The Fat-Mats Day Thread (Feb 1)

Falun is a beautiful city in central Sweden. It is most famous for its copper mine, which was active for a millennium until it finally closed in 1992. It was selected as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2001. Copper from Falun was turned into castle roofs, church bells, coins, and household utensils all over the world, and was known as “Sweden’s Treasure Chest”.

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Over the thousand years the mine was worked, numerous accidents occurred, including a near-disaster in 1687. A dividing wall between the main pits collapsed, which would have been a deadly catastrophe had it not occurred on Midsummer’s Eve, one of only two days of the year on which the miners were on holiday – the other being Christmas.

In December 1719, miners in the Mårdskinn shaft broke through a wall and discovered a dead man in a pool of vitriolic water, whose body appeared fresh despite his old-fashioned clothes. They took the body to the surface, where he was identified as Mats Israelsson – known as Fat-Mats – by his former fiancée Margareta. He had disappeared 42 years earlier.

When naturalist Carl Linnaeus inspected the corpse, he noted that the body was not petrified, but rather preserved by the vitriol. For thirty years the dead body of Fat-Mats was displayed to tourists and became famous, before the layer of vitriol wore away and the body began to decompose.

Fat-Matt’s bones were largely forgotten until 1930, when they were buried for a final time at Stora Kopparberg Church, where his gravestone can still be visited today.

Enjoy your day, Avocado.