Mummies don’t go to waste, Ana Ruiz tells us in The Spirit of Ancient Egypt :

“By the 11th century, Egyptian mummies were being ground into powder and sold as Mummia Vera; this was marketed as an aphrodisiac and a medicine. The great Persian physician Avicenna prescribed Mummia for just about every illness. By the 16th century, Mummia Vera had become highly sought after and was sold in apothecaries throughout Europe well into the 17th century” (95-6).

During the Civil War, “a paper manufacturer named Isaac Augustus Stanwood had the ghastly idea of importing Egyptian mummies to mitigate the critical shortage of rags needed for making paper. He imported huge quantities of mummies, for their linen bandaging; they were unwrapped, and the bandages were reduced to pulp” (96). 

He kept this up until people started getting sick, and it was attributed to an ancient Egyptian curse, which proved to be bad for business.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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