Vampires are so out, and zombies are quickly becoming passé. What’s the next fashionable, supernatural creature? How about mummies! They aren’t really supernatural, at least the ones we’ve dug up on Earth. But they could be, once resurrected. Before you know it, they’d surely be full of angst and stuck in some kind of teen mummy romance. And it wouldn’t be that hard to make a sexy mummy — just unravel some of those white strips.
So what is a mummy anyway? Why is it that their bodies don’t turn to bones but retain their skin? And why are they so gross? It comes down to an animal at the bottom of the food chain: bacteria. Bacteria feed off dead human tissue, nibbling away at everything soft with no appetite for the hard bones. So, in order to keep a dead body’s squishy parts around, i.e. create a mummy, the bacteria need to be kept at bay. This is possible if the environment is harsh enough — no water, no oxygen or freezing-cold temperatures. That’s the great thing about making a mummy. You don’t have to worry about keeping the human alive and can entomb it in deadly conditions.
To make an Egyptian mummy, you’d first remove all the organs. Organs eat away at themselves right after a person dies, and they contain water, so it’s good to chuck them out. The next big job is to dry the body out, getting rid of all the other wet places where bacteria would want to hang out. This is usually done with heaps of salt, and further aided by those white linen strips. At this stage, feel free to stuff the body with herbs to plump the thing back up and make it look more human-like. Once you’ve wrapped the body up (that part is probably the funnest), then you adorn away. Actually, who I am kidding, the decorating would be the funnest part.
Mummies can happen naturally too. For example, preserved humans have been found in ice and mossy boggs lacking oxygen. The oldest known accidental mummy dates back to 6,000 years ago. And it consists of nothing else but well-preserved, decapitated head. Ack!
If you want to mummify yourself, you’ll probably need help. Apparently, ancient Buddhists actually turned themselves into mummies by meditating in boxes of salt. That sounds pretty tough, so you could find a company to help you. There actually is one, named Summun after its founder, which specializes in “modern mummification.” The idea is partly to keep your DNA in tact for future cloning. If this really works, you could find yourself waking up in the future inside a brand new body, or perhaps some kind of machine-like pod. I wonder what supernatural creature will be all the rage then? Maybe vampires will have made a big-time comeback.
If you need further instructions in making a mummy, check out this adorable video for kids.