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Church of the Dead offers macabre mummy display

By Catholic Online
December 22nd, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In the lively medieval town of Urbania in central Italy, visitors can pay a visit to a macabre church that holds 18 mummies behind glass. Chiesa dei Morti, or the Church of the Dead, offers a surprising view on the practice of mummification aside from those commonly found in ancient Egypt.  

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Visitors enter the church through the Baroque doorway. They are then ushered into the chapel, known as the mummy cemetery, a chilling display that has kept people coming back for generations.

The eighteen mummies stand in individual glass cases that have been on display behind the altar since 1833. Naturally mummified due to the presence of a special mold that sucked all of the moisture out of the bodies, these individuals were - and are famous both in and outside the community.

A tour guide tells how each of the mummies passed away. One, which suffered from Down\'s syndrome, died of heart failure; another died while in labor; one was murdered.

The Brotherhood of Good Death, a group founded more than 400 years ago in 1567, is responsible for the mummy display. The original goals of the brothers were to provide free burial for the dead and keep a record of the deaths.

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