A British taxi driver has become the first person in the world to be mummified in the same way as the pharaohs were 3,000 years ago. The process, which took months, will be aired on television in a new documentary.
Alan Billis, a 61-year-old former cab driver, had been terminally ill when he volunteered to undergo the procedure, which Dr. Stephen Buckley, a chemist and research fellow at York University, spent 19 years trying to demystify, reports the AFP.
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He and archaeologist Dr. Jo Fletcher, studied mummified bodies- analyzing tissue samples. Then they put the findings to the test on Billis.
"What I was able to do was to look at things in quite a different way, and in doing so get information that perhaps people had missed. It's turned current understanding, including my own, completely on its head," said Buckley to MSNBC.
According to Fox News,
The process, lasting several months, saw Billis' internal organs removed and the cavity padded out. Moisture was taken out using caustic salt before the body was wrapped in linen.
The body is being kept in Sheffield for further research.
Billis had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer when he heard about the search for a body donor.
"People have been leaving their bodies to science for years and if people don't volunteer for anything, nothing gets found out" he said to the documentary team.
Billis's decision was supported by his wife, Jan, who thought the idea was a novel one.
"I'm the only woman in the country who's got a mummy for a husband" she said.