14 Modern People Who Turned Into Mummies Before They Were Found

Are mummies real? Sadly, when a person with no family passes, their body is often left unnoticed for days or weeks - sometimes, this can last for years. However, if the conditions are right, the body can be preserved, leading to a real mummy. The modern mummy stories on this list are tragic, usually involving people who die and aren't discovered for years, with nobody checking on them or even removing the body.

Real mummies have included the recent discovery of a German sailor in a yacht, left for years; a woman found in a San Francisco hoarder house that later sold for over a million dollars; a suicide victim found by a young boy; and a woman who sat in front of a TV for over 40 years while neighbors squabbled about what to do with her apartment.

Here are some real cases of mummified people found years after their death.

  • The Mummified Children's Book Author

    In May 2013, the mummified remains of author, activist, and teacher Barbara Salinas Norman were found inside her Santa Fe, NM, home. Authorities and family members believe that the body may have been inside the home for over a year. While once a renowned children's book author and civil rights activist, Salinas had become reclusive and suffered from financial and cognitive problems.

    After two years of nobody in her family hearing from her, her brother-in-law entered the home and found her mummified remains. A preliminary autopsy revealed that Salinas had likely died of natural causes.

  • Scientists Discovered Wasps, Bees, And A Squirrel Nesting Inside A Partially Mummified Man

    This is a first. In Poland, researchers discovered a partially mummified body hanging 80 feet in the air from a tree. Scientists found honeybees, wasps, and even a squirrel taking up residence inside the man's body, which they believe went unfound for nearly 13 years. The woodland critters were found after researchers took the body to Wroclaw Medical University's Forensic Medicine Department. The body was uncovered in 2016, but it wasn't until September 2018 that researchers unveiled their findings in a study. 

    "No one before us had the opportunity to describe a case of nesting of these species of animals inside a human corpse found in a tree," said study author Marcin Kadej of the Institute of Environmental Biology at the university. "[It] brings a new perspective and gives us new information on the behavior, ecology and biology of these animals."

  • A Mummified German Sailor Was Found In A Yacht In The Philippines

    A Mummified German Sailor Was Found In A Yacht In The Philippines
    Video: YouTube

    In 2016, Filipino sailors were shocked to find a mummified corpse sitting at a desk in a yacht drifting off the coast of the island of Barobo. The man was later identified as German sailor Manfred Fritz Bajorat, who had been missing since 2009.

    Bajorat was found with his hand just inches from a radio, indicating that he died attempting to call for help, possibly while having a heart attack.

  • A Mummified San Francisco Hoarder Was Found In A Million Dollar House

    A foreclosed house became a nightmarish find for a San Francisco tax official when he discovered the mummified body of an elderly hoarder inside. Police in oxygen masks entered the home and found the one of the worst cases of hoarding they'd ever seen, including giant piles of rotting garbage, rats, and hundreds of bottles of urine. The woman, dead for five years, was found in the bedroom of the decrepit house, where, incredibly, her daughter lived as well. The daughter was removed from the house, and it was completely cleaned and remodeled.

    Shockingly, the house, in the popular Lake District, went back on the market - and sold for $1.56 million.

  • An Ohio Mummy Was Found Hanging By A Young Boy

    An Ohio Mummy Was Found Hanging By A Young Boy
    Video: YouTube

    In 2014, a boy in Dayton, OH, walked into a seemingly abandoned house to find a shocking sight in a closet: a mummified man hanging. 

    Police later determined the man was Edward Brunton. He had apparently taken his life in 2009, but his body was perfectly preserved thanks to the warm climate and lack of moisture.

  • Tokyo's Oldest Man, Mummified For 30 Years

    Tokyo's Oldest Man, Mummified For 30 Years
    Video: YouTube

    Tokyo resident Sogen Kato was thought to be the city's oldest citizen, born in 1899 and living well into the 21st century. Or, at least, he was until police discovered his mummified body in his house, lying in his bed.

    Ironically, it was local officials attempting to give the man an award on Respect for the Aged Day that led to the grisly find. Kato's family was prosecuted for collecting his benefits for decades without telling authorities about his passing.