Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Curse of the Mummy

The "mummy's curse" is most known for the death of several people following the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb. The curse declares that if anyone dares to open a tomb will suffer the wrath of the mummy, so states KingTutOne.com. Lord Carnarvon funded an expedition of King Tut's tomb in 1922 and when Howard Carter opened up a small hole to view hidden treasures 3,000 years old, the world became enamored with ancient Egypt (National Geographic). Soon, the world will also be introduced to the "mummy's curse" concept after Lord Carnarvon died four months later (New York Times).
Dominic Montserrat, an Egyptologist, researched the origins of the "mummy's curse" and discovered it was first conceived from a London and not Egypt. In London there was a stage show where they brought real mummies on stage and unwrapped them. This led to inspiration of other writers to write tales of mummy revenge (National Geographic).
Lord Carnarvon's death sparked the interest of the mummy curses, but was his death really the result of the wrath of King Tut? Turns out Carnarvon died of a mosquito bite on his cheek that got infected from cutting it while shaving. Of the 26 people present when the King's tomb was opened, 6 died within a decade. Howard Carter, the first person to enter the tomb, would be expected to have been the prime victim, but lived in till 1939 spending his last years cataloging every item found in King Tut's tomb (KingTutOne). Some explain the mysterious deaths to be caused by bacteria and molds from the human, animal and food remains found in the tomb that could be dangerous if a person already has a weakened immune system. On the other hand F. Dewolfe Miller a professor of epidemiology, thinks it is unlikely.(National Geographic).
I think it is important to ask if 6 deaths out of a total of 26 explorers over ten years is really that significant? That's approximately one death every other year, and considering these are mature men (Carnarvon died at the age of 56) during a time when the average life expectancy of a man was 53.6. Other ages of those 6 who died range from 45-70 of those I was able to find both birth and death dates of. So considering the life expectancy, and small portion of actual deaths, I would not find there to be anything remarkable about the deaths of those explorers.


  1. This is a very interesting post. There is so much of egyptian history that is shrowded in mystery and the mummies curse is just one of these many intruiging mysteries.

  2. By this time I had moved from the North to the South of England and began treating clients in the evenings; still working full time as a PA.castle bunk bed