici, the founder of the Forensic Institute in Bucharest, mummified the body of an old beggar. The mummy spent most of the following 95 years in a window case at the Institute. During all that time, legends spread among the generations of medical teachers and students regarding the supposed existence of internal organs inside the mummy and certain secrets of conservation, that professor Minovici had allegedly learned in the years he had spent in Egypt. Dr. Cristian Curca is the one who managed to solve the mystery. ‘We have made several investigations, a computed tomography, an endoscopy and a toxicological exam, as well as a detailed search through the archives of the Institute’, he said.

Surprisingly, the tests show that all internal organs are still inside the mummy, in their natural position. The only incision was made on the right thigh, in order to open the circumflex artery of the thigh where the embalming substance was injected. According to dr. Curca, two methods have been successfully combined: embalming and mummification. The preservation has been efficient mainly because of artificial dehydration, indicating that we are talking about a real mummy, not simply an embalmed body.

The myth of Professor Minovici’s secret was built on ignorance and on the belief that his preservation method was lost. But the ‘magic formula’ was there, in plain writing, in the Institute’s archives: the composition of the embalming fluid (two liters of 40% formalin, 250 ml of glycerol and 250 ml of 96 degrees ethylic alcohol) had been passed on to disciples and published in the press as early as 1938.