Supposed Curses of Mummies & Tombs
Unearthing Ancient Corpses Could Bode Ill
By Jennifer Viegas
Special to ABCNEWS.com
In 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter discovered King Tutankhamen's burial chamber. Upon entering the tomb, Carters lucky canary, which supposedly led him to the remote site, was eaten by a cobra.
From EgyptVoyager.com - "The curses were directed at tomb robbers and those who sought to despoil the tomb. It may be that since Egyptologists make the name of the dead live by their discoveries and publications, (and therefore the soul), they would not be punished but actually be blessed by the ancients."
A Tour Egypt feature story - "When, in November of 1922, Howard Carter discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor, the world was really very different then it is today. It was not a time of instant, live television coverage by investigative reporters. Rather, the world of media still belonged to newspapers, and information traveled much more slowly, and less reliably. It was a more superstitious time, and the media was fully adjusted to take advantage of the attribute to sell their publications. It was a time when reporters often simply made up facts in order to sensationalize their stories, and in print, people believed them."
"The discovery of tobacco fragments in the mummified body of Ramses II should have had a profound influence upon our whole understanding of the relationship between ancient Egypt and America but this piece of evidence was simply ignored."
June 18, 1996
Web posted at 2:45 p.m. EDT (1845 GMT)
Mummy's curse powerless against theft of Egypt's artifacts
From Correspondent Gayle Young
CAIRO (CNN) -- In Cairo's famed Khan El-Khalili bazaar, merchants hawk the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt. [CNN Archives]
There's a postscript to this story. In 1999 a German microbiologist, Gotthard Kramer, from the University of Leipzig, suggested that there might be some scientific truth to the stories of a curse. He analyzed 40 mummies and identified several potentially dangerous mold spores on each. Mold spores are tough and can survive thousands of years even in a dark, dry tomb. Although most are harmless, a few can be toxic. [Lee Krystek 1997, 1999]National Geographic Society [New Window]
"Mummy's Curse" Legend Won't Die
By Brian Handwerk
"The "mummy's curse" first enjoyed a worldwide vogue after the 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt.
When Howard Carter opened a small hole to peer inside the tomb at treasures hidden for 3,000 years, he also unleashed a global passion for ancient Egypt.
Tut's glittering treasures made great headlines—and so did sensationalistic accounts of the subsequent death of expedition sponsor Lord Carnarvon. "