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Bordeaux History: The mummies of Saint Michel

Bordeaux History is a series about Bordeaux's most interesting historical events. Today we are looking into The mummies of Saint Michel.

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    Bordeaux is a stunning city, there is no doubt about it. But, don’t be fooled by this beauty as Bordeaux has some very interesting, dark and creepy secrets hidden under her eye-catching interior. Bordeaux History is a series about Bordeaux’s most interesting historical events. Today we are looking into the mummies of Saint Michel

    Have you already been to all of the usual places that tourists love to visit? By the way, I have an article with all the Bordeaux attractions here. Are you ready for some new, hidden sights to discover? Something darker and more sinister maybe? In that case, you might want to take a walk to the La Basilique Saint-Michel. With its impressive 114m tower, it looks like a true piece of art. But under it, there was once hidden something very spooky and let’s be honest super cool.

    In 1791, a grand renovation had taken place in the city of Bordeaux. In ancient times, the place surrounding the basilica was a mass burial place, left from an old Carolingian Christian sanctuary. Naturally when the town started to develop people wanted to remove the deceased from the main part of the city, because you know…. Zombies and stuff. Actually, it was a very logical move due to the need for urban development but also, to prevent any spreading of diseases.

    Excavations were in full force when the diggers came upon something very curious and somewhat creepy. They discovered between sixty and seventy-five mummified bodies in an extraordinarily well-preserved state. Now, I’m sure you are thinking. Dead people in a cemetery, no way. That is a story, do tell! But, hear me out. The thing is that no one knows for a fact how they are so well preserved.

    There was no evidence of embalming at all. Some people suggest that it could have been a consequence of Bordeaux’s clay-rich soil and the weather conditions, but nothing is conclusive in that regard. Also, it raises the question of why are those the only bodies that ended up mummified when there were hundreds of people buried in the same place. Actually, bodies have been dug up until 2010 and none of them was mummified.

    The weirdest thing is that the mummies have never been properly examined. At this point, I believe they are in a very bad state due to the poor way they were treated. The mummies actually were one of the biggest attractions in Bordeaux after they were discovered. Many celebrities came to witness the creepy, mysterious preserved bodies and were inspired by them for their works of art. Among them Jules Verne and Victor Hugo. During the time the bodies were on a display people were taking parts of the skin of the mummies, and bones and there are even urban legends that include teenagers and satanic rituals.

    All in all, the creepy case of the Saint Michel mummies remains a mystery, but who knows? Maybe some things are better left unknown because we all know what happened to the people who open things they should not. ->

    Everything you need about Bordeaux by Deni

    Cover Photo Credit:

    Domaine public. – Licence Creative Commons Marque du Domaine Public 1.0.