Vandals broke into an Irish church and decapitated an 800-year-old mummy, known as The Crusader, and made off with his head, forcing the closure of the crypt of St Michan’s Church in Dublin.
On Monday morning, the church said its crypt was vandalized by thieves who desecrated several mummies, including the remains believed to be a solider of the Crusades, the series of religious and political wars between the 11th and 13th centuries.
“I am shocked that someone would target this ancient burial place and desecrate the remains of those lying within it,” The Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson said in a statement. “Not only have these individuals desecrated the sacred crypt but they have destroyed these historic mummies which have been preserved in St Michan’s for hundreds of years.”
The church said the 400-year-old remains of a nun were also desecrated in the incident, with her head turned 180 degrees, while a third mummy was turned on its side.
“They broke open that vault, it’s a big heavy steel door, and broke open one of the coffins,” Archdeacon of Dublin, David Pierpoint told the Irish Times. “Parts of the contents of the coffin have been dragged out. These are people who have been lying at rest for years and years and to have them desecrated in such a sacrilegious way is so distressing and disturbing.”
According to the newspaper, the church’s vault receives about 28,000 visitors a year, and closing the crypts would put a serious dent in St Michan’s revenue.
“I can’t put it in words, I’m quite disgusted. The likelihood is we’ll have to close,” Pierpoint told the Times.
The church was also vandalized in 1996, when a group of teenagers broke into the vaults and “played football” with heads from several bodies including the remains of a child, according to the Irish Post.
“I would appeal to those responsible to examine their consciences and return the head of The Crusader to its rightful place,” Jackson said in a statement.
That, or the potential of being cursed for life. Your call, vandals.