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U.K. man donates body to become modern mummy

King Tutankhamun's mother is seen on display during a press conference at the Egyptian Museum Feb. 17, 2010, in Cairo.
Discovery Channel via Getty Images
The mummy of King Tutankhamun's mother is seen on display during a press conference at the Egyptian Museum Feb. 17, 2010, in Cairo.
The mummy of King Tutankhamun's mother is seen on display during a press conference at the Egyptian Museum Feb. 17, 2010, in Cairo.
Discovery Channel via Getty Images

A British television network plans to broadcast the story of a man who referred to himself as "Tuten-Alan" after volunteering his body to be buried in the ways of Tutankhamun.

Just in time for Halloween, Britain's Channel 4 has been promoting the Monday premiere of its documentary about a modern-day mummy. "Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret" will show scientists using the mummification techniques of the ancient Egyptians for the first time in 3,000 years, the Agence France Presse news agency reported Tuesday.

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Former cab driver Alan Billis had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer when he decided to donate his body for the project, the AFP reported.

"People have been leaving their bodies to science for years and if people don't volunteer for anything nothing gets found out," Billis told the Channel 4 team. "Experimenting is all about trying different processes to make things work. If it doesn't work it's not the end of the world, is it? Don't make any difference to me, I'm not going to feel it. It's still bloody interesting."

Watch a clip of Billis and his wife

The body of the 61-year-old from Torquay, England, undergoes a variety of procedures during the lengthy process, including three months of drying. The scientists chose to sidestep the well-known mummification practice of extracting the brain through the nose, noting that "many of the best Egyptian mummies had their brains left in place." Billis' lungs, intestines and other internal organs were removed and replaced with linen.

Read the full story on the documentary here.

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com