MONTERREY, Mexico – First they jet-setted to Monterrey in specially designed glass cases. Crowds lined the streets to watch them pass.

Only in Mexico, where a fascination with death dates back to pre-Hispanic times, could mummified corpses receive the same welcome as a celebrity.

The 15 females, eight males and one head make up a macabre troupe of 100-year-old corpses visiting this industrial city from Guanajuato’s Museum of the Mummy. They are part of a special exhibition in Monterrey that runs through Dec. 28

Government officials discovered the mummies in the late 19th century when they dug up bodies from Guanajuato’s Santa Paola cemetery because the families of the dead couldn’t pay a grave tax.

The mountainous region’s dry climate had created the perfect conditions to inadvertently mummify the corpses, and the bodies were eventually put on display at a local museum.

The collection is believed to be the largest in the Western Hemisphere. And the 23 corpses and head in Monterrey are the largest group from the museum to ever hit the road.

The mummies were supposed to go on display Sunday as part of Monterrey’s Santa Lucia Festival. But high humidity levels worried curators. The show opened Tuesday.

More than 300,000 people are expected to view the bodies. – AP