PT reports on mummies being exhibited in Ohio.

Mar 27, 1835
News (traditional)
Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph

"Mummies," Painesville Telegraph 1, no. 40 (March 27, 1835): [3]

Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph
A. Gardner, Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph
Reading Public


Mr. Editor,—The history of the ancients is replete with grandeur & curiosity; and who is there so callous, as not to be excited with sufficient curiosity, to traverse with interest, all the dark labyrinths of pagan lore and long gone by usages. History, indeed, calls to mind spirits which have long since been traversing the golden works of the celestial world; but, how much more are we neared to them, when we can commingle with bodies spiritless, who traversed this earth, thousands of years ago, as we now do, possessing the passions and wants, ambition, avarice and superstition like ourselves. Could we but look forward beyond the dark curtain of time and see the mighty changes, which will transpire for thousands of years to come, we should be lost in amazement. The past is wonderful although very incomplete; yet we are only obtaining new light from the rediscoveries of scientific antiquarians. The discoveries in the long buried cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii which have been hidden from the world about 1800 years are truly interesting. The habits, manners and customs of those once inhabited cities are plainly inferred from the appearance of the charred dwellings and other edifices for public purposes—their ampitheaters and temples of Isis, holy utensils and baths &c. &c.

But the most interesting of all antique subjects, is the opening of the catacombs of Egypt where human bodies are found in a complete state of preservation or nearly so. How, or by what agency these bodies were preserved, or for what object is wholly an enigma. Many have conjectured that the doctrine of the resurrection was embodied in the Egyptian religious faith, and others again suppose that the practice of embalming their dead originated in their abhorrence to decay—but all is speculation. Curiosity has frequently prompted us to visit and critically examine mummies which were found in the catacombs near Thebes; and to realize that I was viewing one of my own species who had lived like myself and been a member of a community three or four thousand years ago, produced a sensation like that of associating with people of another world.

I received a short description from a friend in Cleveland of four mummies that are now exhibiting in that place which may not be uninteresting to some of your readers. [vacat] A GARDNER.

"Dear Sir: I send you a description of four Mummies, now exhibiting in this place. They were found in June, 1832—three miles from Thebes, 236 feet deep in a catacomb or vault 94 by 18 feet in the clear. Some stone described by the finder 32 ft. long, 8 high and 5 feet wide, evidently belonging to Mount Lebyen, to which there are strong indications of a rail-road. The stone were put together with cement and exhibited superior workmanship.

Some of the bodies stood in niches of the wall; a row of bodies, however, laid on the bottom 8 feet deep (reversed,) more or less decayed. This statement of the owner is accompanied by good authority.

No. 1.—4 feet 11 inches, female—supposed age 60; arms extended, hands side by side in front; the head indicating motherly goodness. There was found with this person a roll or book, having a little resemblance to birch bark; language unknown. Some linguists however say they can decipher 13-36, in what they term the epitaph; ink black and red; many female figures.

No. 2.—Height 5 ft. 1 1-2 inch; female; supposed age 40. Arms suspended by the sides; hands brought in contact; head damaged by accident; found with a roll as No. 1, filled with hieroglyphics, rudely executed.

No. 3.—Height 4ft. 4 1-2.—Male, very old, say 80; arms crossing on the breast, each hand on its opposite shoulder; had a roll of writing as No. 1 & 2; superior head, it will compare in the region of sentiments with any in our land; passions mild.

No. 4.—Height 4 ft. 9; female. I am inclined to put her at about 20 or 25, others call her an old woman; arms extended, hands by her side; auburn hair, short as girls at present in their new fashion. Found with her a braid of hair, three strands of the color of that on her head and 18 inches long. The head approximates to the form of the Orang Outang. The occipital and bazillar region very large; the head indicating a person of the lowest grade of human beings. Slander, fight, and devotion to the passions were undoubtedly peculiar traits in her character. They were enveloped in linnen saturated with gum. the qualities of which are not well understood. A thousand yards are supposed to be used on each body; 186 thicknesses had been counted on one of them. They are couvered so as to preserve the exact form of the body and limbs. No. 3 and 4; the envelope is mostly stripped off; and on and 2 it is some broken. No. 1, fine linnen; No. 2, coarse; No. 3 , very coarse; No. 4, very fine. The bodies evidently were reduced before winding. The man, No. 3, whose cerebral organization indicates a mind able to guide the destinies of a nation, in enveloped in the poorest and coarsest linnen, while the woman, No. 4, whose head indicates a disposition which may well be represented as the demon of society, was in the most careful manner enveloped in the finest of linnen and with a much greater proportion of gum. Is not this circumstance an indication to us that rank was not according to merit—that superiority in station did not follow from superiority of mind, but from extraneous circumstances.

It is interesting to observe in these individuals the external indications if disposition which at this day build up and pull down society; that these relics of another and unknown age were once animated with life, and actuated by passions, hopes and fears, as we now are. How pleasing to contemplate that aged man, by rules that will not deceive, in the active exercise of those sentimental powers of the mind from which the hope of immortality springs. In such minds there is light -- in such minds a nation will find prosperity, and society an anchor. But how sad to contemplate the history of that young female (No. 4)—revenge and hate indignant from upon her brow.

The love of property is not indicated on either of their hands as being in any proportion as strong as with us. Did they not hold property in common? and is not this remark applicable to Indians? [vacat] FARMER.

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