Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Mummy's Curse

The year was 1910. Egyptologist Douglas Murray was sought out by a diseased and ragged looking American. He told Murray he had an offer that would most likely be the most priceless and important find of his whole career, a mummy case, complete with mummy, of an ancient Egyptian high priestess of the temple of Ammon-Ra who supposedly lived in Thebes around 1600 BC.

Murray was quick to write the American a check, drawn from the Bank of London, but the check was never cashed. The American died that night.

A colleague of Murray's told him the legend behind his new purchase. The ancient high priestess had held high office in the then feared Cult of the Dead, helping to turn the once rich and fertile land in the Valley of the Nile into a bare wasteland, a truly desolate place. Inscribed on the walls of her tomb were warnings of death and terror for anyone disturbing her resting place. Believing it was a load of poppycock, Murray laughed at the warning. Three days later, while on a hunting trip, his gun exploded in his hand, causing him months of almost constant pain spent in hospital. The wound eventually became infected, and fearing the gangrene would spread, his arm was amputated at the elbow.

When his health returned he set sail for England, mummy case and all. During the trip, two Egyptian servants who had handled the mummy case were found dead. They were considered to be young, strong, healthy men, so their deaths came very unexpectedly. Upon arriving in London, Murray took a good long look at his acquisition, and while examining the carved gold and painted image of the priestess, he later told friends that "the face seemed to come alive with a stare that chilled to the bone."

Murray decided t was time to get rid of the mummy case. A lady friend of his persuaded him to sell it to her, and within weeks her mother died, her lover left her, and she herself was diagnosed with what could only be called a 'wasting' disease. Was it perhaps the same disease to plague the American? Whatever it was, she insisted that Murray take it back.

He then gave it to a British museum, and it seemed that the 'curse' was no less effective there, either. A photographer dropped stone cold dead while photographing the mummy case, and the man in charge of the cases exhibit was soon found dead in his own bed. In light of these events, the museums head honcho's met privately and unanimously decided to give it to a prestigious New York museum. The case was sent with no fanfare, but the case never reached it's destination, for it sunk to the bottom of the sea along with the Titanic and almost 1500 souls in April of 1912.