Warning: This story has the potential to ruin Christmas, especially for young children. That's because Santa Claus is dead.
In fact, jolly old St. Nicholas has been dead for centuries, and archaeologists think they may have finally found his resting place. Turkish media reported this week that a tomb believed to be that of Father Christmas has been discovered underneath the St. Nicholas church in the province of Antalya, where the Christian saint was born in the 3rd century.
The real-life St. Nick was known for his generous spirit. Over the centuries his legend morphed into the gift-giving holiday character known worldwide as Santa Claus.
The grave was detected using digital imaging tools, according to the Daily Sabah, and local officials say it will take awhile to get to St. Nick's remains because they are below a mosaic on the floor that will need to be carefully removed. Researchers have used similar imaging technologies toin Egypt's ancient pyramids. They've also turned to ground-penetrating radar to .
In the past, it was thought Santa's bones had been smuggled out of Turkey by Italian merchants in 1087, but unearthing the corpse of Kris Kringle could go a long way toward dispelling that myth.
Archaeologists say they're ready to begin excavating the crypt, which is sure to house more Christmas spirit than just about any other grave around.
No word yet on whether parallel excavations in search of the final resting places of eight tiny reindeer are planned. Thank goodness, because having to explain news stories about Santa's corpse to kids is more than enough heartbreak for any parent to deal with.
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