Christian Kahlbutz
Human Mummy
Kahlbutz on display in the church
Kahlbutz on display in the church
Biographical Information
Name(s) Christian Friedrich Von Kahlbutz
Age 52
Sex male
Status German Knight
Height N/A
Culture German
Date(s) 1651-1702
Site the church of Kampehl
Current Location
Location Kampehl, Brandenburg, Germany
Catalog # N/A

Christian Friedrich von Kahlbutz was born in 1651 and died in 1702. Kahlbutz was a German knight who lived his whole life in Kampehl, Brandenburg, Germany. He was said to have had 11 children and perhaps two dozen more illegitimate children. He was a German knight who was known to have frequently exercised droit du seigneur, a legal right in late medieval Europe allowing feudal lords to have sexual relations with any lower caste women. The knight died at 52 years of age and was put in in an oak double coffin in a family tomb at Kampehl. As the church was being renovated in the year 1794, the coffins were taken out and moved to the local cemetery in the town. Once the coffins were opened, it was noted that all the corpses were fully decayed except Kahlbtuz.


Studies showed that the body had not been intentionally mummified. Scientists still do not fully know why Christian's body was so well preserved, when the rest inside the family tomb fully decayed. The best theory is that Christian had an illness that caused the emaciation of his body before his death. An illness such as cancer, muscular dystrophy, or tuberculosis. Historical sources state that he suffocated on his own blood, which means that he experienced severe blood loss before death, which could have caused his mummification.


Researchers have not been able to conclusively explain how he died or why his body mummified. Reasons for the mummification include the absence of oxygen caused by the double walls of the coffin, or tannins in the coffin’s wood, or the dry air in the tomb (Aufderheide 2011).


German legend says that Kahlbutz had this great mummification because of his statement during a trial for a murder. When Christian tried to use his right with the bride of a shepherd, but she said no. Since he was so angry from the denial he murdered the shepherd. The widow, Maria Leppin, took him to court for the murder of her husband. Kahlbutz was acquitted after he proceeded with another unjust ‘right’.  He had a special right where he was able to swear an ‘oath of innocence’ and this must be taken as his truth, leading to his acquittal. As the legend has it, when Kahlbutz declared his innocence he strictly said "It was not I, otherwise after my death my body will not decay."

External Links

Aufderheide, A.C. (2011). The scientific study of mummies. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

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