Quiz Answer 7
Myth 7. Mummies are made in only one way.
Fact: Mummies are created many ways.
The Egyptian method of intentional mummification is the best known. This method is a series of different techniques that changed over the course of 3,000 years. And many other methods used by different civilizations exist.
Intentional mummies may have been smoked over a fire or drained of all bodily fluid. Their internal organs may have been removed (which would stop the inside of the body from rotting) and their skin may have been treated with special substances (which would maintain the body's outer appearance). Of course, some mummies are better preserved than others, depending on the techniques used and the skill of the practitioner. On the other hand, accidental mummies were (and still are) made when a corpse is dried, frozen, or buried in ground that does not contain any air.
One unusual method of mummy creation first occurred in Japan between the years 1000-1200 B.C. Some Buddhist priests attempted to mummify themselves while they were still living. To accomplish this, the priest would go on a very strict diet for a period of three years. He would no longer eat such foods as rice, barley, or beans. As he began to lose weight, the priest would place large candles around his body and light them — in effect, the priest was drying out his body with the heat produced by the candles. By the time the priest died of starvation, his body was practically mummified. To make sure that mummification was complete, the body was then placed in an underground tomb for three years before being dried out, one more time, by candles.