Ancient Curses Associated with Graves, Mummies, Artifacts, etc.


tart of darkness
Jan 3, 2009
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Archaeologists exploring the "City of the Monkey God" recently contracted a flesh-eating disease, which is quite similar to a number of horrifying tales of woe to befall archaeologists.

International treasure hunters face a number of practical challenges: unfriendly locals, hostile international trade agreements that frown on grave robbing, inclement weather, dangerous travel conditions in unfamiliar terrain, and, of course, the vengeful curses of ancient deities. I jest, but a pervasive theme in popular stories of archeological discovery and exploration is the idea of tomb raider curses: curses that afflict those who dare disturb the peace of the ancient dead. But what lies behind stories of ‘the Mummy’s Revenge’?

More on the "City Of the Monkey God" disease outbreak here

Exploration of the city mentioned on this thread:


I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
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Jul 19, 2004
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Out of Bounds
This Live Science article provides an overview on the legends of Egyptian mummies' curses and illustrates how these tales predate the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb.
Is the ancient Egyptian 'mummy's curse' real?

Within months of the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922, the man who financed its excavation — George Herbert, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon in England — became ill and dropped dead. It didn't take long for people to question whether a "mummy's curse" had doomed the earl.

"Pharaoh's 3,000 year-old Curse is Seen in Illness of Carnarvons" read the headline on the front page of the March 21, 1923, edition of "The Courier Journal," a newspaper published in Louisville, Kentucky.

Similar headlines appeared in newspapers around the world as news broke of Carnarvon's illness and death. He suffered an infection that reportedly resulted from a shaving accident when he cut a bite mark made by a mosquito. ...

... Is there any evidence supporting the concept of a mummy's curse?

While the notion of a "curse" may sound ridiculous, it has actually been studied seriously by scientists, with several papers published on the topic. In an effort to determine whether a long-lived pathogen could have caused the "curse," scientists used mathematical modeling to determine how long a pathogen could survive inside a tomb, according to papers published on the subject in 1996 and 1998 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. ...

However, more recent publications appear to rebut this possibility. An analysis of brown spots on Tutankhamun's tomb found that "the organism that created the spots is not active," a team of researchers wrote in a paper published in 2013 in the journal International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation.

Additionally, a study published by Mark Nelson, a professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Monash University in Australia, found no evidence that those who went inside the tomb died at unusually young ages. His study examined records of 25 people who worked or went into the tomb shortly after it was discovered. On average, the people who went inside the tomb lived to be 70 years old, an age of death that was not particularly low in the early to mid-20th century. The study found "no evidence to support the existence of a mummy's curse," Nelson wrote in a 2002 paper published in the British Medical Journal. ...

The idea of a mummy being associated with a curse actually predates the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. "The curse is a legend that developed gradually, since sometime in the mid-19th century, and has grown progressively with cumulative contributions by fiction literature, horror films, news media and most recently, the internet," said Jasmine Day, an Egyptologist who holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology and wrote the book "The Mummy's Curse: Mummymania in the English-Speaking World" (Routledge, 2006). ...

"My research uncovered forgotten American fiction stories from the 1860s, in which male adventurers strip female mummies and steal their jewels, only to suffer a horrible death, or dreadful consequences for those around them," Day told Live Science. ...

Other scholars agreed that the association of curses and magic with mummies was widespread before the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. ...

The press exclusive sold to the Times of London played a major role in the spread of the idea that Tut's tomb was cursed. Other media outlets were outraged that they were shut out and ran stories on the curse, Day said.

"Foremost among the disgruntled reporters was Arthur Weigall, a journalist, novelist, former Egyptologist and bitter rival of Howard Carter," Day said. When Carnarvon died, "Weigall pounced, claiming that the curse of Tutankhamun had killed him," even though Weigall reportedly did not believe in the curse himself. ...

Even today, some people like to link archaeological discoveries and contemporary events with curses. ...