Above - Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe - by
About 1895, two
wandering cowboys riding through the Gila Bend Desert of Central
Arizona came upon the nude body of a man half-buried in the
treacherous shifting sands. The body was exhumed and carried to
a near-by town for possible identification. It has since
The body is a man
about 45 years of age, 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs at
present 137 pounds. He weighed about 225 pound originally.
Death came through a gunshot wound in the stomach and accompany
stains are plainly visible to this day. Scientists have said
that this is a perfect example of natural dehydration, claiming
that the action of the hot sands and possible chemicals
contained therein together with the dry air, produced this
condition within 24 hours after death. This prevented any form
eye-lashes, teeth, and nails--in fact every detail of the entire
body is perfect. "Sylvester" may be seen at the World Famous Ye
Olde Curiosity Shop, Colman Ferry Dock, Seattle Washington,
This article below
appeared in the Seattle Times 2001
opined one professor, looking at Sylvester yesterday.
Seattleites have always known that Sylvester, aka Sylvester the
Mummy, who's stood at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop for almost 50
years, was a man who defied time.
And tests conducted
yesterday at the University of Washington Medical Center proved
with his Curiosity Shop companion mummy, Sylvia, were taken by
ambulance to the hospital for a CT scan as part of an upcoming
television documentary series about mummies.
Titled "The Mummy
Road Show," the 13-part series follows Gerald Conlogue and
Ronald Beckett, two professors from Quinnipiac University in
Hamden, Conn., around the world as they examine mummies.
Producers of the
show happened upon Sylvester and Sylvia when they saw Ye Olde
Curiosity Shop's Web site. They get to CT scan the mummies
thanks to the UW Medical Center's donation of the facility,
instruments and time.
"Anything to advance
medical science," said Dr. Udo Schmiedl, professor of radiology
and director of imaging services at UW Medical Center. The
hospital last year performed a CT scan of Nellie, the Burke
Museum's 2,300-year-old Egyptian mummy.
producers and technicians crowded around as first Sylvester then
Sylvia went through the CT machine.
"His brain is so
very pretty," said Conlogue, assistant professor and director of
the diagnostic imaging program and co-director of the
bioanthropology research institute at Quinnipiac. "It's a normal
brain. It's just smaller."
Click on Image
All of Sylvester's
organs seemed shrunken but perfectly proportional.
"This is the
best-preserved old mummy I've seen," Conlogue said.
He theorized that
Sylvester's body had probably been coated with something that
preserved his organs, contradicting the current theory that
natural dehydration in the desert may have prevented his
decomposition. (As the story goes, Sylvester was found
half-buried in the sands of the Gila Bend Desert of central
Arizona in 1895 by two wandering cowboys. He came to Ye Olde
Curiosity Shop in 1955.)
The CT scan
yesterday also revealed the bullet that may have killed
Sylvester. It entered his lower left abdomen and a fragment was
found by the collarbone. In addition, there were metal fragments
-- probably from bullets or shrapnel -- in his face, the result
of an incident that may have occurred years before his death.
seemed to have severe bunions and extremely high arches, said
Dr. Sue Romanick, a Bellevue rheumatologist in private practice,
who watched yesterday out of curiosity.
Sylvia, in contrast,
was desiccated, with most of her organs collapsed and liquefied,
like most mummies that Conlogue and Bequeath have examined.
Sylvia dates to the early 19th century.
The series featuring
Sylvester and Sylvia, produced by Larry Angel of New York-based
Angel Brothers Media, will air in the fall on National
Next week Conlogue,
Bequeath and crew are off to West Virginia, where they'll study
the work of a mad scientist who embalmed patients from a mental
Said Angel: "We're
following two guys with a sense of humor, who respect their
mummies and have a good time.
If you have a question you would like
to submit email us at the