The strange link between a famous Swiss mummy and new British PM Boris Johnson

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The strange link between a famous Swiss mummy and new British PM Boris Johnson
The remain of Anna Catherina Bischoff (left) were uncovered in Basel in 1975. Photo: Basel Historical Museum/AFP

A mummified body buried under a church in Basel Switzerland was last year identified as an ancestor of new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.


The identity of the woman, buried in 1787 under the Barfüsser church in Basel, had long been a mystery, the Basler Zeitung reported at the time.

She was discovered 40 years ago during renovation work at the church and known as “the lady of the Barfüsser church”.

But following several years of research, scientists revealed that the best preserved mummified remains in Switzerland were those of Anna Catherina Bischoff.

DNA tests show Bischoff died of mercury poisoning, which explains why the remains were so well preserved – the poison acted as a preservative.

It’s believed Bischoff was suffering from syphilis, which was at that time treated with mercury.

The pastor’s daughter, aged 67 when she died, had seven children one of whom married a Baron Pfeffel of Kriegelstein, a member of Johnson’s family tree, the Swiss news agency SDA reported.

The new British prime minister is the six-times grandson of the Basel mummy.



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