When Arp Schnitger, a reputed organ maker who working in Germany in the late 17th century, was assigned a portion of an underground crypt of St Peter’s Cathedral in Bremen to work in, is sure that he didn’t expect to find the mummified remains of not one, but eight residents of the German city!
The crypt is located beneath the nave of the cathedral and was originally used to store lead that was used for renovations to the roof and other structures, giving to the chamber its name Bleikeller. It seems that the lead, the dry air of the crypt, or a combination of other factors are thought to have caused the natural mummification of the corpses, which are thought to date back around 400 years.
Since they were discovered, the mummies have been a source of great curiosity for locals and visitors alike.
The mummies were placed in glass-topped coffins, and they can be accessed still today through a separate entrance in the church complex. Each of them has its own story to tell.
The body of a man who was killed and has his mouth open as if shouting.
A Swedish general and his assistant.
An English countess, identified in some places as Lady Stanhope.
A murdered student.
A citizen of Bremen named Konrad Ehlers.
And the last Swedish administrator of the cathedral, Georg Bernhard von Engelbrechten, and his wife.