"It was not I, otherwise after my death my body will not decay" - The Mummy of Ritter Christian Friedrich von Kahlbutz

6 March 1651, Ritter Christian Friedrich von Kahlbutz was born in Kampehl, 60 miles northwest of Berlin in the March of Brandenburg, to become a local legend as one of the very few indigenous mummies in Germany.

"It was not I, otherwise after my death my body will not decay". (Oath sworn by Christian von Kahlbutz in court when he was accused with murder)


A photo of Christian in his current condition*


Christian was a bit of a goat during his life and times. Once a cornet, serving under the Prince of Homburg in the Battle of Fehrbellin, the “Große Kurfürst”, the “Great Elector” of Prussia had awarded him with an estate in the March of Brandenburg, Christian became a Junker, married into local nobility, sired 11 children on his wife and exercising the Droit de Seigneur on the local womenfolk as if there was no tomorrow, spawning 30 brats more and would have died a happy horndog if he hadn’t set his eyes upon the bride of a shepherd from nearby Bückwitz back then in 1690. The maid sent him packing, droits or not, and on the very next day, the shepherd was found murdered. A court of inquiry followed, the Kahlbutz swore his quoted oath, was acquitted, died twelve years later of violent haemorrhage at the age of 55 and was duly forgotten.




Facsimile of a 1910 postcard from Campehl (as it was spelled back then):  Christian already was a tourist attraction**


In 1794, however, when the parish church of Kampehl was renovated and the remains of the long dead Kahlbutze were to be reburied and all were properly decayed except one. Buried in his breastplate, long Hessian boots and two cannon balls from Fehrbellin lay Christian the Goat, well preserved and not decayed at all. The process and the unusual oath were remembered and soon the legends and ghost stories went around. When the French came ten years later, they used the corpse of the Kahlbutz for sentry duty, but when they tried to crucify him on the altar in revolutionary fervour, one of his arms fell of, hit a poilu who died of shock. Then a French officer mocked the corpse in his grave, spat on him, turned him around and invited him to continue the fun in his hotel room and the next day, the lieutenant was found there, quite dead with his neck twisted and all doors and windows locked. When the French withdrew in 1813, Kahlbutz’ corpse was used by the locals for practical jokes without deadly consequences – put on the roof of the local school, bridal beds and the like and in the 1930s his boots disappeared and a pack of students claimed they had took them and used them as drinking vessels.




The parish church of Kampehl - Christian's final resting place


Today, the corpse is on display at the parish church in Kampehl, now a part of the village of Neustadt and Christian is still rumoured to wander the March at night. Several authorities have tried to explain the mystery of his condition over the last 100 years, famous medicine men like Rudolf Virchow and Ferdinand Sauerbruch among them, and couldn’t come up with a satisfactory answer. The amount of blood he lost at the time of his death, the airtight condition of his oak coffin and the temperature in the crypt are possible explanations why the corpse became leathery.

* the image depicted above was found on 


** The image was found on http://www.kalebuz.de/ - a wonderful German website with a lot more info and images