Sep 28, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

300-Year-Old Preserved Corpse Appears to Opens Its Eyes

A church in Mexico has on display the preserved 300-year-old corpse of a young child tragically murdered by her father. A visitor claims he was taking a video of the body when suddenly its eyes appeared to open. The video is now making the rounds on the Internet and the explanations are running the gamut from hoax to miracle. Is it either one or something else?

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Eye-opening before and after images of the eye opening

The church is the Cathedral of Guadalajara, the girl is Santa Inocencia or Saint Innocence and her story – both before and after her death – are well known in the area. According to the legend, sometime in the early 1700s the girl defied her father’s orders, secretly befriended a nun and joined the local Catholic Church. After receiving communion at the church, she returned home to tell her father, who promptly stabbed her to death.

The locals considered the girl a martyr and her body was allegedly sent to Rome to be buried in the Santa Ciriaca catacombs where many famous Catholics, including St. Lawrence of Rome, were buried. In 1786, her body was allegedly exhumed by a wealthy priest, who brought it to the Cathedral of Guadalajara, where it is on display wearing what is claimed to be her original white communion dress.

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The story of Santa inocencia at the Cathedral of Guadalajara

While the corpse looks lifelike – even when not blinking – this is not one of the famous “incorruptible” saints of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches that avoids decomposing without any preservation. Saints Catherine of Genoa and Bernadette of Lourdes are alleged examples of this and being incorruptible counts as one of the two miracles needed for a person to be made a saint by the reigning pope. This corpse of Inocencia (or at least her face – her hands appear decomposed) is preserved in wax and none of the historical data details if she was waxed right after death or after the corpse was exhumed and returned to Mexico.

That’s where the blinking corpse video starts to breakdown. If the face is made of wax, there’s no soft tissue to move and no eyeballs to stare with. There’s only one blink and no other movement is seen. The video seems to change in clarity pre- and post-blink. The unnamed tourist (described as being terrified in some reports) doesn’t appear to stick around or ask anyone else if they saw what he saw. Without much more to go on, many observing the video consider it a hoax.

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The not-so-well preserved hand of Santa Inocencia

There’s also no mention in any Catholic listings of a Santa Inocencia or Saint Innocence. There are plenty of St. Innocents (male) and a few Pope Innocents (also male) but no female saints with that name or a variation. This is odd in a religion that keeps such detailed historical documentation on saints and martyrs. “Saint” could just be an honorary title given to the girl in memory of her alleged tragic religion-related demise. The Cathedral of Guadalajara does say that the corpse was certified as belonging to Inocencia, making it a relic

What do you think – real or hoax or something else?

As with all blinking corpses, bleeding or crying statues and other strange religious phenomenon, proof one way or the other won’t stop believers from coming with their cameras ready to see the mysterious corpse of Santa Inocencia.

Paul Seaburn
Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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