Gottfried Knoche
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) August Gottfried Knoche
Sex m
Date(s) 19th c
Current Location
Location Germany
Catalog #

August Gottfried Knoche was a German doctor and surgeon. In 1837, he studied at the University of Freiburg and worked in the University's hospital. A few years later he went to Venezuela and settled in La Guaira, where he tended to the large number of German emigrants who were farming nearby along the littoral. He also brought along his wife and daughter from Germany, putting them to work as his nurse and assistant. Knoche was known as a charitable man, who treated poor patients without charge, and was considered fearless in his fight against a cholera epidemic that was ravaging the area.


Knoche s best-known for inventing an embalming fluid that was used to mummify dozens of corpses at his laboratory in Venezuela. During the Federal War, when many bodies were brought back from battlefields, he became fascinated with the process of decomposition and began experimenting on unclaimed corpse. He then devised a fluid that could be injected into veins and preserve a cadaver without having to remove organs.


In preparation for Knoche's own death, he prepared the proper dosage and entrusted it to his nurse Amalie Weismann. She carried out this commission faithfully and mummified his body.

Additional Info

Koche's fluid is believed to have been based on an aluminum chloride compound, but the complete formula has never been discovered, if in fact it was ever written down.

External Links

  • "Dr.Knoche y sus Mumías", a website created by Miguel Jaramillo.
  • "Doctor Knoche, el Vampiro de Galipan" by Ramón Urdaneta @ Venezuela y el Mundo (blog).


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.