“Mysteries of Paris” Limited Ed. Book by Father Sebastiaan

Do you know who is “the most kissed face” of all time? In the late 1880, the body of a young woman, around 16, was pulled out of the Seine River, near the Louvre Palace. No violence was noticeable on the corpse, so suicide was suspected. But the strange thing was that she looked peaceful, her expression not at all like how people are normally found dead in the water, from drowning or suicide… At the morgue where she was taken, one man was so dazzled by her beauty and expression, he decided to make a death mask of her face in plaster.

The original mask itself was photographed, and new copies were manufactured from the negatives. Different copies of the masks were created later on, and it became a fashionable item in the Parisian Bohemian society (which was an unconventional life style that celebrated the arts, music, literature…) Young girls tried to replicate her look and macabre expression… (And you thought you had ‘goth’ friends!) Moreover, according to some critics, she became an erotic icon of the time, much like Brigitte Bardot or Marilyn Monroe today. Some people like the French writer Albert Camus compared the smile of the girl to that of the Mona Lisa, and various authors such as Nabokov and Aragon used the story in their works. But why is she called the most kissed face of time? Have you ever taken CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class?

If so, perhaps you’ll know her face and have already kissed her yourself. The face of the “Drowned Mona Lisa” was indeed used to make the first CPR dummy (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), named Resusci-Anne in the 1950’s. The dummy was created by Asmund Laerdal, a Norwegian toy creator and Peter Safar (the ‘father’ of CPR) Different versions of the doll have been created, including one with trauma simulation, or with computer sensors which provide feedback or allow the instructor to simulate medical situations. Thus, for more than 50 years, she’s been waiting for the magic kiss of Prince Charming…

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