Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jimmy Garlick

In the tower of this English church, which may date back to Saxon times, lies a mummy - but more about that in a minute. First, I find that St. James Garlickhythe has been rebuilt numerous times: in the 14th c., when it was established as a religious guild; in the 17th c., after the Great Fire of London; in the mid-20th c., after it was damaged in World War II; and in the late 20th c., when it was struck by a construction crane. The name "Garlickhythe" refers to an important landing-place on the River Thames nearby where garlic was delivered to market. The mummy in question was dubbed "Jimmy Garlick," and I can't find a single picture of him. The embalmed body was discovered in the vaults in 1855 and - after examination by the British Museum - believed to be that of an adolescent child from the turn of the 18th c. For years (some say centuries), Jimmy was on display in a cupboard in the vestibule. In 2004, the Discovery Channel focused on the "Mummy from the Tower" during an episode of the series Mummy Autopsy. The investigation indicated that Jimmy was not a teenager after all, but an older man with signs of balding, tooth decay, and osteo-arthritis. Carbon dating placed his death between 1641 and 1801. Jimmy Garlick remains a lasting presence, not only physically (he now rests in a new casket in the privacy of the tower) but spiritually: strange noises and transported objects are blamed on his ghost.

1 comment:

  1. Wow ...
    This is so interesting. I have a t.shirt with an image on, supposedly an image of Jimmy's mummified head, with the words 'Jimmy Garlick, The Mummy Autopsy 2004 in small print, across the back in big print are the words. 'The Bones Don't Lie' I don't know the origins of the t.shirt as I purchased it from a charity shop.


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