Relax! Egypt finds no evidence of curses within mysterious black sarcophagus…so far
Fears about what (or who) was inside the sarcophagus sent Twitter into a frenzy earlier this week with suggestions that perhaps opening the 9ft-long stone coffin would unleash some kind of ancient Egyptian curse. The discovery prompted arguments that if ancient mummy movies had taught us anything, the mysterious box was better left sealed and forgotten about, lest its opening unleash worldwide calamity and destruction.
Some people even suggested that the tomb could have held the remains of Alexander the Great, arguably the greatest conqueror of the ancient world, whose untimely death sealed the fate of the empire he carved out from the Mediterranean to India. Others recalled how the opening of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 was followed by the unpleasant deaths of a number of people involved in its discovery, which some think was the result of the Curse of the Pharaohs.
Appearing to heed the warnings from concerned citizens everywhere, the tomb was opened after an evacuation from the area and with a heavy police cordon and coordination between the Engineering Department of the Armed Forces and the Tourism Police.
But it turned out the hype was all for nothing and the reality was far less exciting than Twitter had anticipated. Archeologists opened the 2,000 year-old sarcophagus to find three decomposed mummies floating about in rancid floodwater — and none of the people involved have fallen victim to any kind of curses. So far, at least.
Russia had its own brush with a tomb-sealing “curse” in 1941 — and if legend is to be believed, the ensuing chaos was far worse than a few floating skeletons.
When an archeological expedition was working in Samarkand on the excavation of the family crypt of Timur the Lame, a 14th century Mongolian conqueror, scientists ignored warnings from the locals and exhumed the bodies of Timur and his descendants.
Much to the horror of the archeologists, on the tomb were the words: “When I rise from the dead, the world shall tremble.” Worse still, inside the casket, they read the inscription: “Whomsoever opens my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I.”
Two days later Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Timur’s remains were reburied just days before the Battle of Stalingrad, which was one of the bloodiest during the war and is considered by many historians to be the turning point in the war. Now, of course, history fans will know that Nazi Germany began planning for the Soviet invasion long before Timur’s body was exhumed — but no need to let that get in the way of a good legend.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!