Curses! Curses, I Say! Or, Maybe Not


If you’ve ever indulged in the fantasy of an Indiana Jones-style adventure, the gringa knows EXACTLY how you feel! Epic excitement and mystery! But what the heck is up with all of those curses? Are they real? Have people died mysteriously because they explored ancient Egyptian tombs? Is there any science to explain how it happened? Were ancient Egyptians magical booby-trap designers?

Let’s look at the curse of all curses, the Curse of the Pharaohs.  It claims that if you disturb the resting place of any ancient Egyptian (not just a pharaoh), you are in for big trouble. So, that would stand to reason, in the gringa’s mind, that if you messed about with a pharaoh’s tomb, you should get trouble on an exponential level.

The most famous ancient Egyptian pharaoh tomb in modern history to be explored is that of Tutankhamun, discovered by Howard Carter November 4, 1922. Was a curse released when the tomb’s seal was broken 3 months later on February 16, 1923? Well, apparently there were quite a few deaths that occurred:

George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert,  Earl of Carnarvon (we’ll just call him George-and, Downtown Abbey fans, yes, THAT Carnarvon!), was the fella who paid for the adventure.  About 5 weeks after the seal was broken, March 25, 1923, rich, ol’ George dropped dead from a mosquito bite that became infected when he cut himself shaving shortly after he arrived in Cairo.

Was such a death a rare occurrence, thus indicative of supernatural causes? Nope.  According to industrial records from 1923, contained within “The Industrial Bulletin, Volumes 1-5”, 16 deaths were filed with the US Workmen’s Compensation Bureas in a single MONTH, deaths caused by infection of cuts received on the job. As recent as 2010 more than 27,000 people died from sepsis specifically related to bedsores. In other words, they died when their wounds and sores became infected.

The gringa’s inclined to think that ol’ George’s death was not because of a pharaoh’s curse but just bad hygiene and bad luck. He also had a reputation for being a rather sickly fellow in the first place. No wonder, then, that a tiny mosquito back and contaminated razor cut did him in. But what of the other folks said to have died from Tut’s curse?

George had a half-brother, Colonel Aubrey Herbert, MP. He was a radiologist and X-rayed King Tut. He died six months after his brother, September 26, 1923, from arsenic poisoning.  Now, brother Aubrey had bad eyesight all of his life. He was practically blind and a dentist thought he could solve the problem.  Instead, he got poisoned. Crazy as it sounds, arsenic has a long and illustrious history of use in dentistry, often used as a pain reliever and root canal treatment. Was brother Aubrey a victim of supernatural vengeance? Probably not.  Just another victim in a long line of dental victims. Even today you get your teeth capped or drilled at your own risk. A dentist patient dies, on average in America, every other day.

So what about the American railway mogul, George Jay Gould? He died from a fever after he visited the tomb. Also quite common.

Then there’s Egyptian prince, Ali Kamel Fah. His wife shot him dead not long after he enjoyed a photo safari of the tomb. The gringa thinks the wrath of a wife probably has nothing at all to do with anyone that’s been dead for millennia.

Another guy who X-rayed the mummy, Sir Archibald Douglas Reid, also died. Supposedly from a mystery illness but the gringa’s pretty sure that travel to exotic places often resulted in all kinds of mystery illnesses in 1924 that are, today, considered quite common.

Another victim of gun violence who visited the tomb was the governor of Sudan, Sir Lee Stack. He was shot while driving through the streets of Cairo. Methinks the possibility of an assassin’s bullet, inspired by nationalist fervor, angry at all of these foreigners desecrating the revered resting places of their ancestors is more likely than a curse. Maybe it was a politically motivated assassination by factions unhappy with foreign powers involved in the Sudan. Or, it could have been the work of a greedy tomb raider who wants all these folks gone so they can stage a raid and enjoy some profit.

And then tragedy strikes George’s family, yet again, when his other brother, Mervyn Herbert, dies of malaria related pneumonia. But, there again, dying from malaria, even today, when visiting an exotic locale, is nothing mysterious.

Another guy on George’s team, A. C. Mace, also died of arsenic poisoning in 1928.  Rather than think sinister spirits were flitting about for five years wreaking havoc on unsuspecting curiosity seekers, the gringa thinks it’s more likely that Mace made an unfortunate visit to the dentist.

And what of Captain Richard Bethell? Dead from self-inflicted poisoning, munching on toxic tidbits in bed, much like how the gringa snacks on bon-bons while enjoying a good book. Stupidity or suicide, I say, not a curse. Most likely suicide because, a year later, his father committed suicide by jumping from the seventh floor of an apartment building.

Although it is disturbing to see the number of deaths that occurred within just a few years of opening King Tut’s tomb, the details reveal credible reasons, some with scientific evidence, to explain them as quite normal and of this world. So, if you plan to visit Egypt, don’t be afraid of any, ol’ curse. Visit the tombs. Explore the pyramids. Ride some camels. But get inoculated for malaria before you go, sleep under mosquito netting, use insect repellant, and wear long sleeves!

Sources:

World Travel Guide

South Coast Herald

Dallas News

National Institutes of Health

Mirror UK

Live Science

The Daily Beast

Google Books

Image Credit:  Unrated Film

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Ancient Egypt, ET’s & Giants


Have you, my dear reader, ever been entertained by any of those science fiction shows that depict the ancient Egyptians as extra-terrestrials? You know, the Stargate series. I just love that stuff. I even indulge in the Ancient Alien Theory shows. But it always leads, eventually, to the question, “ Well, is it possible? Could the Ancient Egyptians have had extra-terrestrial ancestry?” It is often said that there is a kernel of truth in ancient legends and myths. What might the historical kernel be that has sprouted the Egyptian/extra-terrestrial connection? What  sort of evidence provokes such a question?

Mysterious DNA

Over a period of 7 years the genomes of 9 Pharaohs were mapped and one was found to have strange characteristics: Using Polymerse Chain Reaction (PCR), a bit of brain tissue and bone tissue, belonging to Akhenaten, were replicated and then “amplified” to create two distinct DNA fingerprints that reflected the same results. An anomaly was found in the gene that controlled cortex growth, CXPAC-5. Compared to average human DNA, Akhenaten’s sample translates to mean that he would have had a larger than average skull and brain.

Now, Akhenaten probably died in his mid-forties. Examination of his DNA revealed that it showed signs of “nucleotide cicatrix” which is a fancy way of saying that his DNA was “scarred”. So, the Pharaoh either had a congenital birth defect or he was genetically modified at some point in his lifetime. Since there is no evidence of advanced genetic surgery ever being performed in Ancient Egypt, the gringa’s going with the congenital birth defect theory.

But Akhenaten/extra-terrestrial theorists go futher and use anomalies of his bone tissue to support their idea. When comparing it to another mummy estimated to be of similar age, Akhenaten’s bones appear denser and microscopically “different” in a way that indicated superior strength.

Now, when I combine both anomalies: a larger head (macrocephaly or megalocephaly) and stronger bones, and take into consideration the DNA defect indicates these are birth defects, the gringa then peruses the annals of birth defects. The gringa discovers that the birth defect of megalocephaly is often accompanied by forms of gigantism associated with diseases such as Canavan’s disease or Alexander’s disease.

His image that is seen in the picture above, carved into a burial chamber wall, shows Akhenaten’s odd proportions compared to his lovely wife, Queen Nefertiti. Akhenaten ruled during 14BC era and fathered Tutankhamun. He does look strange and alien, but still very human.

So, Akhenaten was not a space alien. He was a giant as a result of a birth defect. And that is probably why he died at such a young age. It was also what probably inspired him to spawn a radical religious movement of mono-theism centered around Sun-disc worship. Being “ill” did not line up with Ancient Egyptian religious belief that Pharaohs were immortal gods. To hold onto power legitimately, he would have had to reform religious doctrine.

The Akhenaten argument, for the gringa, doesn’t prove a space alien theory. However, there is much more “evidence” to test. But we will delve into papyrus recordings of “UFO” sightings or jewelry created from “space” metals another time.

source: www.healthofchildren.com, www.ancient-code.com

Image credit: http://www.ancientneareast.org