Rosetta Stone

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Return of the Pharaoh’s curse

No, it’s not the new title for the “The Mummy Returns” sequel. But it’s more of a declaration from Dr. Zahi Hawass the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). This declaration came after they were having ct-scan on and forensic tests on King Tutankhamun’s mummy to discover the actual causes of his death.

Surprisingly, Dr. Hawass who was against the curse theory and he had dismissed it previously in a series of researches and books, all of sudden became turned into a believer in the curses of Pharaohs. His change of heart was after a series of misfortunate events that happened to him and to others including the Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouk Hosny. He said that he had a car accident, the ct-scan computer stopped with no apparent reason and he got a phone call telling him that a relative died suddenly. Rumors say that Minister Farouk Hosny strained an ankle while getting out of the tomb and other members of the team suddenly fainted. It may not be as dramatic as what happened to Howard Carter and his Egyptologists team after discovering the tomb of King Tut in 1922, but it is still spooky.

The mystical side of the curses: Ancient Egyptians priests were experts on black magic; they could have easily placed some kind of a curse on the tombs. The fact that most tombs contained a straightforward hieroglyphic warning to intruders “Not to open or you’ll be cursed.”

The scientific side of the curses: Ancient Egyptians used many chemicals for the paintings on the walls and for the mummification process. As these tombs were shut tight for thousands of years, this could turn the chemicals into poisonous gases along with the possibility of germs eruption, could all lead to health problem mistaken for curses.

Related urban legends:
The 1922 Cairo blackout was during the opening of King Tut’s tomb.
The head Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities died by fire suddenly erupted in his bedroom in 1923.
A photographer in the British Musuem who took some photos of Tut’s mummy, suddenly fell dead in his lab while developing the film as one of the photos turned out to be a headshot of a disfigured man.(other than the mummy)
Baron Empain stacked some mummies in his Heliopolis Palace basement, which caused the Palace to be haunted. (It is actually a very scary looking Hindu style palace).
A school kid who got lost inside the pyramids and found 10 years later knocking on his parents door while not aging a bit.
The Curse of Pharaohs can only affect foreigners not people with Egyptian blood. (you'd better not stay too long at GM’s Big Pharaoh blog lol).

Some say that the creation of these urban legends was intended to keep away intruders, thieves and tomb raiders (watch out Lara). But it backfired as the tombs became a major attraction for tourists and thieves to sneak into these tombs and have some curse thrills.

Whether or not this was a publicity stunt from Dr. Hawass, the subject still remains mysteriously attractive.

Posted by MG :: 11:25 AM ::