Mystery Surrounds Modern Day Mummies

Category: Society / Dec 13, 2012 4:43PM EDT
High in Colombia's Andes Mountains, just 60 miles from the capital Bogota, a small mountain town has been living with a big mystery. For decades, bodies buried in the San Bernardo cemetery have remained remarkably preserved in one baffling case after another of "natural mummification". The mystery surrounding the natural mummies of San Bernardo has confounded the townspeople and a growing number of tourists and investigators for almost 60 years, with more mummies turning up year after year. Some of the San Bernardo mummies are just partially mummified while others are found almost entirely intact complete with skin, flesh, hair and even the very clothes they were buried in years before. The mummies have been discovered here because in Colombia it is customary to place the deceased in a casket and slide it into an above ground tomb where the body remains for five years. After that time, close family gather again to remove the remains - which would normally be just bones - to relocate them. Hundreds of natural mummies have emerged here since then. Most are reburied, but dozens remain in a tiny crypt under the cemetery chapel as their surviving family members decide what to do with the preserved remains.