The Real Life Sleeping Beauty
Say hello to the real life Sleeping Beauty - Rosalia Lombardo! Just by looking at the photo, you can already understand just why she has rightfully earned the nickname. But what you might not realize upon first glance is that the fate for this poor little girl was a short two year life. Rosalia was born on December 13, 1918, and only lived a few days past her two year birthday - she passed away on December 6, 1920. But it's what happened after her death that helped her live forever.
After his daughter's passing, Mario Lombardo was clearly grieving her death, as any parent would. So Mario caught out the help of Alfredo Salafia, a student of Chemistry who was also noted for his work in the embalming and taxidermy industries. Seeking Salafia's help, Lombardo had hoped for the very best preservation of his beautiful Rosalia's body. Salafia agreed, and replaced young Rosalia's blood with formalin to kill bacteria, alcohol to dry the body, glycerin to keep her from over drying, salicylic acid to kill fungi and zinc salts to give her body rigidity. The end result is the amazingly preserved body of Rosalia Lombardo, who's body now lives in the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. At the very end of the catacomb where 8,000 bodies mummies live, you'll encounter Rosalia in her glass covered coffin.
For a while, images of time-lapsed photos of Rosalia spread across the internet like wildfire! The images appeared to show Rosalia's eyelids opening and closing over time. Was it possible that little Rosalia was trying to say hello to all of the visitors to her resting spot in the catacombs? Experts say it simply isn't so, and explain that the explanation for what was happening is quite simple: sunlight was entering from a window near Rosalia's coffin, which gave the impression that her eye lids were moving. The coffin has since been adjusted so now visitors can have a better view of Rosalia's eyelids.
Little Rosalia's body was so well preserved by Salafia that her little head peeks out from underneath her blanket and she even still has her bow in her hair. She really does look like a sleeping two year old girl, and it's incredible how well the body has held up - in just three years, the body will have been preserved for a hundred years. Unfortunately, Alfredo Salafia passed away in January 1933 before releasing his formula that helped do such an amazing job on Rosalia. His formula was briefly sold in the United States to funeral parlors before his death, but the formula never went public and as far as my research has taken me, nobody has been able to preserve a body quite like Salafia has done for Rosalia. Rosalia's body looks incredible after nearly a hundred years, and hopefully the world's real life Sleeping Beauty will be around for many more years to come!