The Mummy of Knight Kahlbutz – Neustadt, Germany - Atlas Obscura

The Mummy of Knight Kahlbutz

Church of Kampehl
Neustadt, Germany

The natural mummy of the less than chivalrous Knight Kahlbutz. 


In a tomb under the church of Kampehl, in Neustadt/Dosse, Germany, one can see the mummy of Christian Friedrich von Kahlbutz or Knight Kahlbutz. Unfortunately it turns out that Kahlbutz was no knight in shining armor.

Born in 1651 and dying in 1702, the knight is infamous for frequently practicing the right of “droit de seigneur” or “right of the first night,” the Medieval “right” to deflower virgins on their wedding night. He was said to be the father of some 30 illegitimate children. (The accusations are very possibly unjust as many historians dispute the existence of the “right of the first night.”)

According to the German legend Knight Kahlbutz attempted to “droit de seigneur” a Shepherdess and was refused. Enraged he killed her husband the Shepard, but was then taken to court for murder by the Shepherdess herself where, because he was an Aristocrat, he simply pronounced his innocence and was acquitted.

Supposedly in declaring his innocence von Kahlbutz said “It was not I, otherwise after my death my body will not decay.” Kahlbutz died in Brandenburg at age 52 and, in affirmation of his guilt, his body naturally mummified, likely due to massive blood loss previous to his death.

It wasn’t until 92 years after his death that, during renovations of the church, his body was discovered preserved in his coffin while the other corpses around it had decayed into skeletons. The body is now a well known German tourist attraction.

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October 24, 2009

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