Magic Carpet Journals
The Curse of King Tut Examined
Story by M. Maxine George
For those who are interested in the tales of the "Curse of King Tut" I will pass on this story. At the conclusion of my tour, I was told this story by someone who had studied it. This is what she told me.
"Death will touch with itís wings he who disturbs the pharaoh."
This inscription was supposed to be at the entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamen, when Carter and Carnarvon broke the seal on the door. (This may not be true. I can find no substantiation for this story.) The superstitious fellahs said, "They have found gold, they will find death." Tomb robbers of old had ensured that the superstitious fellahs, who might be tempted to seek the treasure for themselves, would live in fear of the eternal wrath of the pharaohs.
Let us examine the facts. As if felled by posthumous vendetta, Lord Carnarvon died four months and seven days after the discovery of the tomb, at the age of 52, in 1923. He had been working hard, with Howard Carter, recovering the contents of the tomb, then took a short rest in Aswan, where it is believed he was bitten by a mosquito. He died of an infected bite, although some believed that he died after being stung by a scorpion, the animal protector of Isis. At the very moment of his death, two parallel occurrences were said to add to this mystery. A power failure plunged all Cairo into darkness. In Carnarvonís distant English castle, his faithful dog, howled and fell over dead, also at the precise time of the masterís death.
George Benedite, head of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the Louvre, died of a stroke after a visit to the Valley of the Kings. Next, Richard Bethell, Howard Carterís secretary, died and his father, Lord Westbury died shortly after that. Professor LaFleur, took part in the excavations for a few weeks, then died of a mysterious disease. Arthur Mace helped pierce the wall to the burial chamber. He died several days later. Dr. Evelyn White, one of the first persons to enter the burial chamber wrote his family that he had succumbed to a malediction which forced him to disappear and after suffering a mental breakdown, hanged himself. Professor Douglas Derry, who did the anatomical research on the mummy, died after completing his work. Archibald Douglas Reed, x-rayed the mummy. The next day he fell ill and died. To these we must add the names of another Bethell, an Astor, Joel Woolf, Jay-Gould, Fourcart, Winlock, Harkness and Breasted. All told seventeen scientists involved in the research died in strange ways.
We must remember that Howard Carter lived until 1939, seventeen years after he discovered the tomb. Survivors also included A. Lucas who handled almost all the objects in the tomb. Harry Burton, photographed all the contents, one at a time. Pierre Lacare and Sir Alan Gardiner were still alive over fifty years after working on the research in the tomb. Some of the members of the digging team lived to serve in World War II.
Several theories have been brought forth to explain the unusual coincidence of the mysterious succession of deaths related to those involved with Tutís tomb. Could a toxic substance have been sprayed on the walls of the tomb, 3000 years ago? Why then would not everyone who came in contact with it have died? Some scientists suggested that radioactive substances could have been buried in the tomb. Radiation would not be selective. Why then would not everyone have been affected? Mold on the walls has been suggested. My informant suggested that "poisonous vapours" could have been responsible for the deaths of some who have been the first to enter tombs or pyramids.
She hypothesized that there were as many as 30 unexplained or violent deaths within a relatively short time after Tutís discovery. It is interesting to surmise the causes. Maybe the theory that is the most credible, is that each person carried the key to his own destruction. Strong emotions or vague fears brought about by obsession with "the Curse" or a belief in the powerful magic of Isis, wife of Osiris, god of the dead, could have been the key for each individual, who died unexpectedly. The eerie tale of this mystery only adds to the mystique of the tantalizing tale of King Tut.
Story and picture by M. Maxine George
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Last Updated on September 10, 2019 by M. Maxine George editor.