Baroness Schenck von Geyern, also known as Ernestina von Holz, was one of five adult mummies found at the crypt of the Sommersdorf Castle which is located in a southern region of Germany known as Bavaria. Researchers have concluded that she was buried at 58 years old during late 17th century. She was thought to be a part of the von Crailsheim family who were advisers and executive officers to the margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach.
The mummies found in the crypt were not embalmed, but naturally mummified. Each of the bodies had surprisingly well preserved skin and muscle tissue despite the moisture in the crypt. Furthermore, it was found that some of the clothing stuck to the mummies
Researchers from the University of Zurich found that Baroness had extra vertebra in her lower back. This led to additional back problems, where five vertebrae fused causing a severe curvature of the spine. These back symptoms were also found in other mummies in the crypt, leading the researchers to conclude that the presence of the extra lumbar vertebrae, fused vertebrae, and spinal curvatures could be a genetic trait.
Baroness' circumstances of death were through convulsions. She had extreme degenerative alterations to her superior and articular facets along with deformed lower thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. In addition, the scientists performed a possible diagnosis of a vertebral haemangioma, which are benign, solitary tumors of proliferating blood vessels. It would be no surprise if Baroness suffered through back pain and restricted mobility.
Baroness Schenck von Geyern can be found at the Summersdorf Castle along with the other crypt mummies.
Alterauge A, Kellinghaus M, Jackowski C, et al. (2017) The Sommersdorf mummies—An interdisciplinary investigation on human remains from a 17th-19th century aristocratic crypt in southern Germany. 12(8) 1-36. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183588
Cardin, M. (2015). Mummies around the World. Crypt mummies of Sommersdorf Castle. (pp. 81-83). Santa Barbara, CA: An Encyclopedia of Mummies in History, Religion, and Popular Culture.