30 Facts About The Ice Mummy & Ötzi Curse

by Sankalan Baidya
ice mummy curse

The story of curses, no matter how intimidating or interesting they are, eventually tell one thing about humans – “most of us are superstitious and only a few among us take advantage”. It is not that any curse actually kills us. We just die some way or the other.

The curious case of the Ice Mummy Ötzi is one such example. The famous Ötzi Curse is nothing but a gimmick that was exploited by a few (perhaps the media) and hundreds and thousands of us fell victims.

So, it is time that we uncover the truth behind the Ötzi Curse and in the process, learn 30 interesting facts about the Ice Mummy & Ötzi Curse. For the purpose of simplicity, we will break down this list into parts. We are ready. Are you?

Facts About The Ice Mummy: 1-5 | About Ice Mummy

1. September 19, 1991, in South Tyrol’s Ötztal Alps, two German hikers named Helmut Simon and Erika Simon spotted amongst the melting glacier something that looked ‘brown’.

2. Curiosity kicked in and they went close for inspection only to find to their horror, a human corpse lying on a flat rock with face down! That marked the discovery of The Ice Mummy.

3. Helmut and Erika thought it to be the corpse of an unfortunate hiker but never thought that they stumbled upon the best preserved and oldest of all mummies to exist in the entire world.

Facts About The Ice Mummy & Ötzi Curse
(Image on Left) Fair use, Link | (Image on Right) Fair use, Link

4. The corpse they discovered was perfectly preserved in ice and hence, it was called by the name – The Ice Mummy.

5. Since The Ice Mummy was discovered in the Ötztal Alps, it was named as the Ötzi.

Facts About The Ice Mummy: 6-10 | About Ice Mummy

6. The official name of Ötzi is, according to South Tyrol Provincial Government, “Der Mann aus dem Eis” which in English translates to “The man who came from the ice”.

7. After the discovery of Ötzi, the Italians and the Austrians started fighting about the soil or ground where The Ice Mummy was found. Italians won and it was established through geographical survey that Ötzi was found in Italy.

8. The mummy was carbon dated and was found to be from the Neolithic Age, which was around 3,350 to 3,100 B.C. Yes, more than 5,000 years old.

9. The study of the mummy revealed that the man was about 5’ 3” tall and weighed around 110 pounds.

10. It was believed that Ötzi had blue eyes but later scientific studies claimed that Ötzi had brown eyes.

Facts About The Ice Mummy: 11-15 | About Ice Mummy

11. Ötzi had a very rare anatomical anomaly. He did not have the 12th rib pair.

Facts About The Ice Mummy & Ötzi Curse
Naturalistic reconstruction of Ötzi – South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology | By Thilo Parg – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

12. Scientists believe that The Ice Mummy was actually a furrow-faced bearded man and died around the age of 45.

13. Scientists figured out that Ötzi had all his teeth intact when he died despite the fact that he suffered from periodontal diseases, worn teeth and cavities. There was also a remarkable ‘natural gap’ or diastema between upper incisors.

14. The Ice Mummy was naturally dehydrated and mummified. This led to genitalia collapse and as a result, the member was almost invisible. However, the scientists believe that Ötzi was better endowed.

15. It was previously believed that The Ice Mummy’s last meals were veggies, meat and einkorn. However, scientists have recently discovered gall bladder stones which indicate that the last meal of Ötzi was probably rich in animal products.

Facts About The Ice Mummy: 16-20 | About Ice Mummy

16. The Ice Mummy actually died in early summer or spring. This was confirmed by 30 different types of pollens that were discovered in Ötzi’s stomach. These pollens came in from the food he ate, the air he breathed (which is precisely why scientists can say the season of his death) and the water he drank.

17. Ötzi was born in South Tyrol. This was confirmed by isotopic composition of tooth enamel. The same analysis of the bones was also done. Together these analyses suggested that Ötzi’s childhood was spent in lower Puster Valley or upper Eisack Valley and that before he died, he spent at least a decade in Vinschgau.

18. Several different items were found along with the corpse. One of the most important items were a copper blade axe that was capable of cutting down an entire tree without the need of sharpening in just 35 minutes.

19. Ötzi was probably infertile and belonged to European genetic haplogroup K.

20. Ötzi actually had a violent fight just before death. There was a violent blow to his head and his subclavian artery was pierced by an arrow.

Facts About The Ice Mummy: 21-23 | About Ice Mummy

21. Different people have tried to suggest different social status of Ötzi. Some believe he was a shepherd and some say he was a trader. Some believe that Ötzi was a hunter while others believe that he was a mineral prospector looking for deposits of mineral ores in mountains. Some others believe that Ötzi was actually a shaman.

22. 50 different tattoos were found on the body; all made with fine incisions and were rubbed with charcoal probably for pain relief. The incisions of the tattoos were found on the acupuncture lines of the skin which tell that the method of acupuncture actually predated the Asian acupuncture methods by at least 2000 years.

23. The EURAC Institute conducted a study that was headed by Albert Zink where it was found that Ötzi had enthesopathy signs. Enthesopathy is a type of inflammatory disease found in bone attachments and usually occurs in athletic people. This proves that Ötzi spent most of his time wandering on mountains.

Facts About The Ice Mummy: 24-30 | The Ötzi Curse Facts

Ötzi is associated with Tutankhamun-style curse. The reason why Ötzi is associated with a curse is that 7 people who were associated with the discovery died within a year of Ötzi’s discovery. Is Ötzi really a cursed mummy? Who died and how? Here is the list of interesting facts about Ötzi curse:

24. At the age of 52, Kurt Fritz died because of an avalanche. He was the mountain guide for Helmut and Erika Simon and was the first to uncover Ötzi’s face.

25. At the age of 64, a forensic pathologist named Rainer Henn from University of Innsbruck died because of a car accident. He was actually going for addressing a conference where he was about to present his research studies about Ötzi.

26. At the age of 69, Helmut Simon (known as the father of Ötzi because he was the first one to find The Ice Mummy) suffered a 300-foot fall and his dead body was found in a stream.

27. At the age of 45, Dieter Warnecke, a member of the rescue team who found the body of Helmut Simon died because of a heart attack. He died an hour after Helmut’s funeral.

28. At the age of 47, Rainer Hölz died of a brain tumor. He was actually the creator of a documentary about Ötzi’s recovery.

29. At the age of 63, Tom Loy, a molecular archeologist died due to a hereditary blood disease. Loy was the person who made amazing discoveries about Ötzi’s clothing.

30. At the age of 66, Konrad Spindler died. He headed the scientific team responsible for examining Ötzi in Innsbruck.

The question is, ‘were these deaths caused by a curse?’ The answer is, NO! Apart from these 7 people, everyone else who was involved in Ötzi discovery and study are living just healthy and fine. Death is the ultimate truth of life and these 7 people died because that was the time for them to die. If at all there was anything as Ötzi Curse, every single person involved with Ötzi case would have died. That never happened. No other death has been registered related to Ötzi and hence, these 7 deaths cannot be referred to as deaths caused by Ötzi Curse.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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