A video of my days back at The Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia when we x-rayed the Soap Lady.
These x-ray sessions were some of the best times spent there. Jerry’s team was fantastic!! What a wonderful guy.
The Soap Lady is a mummy whose body chemically changed during decomposition into a soapy substance called adipocere (Add-eh-po-seer).
Adipocere is a soapy, waxy substance commonly referred to as “grave wax.” It essentially retards the decomposition process, allowing for the petrification of the deceased’s body fat. What is left is what you see in this video. The amazing thing is that inside all of this adipose tissue is a complete perfectly preserved skeleton – resistant to the passage of time.
One of my biggest challenges as Manager of Exhibits at the Mütter was stabilizing The Soap lady from the hazards of the living. One of the ways to do this was to move her to a more structurally sound part of the museum and the other was to encase her in a brand new display vitrine of my design.
To see more about The Soap Lady check out my “About” page for some photos of her, or check out my photography gallery for more images of the museum’s collection!