She's Been Dead For 90 Years. Her Perfect Preservation Isn't The Strangest Part

Almost 95 years ago, on December 6, 1920 Rosalia, daughter of Official Mario Lombardo, died of pneumonia at the age of two.  Her grieving dad couldn’t settle for just laying his daughter to rest and sought out Alfredo Salafia, a Sicilian professor of chemistry, to preserve her. After he worked his magic, she was placed in the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily where she rests to this day.

Her near-perfect preservation has earned her the name “Sleeping Beauty” since she appears to be a living child taking a nap. The secrets to her embalming stayed unknown for years until Salafia’s handwritten memoir was uncovered. It revealed that her blood was replaced with a formula that prevented the body from drying out and killed bacteria. The recipe translates to: “one part glycerin, one part formalin saturated with both zinc sulfate and chloride, and one part of an alcohol solution saturated with salicylic acid.”

Her unusually perfect embalming isn’t the strangest part of Rosalia’s story. Being such a famous mummy, she is visited often and this was how it was discovered that her eyes appeared to be opening. It’s an optical illusion produced by the light that filters through the side windows.

Check out this video to learn more

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