The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palmero is located in Sicily. The catacombs build out of limestone caves in the late 16th century. It is a belief that the catacombs build after the local order of Capuchin friars ran out of burial space. According to the legend, 45 dead monks didn’t have a burial place after the cemetery had no room, so they built a new tomb.
It is shocking when the friars saw that their 45 brothers are in the catacombs didn’t decompose. They’re dead for a century. It likely happened naturally due to the conditions of the environment, but the monks believed that it was a Godly miracle. The decease monks put on display so that their miraculous remains will be in public.
After the mummification, monks became popular and the Capuchin catacombs become a desirable place to be. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, many affluent Palermites are paying to be to rest in the catacombs. Inside, the mummies are in public to show their social status, sex, and profession. They had special corridors and chapels set up for women, men, children, virgins, families, the clergy, and professional specialists.
Closed To New Arrivals
In 1880, the catacombs were full capacity, and they closed the door to new arrivals. After they avoiding new arrivals, there are only two exceptions. The first is in 1911, and the body of Giovanni Paterniti, the Vice-Consul of the United States, is inside. The second is in 1920, and it is the body of a little girl, Rosalia Lombardo.
There isn’t much documentation about Rosalia Lombardo’s background. According to the local lore, she is the daughter of a wealthy nobleman, Mario Lombardo. He serves as a military general, which may be way exceptions are in the catacombs. Legend says that she was a delicate child who was prone to illness and infection. After his daughter’s death, Mario was heartbroken. He commissioned a master taxidermist named Alfredo Salafia to preserve her body. According to all accounts, Rosalina was Alfredo’s most memorable and finest work. During his career as a taxidermist,he works over 100 bodies until his death in 1933. After she was preserved, she was dubbed, Sleeping Beauty.
Special Chemical Formula
Alfredo took notes when he would embalm a body, and according to the handwritten note about Rosalina, he used a unique chemical formula that he designed himself. He used on part glycerin, one part formalin saturated with zinc sulfate and zinc chloride, and one part of an alcohol solution saturated with salicylic acid. During animal taxidermy, the organs are removed. When Alfredo preserved Rosalina’s body, he didn’t extract her organs. Instead, he drained her blood and injected the formula that he created. He likely did this through the femoral artery. The glycerine staved off desiccation and got rid of the bacteria that causes bodies to decay. The salicylic killed off any fungi, and the zinc salts preserved her body in a rigid state.
Immaculate, Dead For A Century
Rosalina’s body was so immaculately preserved that she looks like she is made of wax. The History Channel wanted to determine if it was actually a human body, so they x-rayed her coffin in the 2000s. The x-ray showed that her skeleton and her brain were diminished by half the size. In 2009, National Geographic went a step further by performing an MRI scan of Rosalina. They were able to create a 3D map of her body, which showed the position of every organ. Every part of the little girl was so well preserved that it is hard to believe that she died almost a century ago.
Many people who have seen Rosalina’s remains believe that her restless spirit haunts her body. There have been reports of her cool blue eyes opening, and staring at those who observe it. It is believed that she opens her eyes several times a day, and it has been documented. At least one photographer has captured her eyes opening.
How Does This Happen?
Paranormal enthusiasts believe that her soul still possesses her body. Skeptics believe that the humidity and the ambient temperatures in the catacombs are responsible for her eyes opening. Piombino-Mascali, the curator of the catacombs, believes that it is merely an optical illusion produced by the light that comes in from the side windows. He also says that when her body was placed in the coffin that her eyes weren’t completely closed.
This girl has been dead for a century. So when you see what she does, you’ll be terrified. The sight of her eyes opening is as frightening as it is terrifying. Maybe she is haunting her own body, but perhaps there is a scientific reason. We may never know.