As corpses were disinterred, it was discovered that a small percentage had been naturally mummified, and that a few had been buried alive.
Eventually their fear is realised as the body remains motionless. Funeral arrangements are made and Aguilar is interred into the ground in Guanajuato Cemetery, Mexico.
Sometime later, decades down the line, Ignacia Aguilar is disinterred and when she is uncovered, the coffin lid opened, something is not right. Aguilar, like many of the other bodies removed from the ground after family had not paid the 'grave tax' was mummified – the heat of the surrounding soil and the ground minerals working together to dry out the body, preserving the flesh, hair and clothing.
But what is different from this mummy, compared to the others, is that Aguilar's hands are up over her head, her mouth is filled with dried blood and there are scratches on her forehead.
Aguilar had been mistakenly buried alive. She had rolled onto her stomach, and placing her arms underneath, she had tried to push her way out. Unable to escape and despair obviously becoming too much she bit into her forearm drawing the blood that was found dried and preserved in her corpses dried mouth.
A Rather Macabre Museum
There are many other stories concerning the accidental mummies of Guanajuato but Ignacia Aguilar's is the one that stands out. The reason we know so much about her story today is because unlike many of the other mummies dug up in egypt and other places around the world that are aged in the thousands of years, the Guanajuato mummies are not even two centuries old.
As the cemeteries filled and more needed to be opened a 'grave tax' came into place that ordered families to pay for their loved ones rights to stay buried. Should the tax be unpaid, the bodies were dug up and cremated, providing new room for bodies to be buried.
Soon the small room began to be filled with mummies of all ages – ranging from a preserved foetus of 24 weeks all the way through to the elderly. The bodies of both the rich and the poor are on display, as about 120 mummies were found before the 'grave tax' was abolished in 1958.
Today the Guanajuato Mummies Museum is one of the cities biggest tourist attractions and is not without its ghost stories.
Footsteps have been heard during the night when the only person present is the caretaker, and whispered chatter can be heard when no one else is near. Some people swear the museum is haunted by those whose eternal rest has been disturbed, though more than a few are happy to blame the supernatural happenings on a witch whose mummified remains are also on display.