On the 6th of December 1920, the daughter of Mario Lombardo, a Sicilian official who was named Rosalia died of pneumonia at the tender age of two. Well, that was 90 years ago. Her father was extremely hard and just could not settle for laying down his daughter, and sort out the help of Alfredo Salafia, who was a noted Sicilian chemistry professor and asked him to help preserve. He did his magic, and she had been placed in the Capuchin catacombs located at Palermo in Sicily, where she is still there today.
This perfect preservation has given her the nickname of ‘sleeping beauty’. It is mainly due to her looking like a small child that is just taking a nap. The secret of this embalming process has remained unknown for all these years, until recently a handwritten memoir by Salafia was uncovered by the curator and the anthropologist of the Capuchin catacombs, Dario Piombino-Mascali. It was revealed that her blood had been replaced by a formula that had prevented the entire body from drying out and killed any kind of bacteria. The recipe, when translated comes to ‘one part glycerin, another part of 4 mile in which is saturated with Singh sulphate and chloride, and one part of alcohol which is saturated with salicylic acid.”
However, it is not the perfect embalming that is the strangest part of the story. Since she happens to be a famous mummy, she is very often visited, and this is when it was discovered that our eyes always appear to be opening. There was even an instance in which one person took four images of her face about two hours apart, and had put them together in a video to show the progress made by the eyelids. There are many that think that it is the soul of the child which is causing this anomaly, but there are various practical explanations. In an article for Discovery, Piombino-Mascali had mentioned “it is merely an optical illusion which is produced due to the filters and the lights from the windows located in the side, and which is subjected to change during the day.” He has claimed that the eyes but never closed in the first place, and it was only a phenomenon that made it appear so.
I have always had a fascination towards mummies, mainly due to the stimulating histories as well as the perfect appearance that they maintain. Among all the famous mummies out there, one of the most interesting stories is certainly that of Rosalia. Her memory did not simply end with the untimely demise, or even the preservation which is quite interesting in itself. There is actually a mystery behind the opening of her eyes which has been brought to the attention of the public. While there can be an explanation for this, it still remains one of the most beautiful and enchanting mummies out there. You can check out the video to get a closer look and gain more information about her origin.