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Two Pieces of the Petrified Miner
Two Pieces of the Petrified Miner

(Unfortunately, this display was unavailable during the initial photographic session. We will post images as soon as they are available)

In 1858 Ernst Fluchterspiegel, a Prussian miner, was travelling with two companions to Fraser Canyon in British Columbia hoping to strike gold. Instead of gold, he found a number of geodes which he proceeded to crack open. One of these held "...about a pint of the liquid which is known to mineralogists as the water of crystallization," which is responsible for creating the crystals inside geodes. Within an hour he was dead and those attending him say that rigor mortis set in immediately.

One companion, Dr. Frederich Lichtenberger, attempted to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death, but was stymied to find the internal organs had ossified. Although they attempted to bring the body home for burial, rough travelling conditions and the continued petrification of Fluchterspiegel's corpse cause it to crack and break apart. By the time they reached San Francisco, they had only managed to preserve the head, hands, one leg and the genitalia. It is no longer known where the other parts of Ernst Fluchterspiegel repose, but his head and genitals remain on display here.

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