Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Sylvester the Mummy
Age Around 45 years old when he died
Sex Male
Status Desperado
Height N/A
Culture American Frontier
Date(s) Around 1895
Site Unknown, but possibly processed as an embalmer's exhibit
Current Location
Location Ye Old Curiosity Shop in Seattle, Washington
Catalog # Unknown

Sylvester  was said to have been found in the Gila Bend Desert, Arizona in 1895, although recent tests have disproved the story.[1] During the 20th century, his well-preserved body travelled as a sideshow attraction throughout the United States.

Sylvester has a hole in his chest and what appears to be blood stains around the wound. Sideshow exhibitors claimed it was a bullet wound, but modern endoscopic exploration have proved the hole was made with a drill, and the discoloration is paint.

In 1955, he was purchased by the Ye Old Curiosity Shop in Seattle, Washington. He was exhibited in the 1962 Seattle World's fair. Currently, he is still situated in a glass case in the curiosity shop.

Sylvester was a male Caucasian who died when he was approximately 45 years old. In death, he was marketed as a "Desperado from the Old West". In 2001 and 2005, studies were conducted which discovered shotgun pellets in his right cheek, neck and lungs. These injuries were likely obtained years before his death. It is unknown what caused his death, though the 2001 analysis indicated tuberculosis.


In 2001, researchers at the Bioanthropology Research Institute at Quinnipiac University conducted MRI and CT scans on the mummy. They revealed the presence of well-preserved internal organs and brain. According to Conlogue, "he's absolutely the best preserved mummy we've ever examined".

Sylvester' was a man about 45 years of age, 5 feet 11 inches tall. Currently the mummy is a quite heavy 137 pounds. He likely weighed about 225 pound in life.

In 2005, with newer technology, the team discovered that the tongue was still intact. He had a healthy liver during his time of death. He also had severe bunions and extremely high arches.


Sylvester was so well preserved because he was injected with an arsenic based fluid by an embalmer immediately following his death. Arsenic was used to stop the decomposition by killing bacteria and insects that invaded the body. This caused his body to dry out and subsequently, be mummified.



External Links

Ervin, K. (2005, November 20). CT tells mummy’s secret: Preservation no accident. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from

Stolze, D. (2014, August 6). The strangest places human remains can be found in the U.S. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

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