On August 5, 1949, an earthquake struck the small town of Guano in Ecuador, causing buildings to crack open and crumble. The disaster led to the strange discovery of the Mummy of Guano.
During the earthquake, the walls of the old church Asunsion de Guano were destroyed and knocked down to the floor, and there, tucked away inside a large jar inside one of the walls of the church was the Mummy of Guano. Why it was buried in such a unique way inside the walls of the church remains a mystery to many people today as nothing like it had been seen before.
Franciscans and Church Guardian
Originally the mummy was a 15th century Franciscan by the name of Fray Lázaro de Santofimia. He was sent from Spain to spread Catholicism around the rural parts of the country. He helped give aid and food to the indigenous tribes that live around the town of Guano. He was also one of the founders of another town called San Andres, which is 30 minutes’ drive from the church today.
A Marble replica of the church. Image courtesy of Chris Aguilar
Fray was also a guardian of the church from 1565 to 1572. Many people claim that since he did so many good things for the people in this area that it was a tribute and an honor to be buried in the walls of the church so his soul could roam around and always be there looking over them. No other mummies have been discovered but part of the wall affected by the earthquake still stands and it is visible to see where the Franciscan was buried.
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