Fet-Mats Israelsson

Fet-Mats Israelsson

Fet-Mats Israelsson

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Fet-Mats Israelsson (died 1677) was a "petrified man" found in 1719.

In 1719, miners in the Falun copper mine found an intact dead body in a long-unused tunnel. When they brought the body to the surface, it was identified as Fet-Mats Israelsson, who had disappeared 42 years earlier, by his former fiancée, Margaret Olsdotter, recognized him.

In the open air the body dried up and turned hard as a rock. People gave it a nickname "petrified miner". Fet-Mats Israelsson was put on display on Stora Kopparberget.

When the naturalist Carolus Linnaeus visited, he noticed that Fet-Mats was not petrified but just covered with vitriol. He stated that as soon as the vitriol would evaporate, the body would begin to decay.

That proved to be correct. Fet-Mats Israelsson was buried in The Stora Kopparbergs Church December 21, 1749. During the change of the floor in early 1860, the remnants of Fet-Mats was found again and exhibited in a display case, until he was finally buried 1930 in the cemetery nearby the church.

Fet-Mats became an inspiration for the German romanticists. The philosopher and naturalist Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert wrote about him in Ansichten von der Nachtseite der Naturwissenschaft, Achim von Arnim wrote a ballad about Fet-Mats, Johann Peter Hebel wrote a short story about him called Unverhofftes Wiedersehen (Unexpected Reunion). Friedrich Rückert also wrote about Fet-Mats but most of all E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote the short story Die Bergwerke zu Falun...
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