With all of the exploration people have accomplished over the past several thousand years or so, it sometimes feels as if we’ve discovered everything there is to be found. Still, every day it seems that we find something new that we never thought possible.

When loggers arrived at Mt. Pulag in the Philippines during the late 19th century, they uncovered something inside a cave that the locals may have been trying to keep secret. Now, the secret’s out, and it uncovers a dark history…

When loggers arrived at Mt. Pulag in the Philippines during the late 19th century they found mysterious caves with a dark secret…

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As if the “sea of clouds” around the mountain wasn’t creepy enough, the first person to ever discover the caves was in for a real scare.

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The caves are accessible by twisted, thin paths and rickety steps leading directly to the opening.

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Inside the caves are some of the creepiest things you could ever find on Earth. The whole area may look like a movie set, but rest assured: it is the real deal.

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People who want to walk through the caves can only get in if they are brought there by a weary tour guide, who always utters prayers for forgiveness before going inside…

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The big secret hiding inside the caves: mummies! From the looks of it, some of the corpses had begun the mummification process long before they died…

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These are known as Fire Mummies, or Ibaloi Mummies for the tribe who created them. Their mummification process dates back to 2000 B.C.

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When getting close to death, the person who was dying would drink an extremely salty beverage, which began the mummification process…

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After the person died, they would be washed and put into a seated position and then placed above a flame. This was so the corpse would dry out rather than get cremated.

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Other tribe members would also blow smoke into the deceased person’s mouth, which they believed would help their insides dry out.

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The entire process took several weeks to complete.

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Once they were fully mummified, they would be put into the fetal position. Sometimes families would be buried together, and other times people would be buried alone.

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The Ibaloi stopped this practice sometime in the 1500s after Christian explorers arrived from Spain. The caves remained untouched for centuries.

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Nearly 300 years later, loggers moved in to the area and discovered the mummies inside, but they didn’t always respect the remains.

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Eventually, the caves and its contents were named a National Cultural Treasure by the government of the Philippines.

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Still, this didn’t stop vandals from coming and stealing some of the mummies, many of which were sold on the black market.

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The mummy of Apo Annu, a tribal chief, was one of those pilfered. Though his body was returned in the 1990s, by that time the cave had undergone damage, which people believed may have been because of a curse…

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To this day, there are still several mummies unaccounted for. Some people believe that while they were human, they may have also been part deity and brought upon the curse.

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Many people are trying to keep the exact location of the cave a secret, so people cannot disturb the nearly 80 mummies which remain inside.

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The caves are now considered a World Heritage site by UNESCO, and many of the descendants of the mummies come there still to perform rituals. If the public wishes to come visit, they are requested to get a real tour guide, who can help keep away curses and treat the site with the respect it deserves.

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Such a fascinating history! Hopefully these remains stay undisturbed from now on.

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