Scientists have been endeavoring for many years to find the identity of a mummified woman, found in the Barfüsser Church in Basel, Switzerland in 1975. The Mysterious mummy was uncovered during renovation work in the church. Now they believe they have the answer and that Boris Johnson, the UK Foreign Secretary, is a descendant of the mummified woman.

Mysterious mummified woman found in Basel church

According to a report by the BBC, the mummy of the woman was found buried in front of the church’s altar. They could tell from the well-preserved remains that she had clearly been well fed and was dressed in good quality clothing.

From this they deduced she was a wealthy lady of the trading city of Basel, but initially they had no idea who she was or when she had died. No gravestone was visible to identify the woman, but after testing the wooden coffin in which she lay, they dated it to around the 16th century.

Mummy preserved by mercury used as a cure for syphilis

Yet another clue upon examining her body revealed that it was riddled with highly toxic mercury, used as the standard treatment between the 15th and 19th Century for syphilis. While the treatment more often killed the patient rather than cured them, scientists reckon the mercury was responsible for the preservation of her remains.

This still left the mystery as to the mysterious woman’s identity.

According to local historians, records showed that many members of the wealthy families in Basel were buried in Barfüsser Church and some had gravestones. However, this woman did not have one. Looking back into the historical records in 2017, scientists found previously undiscovered archives that revealed that the woman’s mummy had been discovered before, back in 1843.

The records then led the historians to believe she was a member of a wealthy Basel family called the Bischoffs.

Scientists have now extracted DNA material from the big toe of the mummy and compared it to that of living Bischoff descendants.

The results showed a 99.8% probability that the mummy and those descendants were from the same maternal line. Now, together with historians, they have identified the mummified woman as being Anna Catharina Bischoff, who died in Basel in 1787.

On establishing the mystery woman’s identity, genealogists have now traced more of the woman’s descendants. While the family tree is somewhat complicated, their investigations uncovered a descendant of the Bischoffs, named Marie Luise von Pfeffel, who married Stanley Fred Williams.

Yvonne, the couple’s daughter, then wed one Osman Wilfred Johnson Kemal, who is the father of Stanley Johnson, Boris Johnson’s father.

Boris Johnson proud of his ancestor

As noted by Buzzfeed, Johnson is proud that he has been found to be the descendant of the mysterious mummified woman. The Foreign Secretary took to Twitter to say how excited he was to hear about his “great grand ‘mummy,’” dubbing her a pioneer in sexual health care.