How Bizarre!!

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The Curse of the Tomb

Everyone knows about the grand sad story behind the pyramids. Buried with treasures and all things possible that the deceased royalty might possibly require in the next world, the beautifully constructed structures attracted the eyes of tourists and robbers alike. The only defense that the world wonders had  against malicious forces were booby traps set in by the ancient builders, like hidden rolling rocks and mazes. Thus, tomb exploration became a much coveted and skilful pursuit in the early nineteen hundreds. One such explorer was Harold Carter, who along with Earl Carnarvon is world famous for his 1922 discovery of the tomb of arguably the most recognized pharaoh outside Egypt- the Boy King Tutankhamun. Attached to the tragic story of a teenaged king who died much before his time is something more sinister and which baffles common and scientific people alike. It’s called the “Curse of the Tomb”.

The tombs were considered portals to the next world by the ancient Egyptians. They were packed with money, jewellery and even everyday objects like bathing supplies and shaving kits, so that their beloved pharaohs would not be short of any kind of comfort in their new life. They were meant to be quiet resting places for the mummified rulers and thus, the ancients worked their black magic and placed a curse on the entrance of most pyramids, to befall the unsuspecting pilferer.

Soon after the discovery of the tomb, Carnarvon and Carter closed down their work at the tomb due to the stress of the work. Their personal relationship also deteriorated because of their countless arguments regarding the ownership of the articles that they discovered at the site. Dejected and heartbroken, Carnarvon returned to England, only to fall sick soon after. He suffered from high fever and soon moved to Cairo with his wife and children. Carter joined the unhappy family as soon as he came to know of Carnarvon’s ill health. Unfortunately, Carnarvon slipped into a coma and left for his afterlife on April 5 at the robust age of 57. Curiously, at the time of his death, Cairo city was plunged into an unexplainable darkness. Moreover, Carnarvon’s fox-terrier Susan, suddenly started howling at the Carnarvon residence in England, and soon passed away.

This started a chain of ill luck to all who dared cross the threshold of the Boy King’s revered place of rest. The hieroglyphics carved on the entrance of the tomb was deciphered to read the chilling warning: “Death shall come to him who touches the tomb”.

Although the intellectuals rubbished the curse theory, there were many who believed in it. Carnarvon’s son stated that he neither believed nor disbelieved the ominous pronouncement etched at Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, which proved so fatally true for his poor father. He also added that soon after his father’s death, he was visited by a mysterious woman who advised him to stay away from his father’s grave. Shaken and oddly scared, he followed the advice.

Like Carnarvon, everyone who visited the tomb was taken ill mysteriously or died in peculiar circumstances. Professor La Flour died the very night he paid a visit to the cursed site. An American millionaire too died of high fever on the same day he dared to touch Tut’s tomb. Carter’s assistants frequently suffered from fever and finally passed away.

The disbelievers of the theory say that the victims must’ve fallen prey to the dreadful heat and dust of the desert added to the combined effects of the excitement and strain of the journey. Some researchers even suggested that the fungus covering the walls of the tomb may have triggered a fatal allergic reaction or even an infection. The extensive knowledge in toxicology of the ancient Egyptians was also postulated.

Meanwhile, Dr. Game led-Din Mehrez, Director of the Department of Antiquities, took Tut’s relics to America. Unafraid of the “curse”, Mehrez confidently explained the mysterious deaths as mere co-incidences. He died a few weeks later at the age of 52.

In 1980, a British television team began production of a film entitled “The Curse of King Tut”. On the very first day of shooting, the protagonist suffered fractures in ten different places when his vintage car jumped over the edge of a hill. The other crew members refused to work on the project after this terrible accident.

Strange coincidences have refused to let the legend of the curse die in the memory of the public. The true nature of these deaths is debatable, but in the absence of any conclusive proof or explanation surrounding these mysterious circumstances, perhaps it’d be wise to steer clear of the famed tomb of the Boy King. The whole story makes for a very interesting mystery and one can only say, How Bizarre!!

Shailaja Taparia

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