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This Mummified Woman Now Has A Name - And A Famous Relative

This Mummified Woman Now Has A Name - And A Famous Relative

Scientists in the Swiss city of Basel have solved a decades-old mystery over the identity of a mummified woman.

And new DNA evidence - taken from the mummy's big toe - has revealed she is the great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother of the UK Foreign Secretary. The mummy was found in front of the altar, well-fed and wearing quality clothes, confirming for scientists that she came from a wealthy background. It was the mercury that was likely responsible for her death in 1787 at the age of 68 - and responsible, as well, for her body's uncommon preservation in the 230 years since.

The corpse was uncovered during construction work at the Barfusser church in Basel in 1975, in an unusually well-preserved state due to the body's high levels of mercury, once commonly used to treat syphilis.

They discovered she was a descendent of Johann Froben, a printer in Basel at the beginning of the 16th century.

Another clue: her body was riddled with mercury - a standard treatment for syphilis from the late 15th to the 19th Century.

It remained a mystery until past year, when scientists used state-of-the-art methods to extract DNA from the corpse's big toe.

Those records led historians to suspect the mummy was a member of a well-established Basel family, the Bischoffs.

The results from the DNA showed that there was a 99.8% probability that the Johnson's descended from the mummy.

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Once her identity had been established, genealogists were able - with the help of the efficient records of births, marriages, and deaths which tend to be kept by the wealthier classes - to trace more of Anna Catharina's descendants.

Born in Basel in 1719, Anna Catharina Bischoff married a church minister, and lived most of her adult life in Strasbourg.

Five generations of von Pfeffels later, Marie Luise von Pfeffel marryied Stanley Fred Williams. They found she had seven children, of which only two survived.

Johnson is yet to comment on the claim, though the BBC notes he has previously said he is aware of his connections to the von Pfeffel family.

Although she is referred to as a mummy, she had an ordinary Christian burial, and her body wasn't intentionally kept intact, according to the Business Insider.

Together, they had a son, named Stanley Johnson, who is the father of Boris.

Once Anna Catharina's husband passed away, she returned to her hometown and started an intense treatment to cure the disease, but to no avail.

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