Police in Peru have pulled a mummified human between 600 and 800 years old from the portable cooler bag of a man who claimed it was his “girlfriend.”
Julio Cesar Bermejo, 26, a former food delivery boy, claimed to have had the mummy in his home for three decades — and even slept with it in his bed.
‘At home she is in my room, she sleeps with me. I’m taking care of her,” he said in a video that went viral on social media.
Bermejo was approached by police at the Mantaro viewpoint in the Peruvian city of Puno, known for its significant archaeological significance.
While mummification is synonymous with Egypt, some of the world’s oldest mummies date back 7,000 years to South America.
Police in Peru have seized a mummified human from a former food delivery boy who claimed he had kept it in his house for three decades
Bermejo remains in detention while investigators investigate the case, a government official told AFP on Tuesday.
Mummy or skeleton?
Unlike a skeleton or a fossil, a mummy is a dead body that retains some of the soft tissue it had when it was alive: skin, muscle, or even organs.
This tissue preservation can happen accidentally or through human intervention. It occurs when bacteria and fungi are unable to grow on a corpse and cause its decay.
Historically, quick-drying has been the most common method of mummification because bacteria and fungi cannot grow in the absence of water.
Local resident Jhan remarked, “Which virtual store do you buy these things from?”, while Gabriela joked, “My mummy order hasn’t arrived, what should I do now?”
Another, Juan Carlos, said, “So he can’t take his mama for a walk anymore?”
Bermejo told local media that the mummy — whom he called “Juanita” and called “she” — was “like my spiritual friend,” even though authorities say the remains once belonged to a man.
According to the former delivery boy, his father brought the mummy home 30 or 40 years ago after plans to donate it to a museum fell through.
His family bought it for 2,000 Peruvian sols (£434), he said – “a lot of money” at the time.
According to Peru’s Ministry of Culture, the pre-Hispanic relic was a “mummified adult male individual.”
It was “presumably from the eastern part of Puno,” a region in the Peruvian Andes some 1,300 kilometers (more than 800 miles) southeast of Lima.
The pre-Hispanic relic was a “mummified adult male individual believed to be from the eastern part of Puno,” the culture ministry said.
Got caught? Julio Cesar Bermejo, 26, a former food delivery boy, who claims his family has owned the mummy for years
‘My mummy order has not arrived, what should I do now’: The exact origin of the mummy is unclear
This photo, released on February 25, 2023 by Puno TV, shows members of Puno’s decentralized culture directorate and police investigating the mummy in the cooler
Bermejo was approached by police at the Mantaro viewpoint in the Peruvian city of Puno, known for its significant archaeological significance
The remains appear to be well preserved, suggesting it dates from an era of efficient embalming practices.
“It’s not a Juanita, it’s a Juan,” a ministry specialist confirmed, adding that the mummy belonged to a man who was at least 45 years old at the time of death.
Police found the remains in Bermejo’s bag on Saturday while on patrol in a park in the city of Puno, where he was hanging out with friends.
Bermejo was reportedly one of three men who consumed alcohol at the location before being approached by police.
The body was found wrapped in bandages in the fetal position in the bag branded with the name PedidosYa, a delivery service similar to Deliveroo that serves Latin American countries.
But Bermejo denied trying to sell the mummy, saying he brought it because “my friends wanted to see it.”
The Ministry of Culture said it took possession of the mummified remains “with the aim of protecting and preserving this heritage.”
Puno is close to the Atacama Desert along the western coasts of Chile and Peru, an area of extreme aridity that preserves human remains and cultural material from thousands of years ago.
Scientists believe the Atacama resembles the dusty plains of Mars, which is why it has been used as a proxy for Mars research and a location for TV and movie shoots such as the Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets series.
The alleged owner said the mummy had been in his family’s possession for 30 years after plans to donate it to a museum fell through
One of the most famous mummies, known as ‘Mummy Juanita’, a girl believed to have been killed as a human sacrifice to the Inca gods between 1440 and 1480, was found in 1995 on Mount Ampato in southern Peru.
Peru is rich in historical sites, including Huaca del Sol, a brick temple built by the Moche civilization (AD 100 to 800), and Choquequirao, a large Inca ruin built between the 15th and 16th centuries.
The country’s most visited tourist destination is the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, built in the 15th century near Cusco.
Machu Picchu has had a wrong name for over 100 YEARS: the ancient Inca city was known to the inhabitants as ‘Huayna Picchu’
It is one of the most recognized archaeological sites in the world and an enduring symbol of the Inca Empire.
But according to a study, the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru has been misnamed since its “rediscovery” more than a century ago.
The historic site, high in the Peruvian Andes, was built in the 15th century and later abandoned before being found in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham.
Researchers reviewed Bingham’s original field notes, early 20th-century maps of the region, and centuries-old land documents from various archives.
Findings suggest that the Incas originally called the ancient citadel “Huayna Picchu,” for the rocky pinnacle closest to the site, a little further north, and not “Machu Picchu,” which is the name of the tallest mountain in the near the old town. in the south. Machu Picchu was built as an estate for Emperor Pachacuti, who, according to historical records, rose to power in 1438 before conquering the area where the site is located
Their findings suggest that the Incas originally called it “Huayna Picchu,” for the rocky peak closest to the site, a little further north, and not “Machu Picchu,” which is the name of the tallest mountain in the area. of the old town, to the south.