History Embalmed

Curse of Tutankhamun

Stories of the Curse of Tutankhamun still circulate today. Myths and legends about deaths, curses and mummies are both fun and frightening.  

The idea of the curse is kept alive by our imaginations and constant reminders of the curse by various movies. We are fascinated by the boy-king who was buried with his fabulous treasures for nearly 3500 years.

There is part of us that perhaps believe that it was wrong to disturb his secret, sacred burial place. And that the invocation of the 'Curse of Tutankhamun' was just retribution for the violators of his tomb. But what are the facts and what is fiction that surround the legends and myths of the Curse of Tutankhamun?

The Reported Curse of Tutankhamun

What was the wording of the Curse of Tutankhamun? The 1922 newspapers, at the time the tomb of King Tut was discovered by Howard Carter and his financier Lord Carnarvon,  were involved in the first media frenzy. Before long there were rumours of the Curse of Tutankhamun.

 

Eminent people of the day, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, were adding credence to the curse. The Curse of Tutankhamun was reported as being:

"It is I who hinder the sand from choking the secret chamber, and who repel that one who would repel
him with the desert-flame. I have set aflame the desert. I have caused the path to be mistaken.
I am for the protection of the Osiris. This is to repel the enemy of Osiris, in whatever form he may come."

This curse was soon further sensationalized and interpreted as basically reading:

"Anyone who disturbs the tomb of Tutankhamun will die a terrible death"

The Truth about theCurse of Tutankhamun
So we know that the press fuelled the idea of the Curse of Tutankhamun. But why? Was the Curse of Tutankhamun based on any facts? What are the facts and what is fiction that surround the legends and myths of the Curse of Tutankhamun? This section details the facts about the how the Curse of Tutankhamun grew. Comprehensive details of the occurrences can be accessed via the Curse of King Tutlink.

Facts about theCurse of Tutankhamun
The following information provides an insight into the facts and fiction surrounding the Curse of Tutankhamun:

Fact 1
The Tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered by Howard Carter 4 November 1922

Fact 2
The excavation was financed by Lord Carnarvon

Fact 3
26 November 1922: Carter makes the famous "tiny breach in the top left hand corner" of the tomb doorway accompanied by Lord Carnarvon and his daughter Lady Evelyn Herbert.

Fact 4
The day the tomb of King Tut was opened a cobra attacked the pet canary which belonged to Carnarvon. This was seen as an omen as a rearing cobra emblem was associated with the protection of the pharaohs

Fact 5
December 1922: The press go into a frenzy about the discovery of the tomb, disturbing the work being conducted at the tomb. Newspapers and the Curse of King Tut

Fact 6
9 January 1923: Lord Carnarvon strikes an exclusive deal with The Times. Other journalists are furious about the deal and forced to find different ways to cover the story

Fact 7
5 April 1923: Carnarvon dies septicaemia after nicking a mosquito bite with his cut-throat razor. When the mummy of Pharaoh Tutankhamun was later unwrapped a wound was found on the cheek of the mummy in the same position as the mosquito bite

Fact 8
At the time of his death all of the lights were reported to have gone out in Cairo for twenty minutes

Fact 9
At the point of his death it was also reported that Carnarvon's pet Fox Terrier dog let out a loud howl and dropped dead at Highclere Castle

Fact 10
An inscription is found on an Anubis shrine found in the tomb of Tutankhamun that stated: "It is I who hinder the sand from choking the secret chamber. I am for the protection of the deceased". Reporters embellish the 'Curse of Tutankhamun' Tomb Curses

Fact 11
The Anubis Shrine and inscription was one of a series of Four Magic Bricks

Fact 12
The four protective "magic bricks" and protective objects related to them (the Shabti, the Torch, Jackal God Anubis and the Djed Pillar had spells, or curses, attached to them

Fact 13
The protective spells  relating to the "magic bricks" and the associated objects were contained in Chapter 151 from the Book of the Dead

Fact 14
The spells associated with the above objects were mixed together and reported in the newspapers as the Curse of King Tut

Fact 15
Different interpretations and curses were added

Fact 16
The Curse of King Tut ideas were fuelled by a novelist named Marie Corelli and the eminent author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Fact 17
Newspapers blame the deaths of other people, associated with the opening of the tomb, on the Curse of King Tut.

Fact 18
It was reported that "Several American politicians went so far as to call for an investigation of mummies to determine whether or not these possessed the same medical dangers as those thought to be apparent in the tomb."

Fact 19
Of the 26 people present at the opening of the tomb, only six died within ten years. Theories about the Victims of the Curse of King Tut still continue in modern times

Fact 20
On 2 March 1939 Howard Carter died, of natural causes, at the age of 65

The Curse of Tutankhamun
There was never just one specific Curse of King Tut. But the myths and legends are indeed based on some truth, facts and beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians.

Curse of Tutankhamun
Each section of the Curse of Tutankhamun addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about the Golden Age of Pharaohs and of Egypt. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of the Pharaoh - Tutankhamun and the Curse of Tutankhamun!

Curse of King Tut

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