For the record, the Los Angeles County Coroner tells me that it has found some remains in the Benedict Canyon home of the 82-year-old B-movie actress and onetime Playboy Playmate, but it has yet to officially confirm an identity.
"We've reached out to next of kin," a coroner spokesman tells me. As for how the mystery remains reportedly became mummified, here's what I can tell you:
Natural mummification—preservation without the help of ancient Egyptian-style processes—isn't as rare as you might think.
Here in North America, we've got several natural mummy hot spots, including Greenland, where eight bodies were found in a cave. The people were thought to have died hundreds of years ago, and scientists believe they were mummified by a combination of sub-zero temperatures and dry winds.
There are also natural mummies in Mexico. Those bodies date from the 1800s and were preserved through natural heat and dry conditions.
The press officer for the Los Angeles County Coroner tells me that, even here in Hollywood, it's possible for a body to become mummified naturally.
"Factors include temperature, dryness of the environment, and the health" of the deceased person, the spokesman tells me.
If these remains indeed are those of the star of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, they have had plenty of time to mummify. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, friends had not seen Vickers for months, and it may have taken up to a year for authorities to find the body.
Susan Savage, an actress and neighbor who reportedly found the body, told the Times that a small space heater was still on when she spotted the remains in an upstairs room, meaning that the air there could have been hot and dry enough to mummify—or partially mummify—the remains.