The incorruptible von Kahlbutz











Christian Friedrich von Kahlbutz (born 1651 in Kampehl, Brandenburg; died 1702 in Kampehl) was a Prussian knight, who is today most famous because of the state of preservation of his body; no noticeable mummification process was used upon his death. Today the mummified corpse is a tourist attraction.


Although “Knight Kalebuz” as he was known, was married, he frequently exercised the medieval right of first night (ius primae noctis). He had eleven children of his own and at least thirty illegitimate children as well. The jus primae noctis meaning law (or right) of the first night, and droit du seigneur meaning the lords right, is the purported right of the lord of an estate to deflower its virgins. …

While exercising this “right” in July 1690, he chose the bride of a shepherd from Bückwitz. She refused him and he murdered the shepherd, as this was the law at the time.

There were no witnesses to the murder, yet everyone in the district knew what had happened. The shepherd’s bride, Maria Leppin, accused Kahlbutz of the murder and took him to court. That year in Dreetz (Brandenburg) the case was brought before the court. As an aristocrat he had special rights and could swear an oath of innocence before the court in order to free himself. Kahlbutz did this and was immediately acquitted.

Kahlbutz died at the age of 52 and was laid to rest in a double coffin in the family tomb. In 1783 the last of the von Kahlbutz line died. While the church of Kampehl was being renovated in 1794 the coffins in the church were going to be buried in the usual manner. When the coffins were opened it was discovered that all of the corpses except that of the Knight Kahlbutz had decayed.


The local populace quickly found an explanation for the Mummy of the Knight of Kahlbutz. They said that it was God‘s punishment for the murder of the shepherd. It had been said that Kahlbutz had sworn before the court, “It was not I, otherwise after my death my body will not decay”.

Natural mummification

Several tests have been done on the mummy of the knight trying to figure out why a body that apparently was not embalmed has not undergone the natural decay process. Rudolf Virchow and Ferdinand Sauerbruch tested the mummy as well as Charite in the 1980′s, but all without success. It remains a mystery as to why Kahlbutz’ corpse has not decayed, but indeed there are a few other similar cases where the natural decay process has not affected the individual.

The natural decay process of a corpse can be stopped or retarded under certain circumstances, where the corpse becomes leathery. Air conditions surrounding the body as well as the condition of the ground in which it is buried are most often contributing factors. Absolute dryness, local radioactivity, or other ground factors such as acidity or salts. Also hermetically sealed coffins without steadily moving air can contribute. Likewise a small ingestion of poisonous medicines, i.e. very small quantities innocuous to an individual, during one’s lifetime can aid in the mummification process after death. These kinds of substances are not readily detectable long after death though since the fat and water in the corpse changes and evaporates over the course of time. Radioactive decay is the set of various processes by which unstable atomic nuclei (nuclides) emit subatomic particles. …

The mummy today

Today it is accepted that Kahlbutz suffered from some kind of illness, which caused an emaciation of his body. Possible diseases that he suffered from are Cancer, muscular dystrophy, and tuberculosis. There is evidence that he did in fact suffer from TB. According to several sources Kahlbutz suffocated on his own blood, this suggests that shortly before his death he had lost a great deal of blood. After his death he was buried in an oak double coffin. The decay of the corpse was prevented by the fact that prior to being hermetically sealed in the coffin, he had lost a great deal of blood. This combined with the lack of soil containing decay accelerating materials led to the natural mummification of the corpse. When normal cells are damaged or old they undergo apoptosis; cancer cells, however, avoid apoptosis. … The muscular dystrophies are a group of genetic and hereditary muscle diseases; characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue. … Tuberculous lungs show up on an X-ray image Tuberculosis is an infection with the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect the central nervous system (meningitis), lymphatic system, circulatory system (miliary TB), genitourinary system, bones and joints. …


source : NationMaster

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