Is it a Holy Relic?

>> Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Since 1901 Mozart historians and lovers alike have been mystified by the question of whether or not the skull on display at the Mozarteum is really that of Wolfgang A. Mozart. This coming Sunday we are finally going to get the results of DNA testing that will put an end to the questions. The skull at the source of all the controversy has been tested against the DNA of both Mozart's father, Leopold and a niece, his sister Nannerl's daughter.

The story of how the skull was obtained is rather intriguing, as well as gruesome. The following was obtained from

In 1801 the St. Marx' Cemetery Trust had the third class plot in which Mozart and 15 to 20 others were buried retrenched, which was an automatic procedure every 10 years to enable graves to be reused. The cemetery, which opened in 1784, only had room for 7.000 graves and space was always at a premium. Wealthy residents bones were cleaned and placed in a charnel house with their names painted on the skull whereas the bones of the poorer folk were exhumed and crushed, reinterred in the Vienna Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) or disposed of in some other way. Mozart's grave was reopened by Joseph Rothmayer, the same grave digger/sexton who had buried him a decade earlier. Rothmayer said he knew before the burial what Mozart's ultimate fate would be so had tied wire around his corpse neck to enable him to distinguish the remains from the others, knowing the exact location of the body he sought it out and saved the skull from the bone crusher. "Joseph Rothmayer gave it to friend Joseph Radschopf, who in turn gave it to his friend Jacob Hyrtl in 1842. When Hyrtl died in 1868, his brother Joseph inherited the skull. Joseph was a Viennese phrenologist. Upon his death, Joseph's wife held onto to the skull until her death in 1901. It was then bequeathed to the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg. In 1902 until the 1955, the skull was placed on public view in the Foundation's Museum". [1] Where it remains today, although no longer on public display, when it was on display museum staff found it creepy. Prior to being pulled from view museum staff reported strange phenomena they believed emanated from it, staff claiming to have heard music even screams emanating from the cabinet in which it was displayed. There were reports that previous owners also experienced such phenomena, hence why it ended up at the said museum.

Personally I hope that the skull in question doesn't belong to Mozart. Why? Because Mozart is already worshiped as a saint. We don't need a Holy Relic. Besides that, it's just macabre. If the skull belongs to Mozart, then it should be laid to rest and certainly not displayed in a circus sideshow fashion in a glass case. Give the poor man some dignity for Christ's sake! And if it doesn't belong to Mozart, then give whoever it belongs to the dignity of being returned to the earth. Mozart or not, I hope this puts it to rest.



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