Our world is lurking with curses. We don’t know how many of them are real but they are kind of eerie. For instance, the Curse of The Ice Mummy and Tamerlane’s Curse we wrote about before, are at least pretty scary if not true. However, we barely have any way to verify their authenticity. One such popular curse is the Curse of the Pharaoh or King Tutankhamen’s Curse. Tutankhamen was the King of Egypt and lived between 1343 and 1323 B.C. He was known as the ‘Boy King’ because he became King when he was only 10 years old. The tomb of Tutankhamen was from the Valley of the Kings. It is the same valley which is popular as the famed ‘City of the Dead’.
After the tomb of King Tutankhamen was found, stories of an age old curse unleashing wrath began to spread. Stories began to spread that those who will disturb the final resting place of King Tutankhamen, the ‘mummy’s curse’ will unleash on them. What really triggered the rumors? What really happened? Did people die? How many of them died? There must be at least a dozen questions that you are pondering on right now. So, let’s not waste any more time and find out 12 interesting facts about Tutankhamen’s Curse or the ‘Mummy’s Curse’.
1. On 17th February, 1923, chief archeologist Howard Carter and his team invited at least 20 guests in an antechamber located deep underneath the City of the Dead or the Valley of the Kings to unseal the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen.
2. Carter invited 20 archeologists and Egyptian dignitaries for the event. It was important because most of other tombs of Egyptian Kings and Queens had been looted before but King Tutankhamen’s tomb was virtually inaccessible because it lay safely for millennia underneath an ancient construction project debris.
3. Tomb thieves did manage to enter the tomb but failed to go beyond the second shrine of burial chamber.
4. As all the invited guests stood fast and waited with utter patience, Carter, after 10 minutes of hard labor, eventually created a hole which was just big enough for the spectators to peek through and take a look inside the chamber.
5. What they saw was light bouncing off a golden shrine inside the chamber. Follow this link to learn how the discovery progressed.
6. Following the discovery, Carter and his men worked for several years to unearth a cache of treasures that amazed the world.
7. That’s the good part of the story but something horrible was waiting. By the end March, 1923, Mari Corelli went on to publish a warning stating that anyone who entered the sealed tomb would face dire consequences. The question is, ‘why at all did she give this warning?’ It is being said that a canary – Carter’s pet was killed by the Cobra after he discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb.
8. In ancient Egypt, the cobras were looked upon as goddess Wadjet and was considered to be the protectors of Pharaohs.
9. That wasn’t all! The terror really started when George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, who funded the excavation of Howard Carter died of mosquito bite. George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert was the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and hence, was known as Lord Carnarvon. He was actually sick when he arrived at Cairo. The infection caused by the disease-laden mosquito was further aggravated by Lord Carnarvon’s daily ritual of morning shave. He eventually died on April 5th, 1923.
10. Legend says that when Tutankhamen’s tomb was opened and the mummy was analyzed, a small wound was found on the King’s cheek. The wound was exactly on the same place where the mosquito had bitten Lord Carnarvon.
11. As if Lord Carnarvon’s death wasn’t enough to infuse terror, the weirdest thing that happened was that the moment Lord Carnarvon died, there was a mysterious power failure throughout Cairo and lights went off for a short period of time. If that didn’t scare you, here is something more – the moment Lord Carnarvon died, his pet dog back in his estate in England howled strangely and dropped dead. This was reported by Lord Carnarvon’s son.
12. Was that all? Not really! A few more people became victims of the so called ‘Revenge of the Pharaohs’. Lord Carnarvon’s daughter, Lady Elizabeth Carnarvon died. A.C. Mace, partner of Carter died too. Carter’s assistant named Richard Bethell died as well. Bethell’s father named Lord Westbury died too! Even the person who guarded the burial chamber round the clock actually died.
The question is, how authentic were the claims? Did people really fall victims of Tutankhamen’s Curse? Not really! James Randi in his book titled ‘An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural’ gave some amazing information.
First, Howard Carter who actually physically opened the tomb lived for another 16 years before he eventually succumbed to cancer in 1939.
Second, Sgt. Richard Adamson who was the person who guarded the tomb died in 1982 – 60 years after the tomb was opened.
Third, Lady Elizabeth Carnarvon, daughter of Lord Carnarvon died in 1980 after surviving for 57 years from the date when the tomb was opened. Actually, most of the deaths which have been associated with Tutankhamen’s Curse took place long after the tomb was opened and scientifically, majority of them actually died of old age and deteriorating health and not because of the curse.
Do you still now believe in curses? Well, one question you might ask is that what actually sparked this ‘curse’ story altogether? James Randi says that it was Howard Carter who started it all. According to Randi, Carter did not really invent the ‘Mummy’s Curse’ thing but only exploited it. He did so to prevent intruders from entering the tomb and looting the riches. That’s an acceptable explanation because for Carter, discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb was his life’s greatest discovery. Yet another information that goes on to prove that the curse was only a hoax is that all deaths that have been reported were either from American or European lineage. Locals or more appropriately, Egyptians remained untouched by the curse.
Image Sources: 1, 2, 3