Mysterious Human Sacrifices Found Perfectly Preserved 500 Years On

5. She Died “Willingly”…

Live Science

Maiden’s lack of defecation upon death and the coca quid chewing lump in her mouth point to an odd conclusion: she died willingly. The absence of feces indicates there was no struggle and the lump offers a chilling explanation for this: she was heavily sedated.

“It looks to us as though the children were led up to the summit shrine in the culmination of a year-long rite, drugged and then left to succumb to exposure,” said Timothy Taylor, an archaeologist at the University of Bradford.

Maiden died “peacefully.” This can’t be said for the others.

4. But The Five Year Old With Her Was Suffocated…

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Dying in the cold while on heavy medication seems bad, but not when compared to this. While Maiden died without a struggle, the Llullaillaco Boy put up a fight against his captor. His body was covered in his own blood and vomit – clear signs of bodily harm. More gruesomely, he was bound in a cloth so tight that his ribs and pelvis were crushed.

According to Taylor, this type of death was common in Incan mountain communities.

But what happened to Lightning Girl was anything by common.

3. …And The Other Was Struck By Lightning


Aptly named for this reason, Lightning Girl was struck by lightning while on top of Mount Llullaillaco. Her body, surprisingly, is relatively intact – only her face and shoulder are charred from the strike.

This wasn’t a moment of magic happening because of the ritual. Lightning Girl was long dead when she was struck, but to say the chances of this are slim would be an overstatement.

2. They Were Sacrificed To Provoke Fear


The deaths of these children were cruel, unusual, and unjustified. They were not sacrificed out of some sense of punishment, but because Incan leaders used them as tools for social control. Evidence suggests that, by producing a climate of fear, Incan rulers could better control their subjects.

“[Maiden’s] death was seen as an honor,” Wilson says of how Incan society viewed this ritual.

Disturbingly, parents were not allowed the right to cry if their child was selected for the sacrifice. The child was not allowed either, not that they even could, because…

1. The Sacrificed Children Consumed Tons Of Cocaine And Alcohol


Up to a year before their deaths, Maiden, Llullaillaco Boy, and Lightning Girl were beyond sedated by a wide assortment of drugs. Hair samples show that Maiden took the most, primarily consuming alcohol and coca leaves (the leaf used to make cocaine).

Some scientists speculate that this large dosage of drugs led to Maiden’s incredible preservation. But regardless of the cause, achieving eternal youth clearly isn’t worth the cost.