The National Institute of Anthropology and History is warning people of an illness that faces living human beings which is linked to ancient mummies, according to Popular Mechanics. These mummies have traversed the country being displayed in exhibits that date back to 2009 when they first arrived in the United States. More recently, the “Mummies of Guanajuato” have appeared in Mexico City.
The six mummies are reportedly behind glass cases, but Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History are doubting how airtight the glass might be. The institute sounded the alarm on the display because they found that fungus was growing on it. So, while the mummies will not be coming back to life as they might in the movies, they might be infecting people with a deadly fungus which would be just as bad. And while this is not a common occurrence, it isn’t unheard of either.
When 12 scientists visited the opening of King Casimir IV’s tomb in 1970 in Poland, within just a few weeks 10 of them had died, which was likely from fungus, according to IFL Science.
The mummies are displayed without any safeguards, the Associated Press reported. Photos of the exhibit dating back to November 2021 show fungus colonies growing. The fungus could be derived from numerous factors. It’s reportedly believed that 100 to 200 years ago, people were not intentionally mummified in Mexico. The mineral-rich environment and airtight vault in which they were buried, however, preserved their bodies to the point where some still have hair, skin, and clothing.
These mummies were also not typically mummified. They both lacked embalming and other products typical of the ritual. They were part of Mexican culture since the 1860s, which resulted from families who could not afford to keep their loved ones buried. The bodies were then ordered to be dug up and, when seeing how well-preserved the bodies were, some workers reportedly saw the profitability in attracting curious spectators.