The Outside World Man Removes the Jewelry from Tutankhamun’s Mummy, Ignores the Hieroglyphic Writing on the Wall Published 9 months ago on May 22, 2018 By Michael Berdy For more than three thousand years, Tutankhamun, the teenage pharaoh, lay at rest in his hidden tomb, forgotten though undisturbed. All that changed when a group of fearless British explorers made the discovery of a lifetime. But with glory came unspeakable horrors. Filled to the brim with incredible treasures of gold and precious stones, Tutankhamun’s tomb also possessed a dangerous secret. As bizarre and terrifying events began to strike those surrounding the archaeological excavation, the haunting legend of this pharaoh’s curse began. So was the writing really on the wall? Read on to learn more about the enduring mystery of the curse of Tutankhamun! 1. The Boy King In the year 1323 BCE, an 18-year-old Egyptian pharaoh named Tutankhamun died of unknown causes. Constantly ill with malaria, he had led a difficult life. His parents were siblings, and genetic neck problems meant he couldn’t move his head. Just a teenager, he needed to walk with a cane. Pennsic His wife Ankhesenamun was his half-sister, and left him no heirs. His advisor, Grand Vizier Ay, married her and took control of the kingdom. Tutankhamun’s line was broken. He was hastily sealed in a hidden tomb, and his name and memory were swallowed by the sands of time. Or were they? 2. In The Valley Of The Kings On a November afternoon in Egypt 3,300 years later, a group of four people stood breathless, on the threshold of an unimaginable discovery. Before them was a door made of mud brick, unseen by mortal eyes for millennia. They were practically electrified with excitement — and uncertainty. Peter J. Bubenik For one of the four, his whole world hinged on this moment. If his theory was correct, this was the entrance to the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. But if he was wrong, the 30-year-long career he had built for himself would have been a complete failure. 3. Trading Brushes For Chisels Howard Carter had not originally intended to become an archaeologist. His father was an artist, and had trained his son in hopes that he might follow in his steps as a painter. Everything changed when the boy beheld the collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts at their neighbors’ mansion. Hulton Archive/Getty Images Young Carter was absolutely enchanted. He left England for his first expedition in Egypt at 17, armed with a chisel his grandmother had gifted him. This is the man who would go on to make one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever – but he couldn’t have done it alone. 4. The Aristocrat To his family, he was called George Herbert. But to the world, he was the 4th Earl of Carnarvon. Fabulously wealthy, Lord Carnarvon had married well. He and Lady Almina lived sumptuously in Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England. Problem was, Carnarvon couldn’t stay put. He was a daredevil. Mirror Lord Carnarvon loved racing cars. Even though the automobile industry was still in its infancy in 1901, he managed to get into a serious accident in Germany. It permanently affected his health. Doctors suggested he should leave the cold and damp of England for a hotter, dry climate: Egypt. 5. A Commoner And A Lord Lord Carnarvon quickly found a new hobby in antiquities. He set himself up in the Egyptian city of Luxor, atop ancient Thebes, and secured a plot for digging, across the Nile River in the Valley of the Kings. There, his path crossed Howard Carter. The adventure seeking Carnarvon decided to finance Carter’s excavations. mystage.ru It was a struggle. Carter was obsessed with finding the tomb of an obscure pharaoh called Tutankhamun. But for all 15 years of searching, he had little to show for his efforts. Carnarvon became frustrated, warning Carter he couldn’t fund him anymore. Carter begged: give me one last chance. 6. A Thrilling Discovery With his artistic skills, Carter mapped the Valley of the Kings as a grid, methodically searching each square. By November 1922, he’d reached the last area, submerged beneath the tomb of Ramses VI. Finally, he found steps leading downward! His team of Egyptian workmen labored feverishly to unearth them. Hulton Archive/Getty Images The previously hidden staircase led to a door flanked by a cartouche, a seal indicating royalty. Wildly excited, Carter fired a telegram to Highclere Castle, telling Lord Carnarvon he’d better hurry to Egypt, and wishing congratulations. He had no idea how right he was…and how wrong. 7. Warning As Carter carefully hid the staircase to protect it, his houseboy went to his house to deliver a message, when he heard a humanlike scream. He ran inside to investigate — and found a cobra had slithered into the birdcage and eaten Carter’s canary. Cobras symbolized ancient Egyptian monarchy. Egyptophile Terrified, the houseboy told Carter it was a bad omen. Word spread among the Egyptian workmen. For them, the message was clear: stay out. Whoever’s crypt they were about to enter was guarded by forces beyond human understanding. But things had already been set in motion. 8. The Moment Of Truth It took three anxious weeks for Lord Carnarvon to arrive in Egypt with his 21-year-old daughter, Lady Evelyn. Close to dusk on November 26, 1922, the two of them met Carter and his assistant Arthur Callender, in front of what they hoped was the door to Tutankhamun’s tomb. miepvonsydow.wordpress.com Using his grandmother’s chisel, Carter smashed a hole in the door’s top left corner. He peered inside. “What do you see?” Carnarvon demanded. Carter’s candle flickered in the gloom and the hot air. Then he saw it: the dark room was glittering with gold! Scarcely able to speak, he replied, “Wonderful things!” 9. Tomb Raiders Would you have been able to wait before entering? Egypt had just gained partial independence from Britain, and according to national law these four foreigners had to send for someone to come from the archaeological authority in Cairo to supervise before they moved any further. But they couldn’t wait. seethrumag.com It would take three days for an antiquities department representative to arrive. Impatient, Carter took a hammer to the door. Lady Evelyn was the smallest, so she crept in first, with the others following close behind. For the first time in 3,300 years, Tutankhamun’s burial chamber had visitors. 10. Tutankhamun Becomes Famous Over the following months, the resting place of Tutankhamun was revealed to the world, and the name of the formerly unknown pharaoh was on everyone’s lips. Though bureaucratic issues and arguments between Carnarvon and Carter impeded progress, they began the process of uncovering and cataloging the boy king’s treasures. Egyptian Streets The scope of the find was immediately apparent. This was the first completely intact ancient Egyptian tomb ever to have been discovered. It was also the first archaeological excavation to be recorded by motion picture. And what they found inside was nothing short of incredible. 11. All That Glitters Is Gold The complex of the pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb was divided between four rooms. Each had been stuffed with an extraordinary array of ceremonial objects, all designed to guard and guide him on his journey through the afterlife. Preserved by the desert heat and humidity, they were in excellent condition. Egy King The astounding treasures included massive statues, the pharaoh’s throne, three layers of coffins from hundreds of pounds of gold, and a beautiful death mask on Tutankhamun’s face. The hieroglyphic writing by the wall paintings was still legible. And Carter should have paid attention to what was written. 12. The Curse Of Tutankhamun He should have known better. Carter wanted to remove the jeweled amulets from the mummy’s bandages, but they were stuck with resin. So he did the unthinkable: he ordered the mummy to be hacked into pieces. He had been warned. But that cobra was not enough to scare him. Harry Burton/Griffith Institute According to press reports, on the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb was a dire inscription: “Death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the King.” The world was about to find out what that message meant. But it didn’t come for Carter. It sought Carnarvon. 13. Lord Of The Flies Those swift wings, strangely enough, belonged to a mosquito. The mosquito that bit Lord Carnarvon on the cheek at his home in Luxor. Several days later, while shaving, he accidentally slashed open the bite with his razor. Seems simple enough to ignore, but Carnarvon’s mistake would bear fatal consequences. Getty Images The cut became infected, and Carnarvon fell gravely ill. His family in England were notified that they had to come to Egypt urgently. And there was one chilling, unexpected twist: as Tutankhamun’s mummy was inspected, a scar was found on the exact same place on his cheek. Was this proof the ancient curse was real? 14. On Swift Wings Terribly sick, Carnarvon was rushed from Luxor to the hospital in Cairo. His family frantically accompanied him. Wife Lady Almina and Daughter Lady Evelyn were there when, on April 5, 1923, Lord Carnarvon succumbed to blood poisoning. Suddenly, all the lights went out across Cairo. Darkness engulfed the capital. rarenewspapers.com The British Army were still in charge of electricity in Egypt, and they rushed to fix the power outage. For twenty minutes, they could not figure out what had caused the blowout, nor could they correct it. The lights then returned just as mysteriously. But that wasn’t all. 15. Heart Of A Dog Lord Carnarvon’s death was immediately attributed to the curse of Tutankhamun. In those same horrible moments, an ocean away at Highclere Castle back in England, Carnarvon’s dog, a fox terrier named Susie lay snoozing in her basket. What happened next, as reported by Carnarvon’s son Henry Herbert, is nothing short of eerie. Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin The dog abruptly woke up, let out an otherworldly howl, and dropped dead. From that moment on, Henry became superstitious, refusing to allow the word ‘Tutankhamun’ to be uttered within the castle grounds. If there was indeed a curse defending Tutankhamun’s tomb, it knew no borders. 16. The Curse Of Tutankhamun The press went berserk. Lord Carnarvon had sold exclusive coverage rights to the Times of London, and rival newspapers descended upon Egypt like hungry jackals, each with its own spin. Even Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous author of Sherlock Holmes, chimed in, insisting that a curse had been unleashed. Kenneth Garrett/National Geographic Reports of the curse didn’t stop anyone. As news spread about the tomb’s dazzling treasures , so too did fascination. Egyptomania swept Europe and America, and the public couldn’t get enough. Tourists began flocking to the tomb even as it was being excavated. It was a huge mistake. 17. The Plague Of Sickness Railroad tycoon George Jay Gould didn’t heed the warnings. He made pilgrimage to see the greatest archaeological find of his times, and was even granted a private tour by Carter himself. Almost instantly, he became sick with fever, and died in the French Riviera in May 1923. afflictor.com Sir Archibald Douglas Reid, a radiologist, was the first person to perform an x-ray of Tutankhamun’s mummy. The very next day, he too was stricken with a bizarre fever, dying after just three days. But the series of frightening coincidences had only just begun. 18. A Tale Of Two Assassinations Egyptian noble, Prince Ali Kemal Fahmy Bey, paid a visit to Tutankhamun’s tomb, taking a picture there. Just weeks later, in July 1923, his new wife Marguerite shot him dead. Scandalously, she was acquitted. Money, it seemed, was no obstacle for those who disturbed the slumber of the pharaoh. whaleoil.co.nz The prince wasn’t the only notable to suffer this fate. The British Governor-General of Sudan, Lee Stack, was one of the first high-ranking officials to come to Tutankhamun’s tomb. Then, as his car stopped in heavy Cairo traffic, he was assassinated. And the curse only continued to spread. 19. Burying The Archaeologists Even those with the purest of intentions, the archaeologists, were not spared. Hugh Evelyn-White, one of the first professionals to enter the mummy’s mortuary with Carter, hung himself. The note he left bears tantalizing clues: “I have succumbed to a curse which forces me to disappear.” vistanews.ru Another victim left a letter. Carter’s friend Arthur Mace had helped remove artifacts from the tomb, and his health rapidly deteriorated. He died in 1928 after four years in decline. Aware though delirious, he wrote a note declaring he’d been poisoned. But the curse was not done. It came next for Carnarvon’s family. 20. Curse Of The Carnarvons Lord Carnarvon had two younger half-brothers. The first, Aubrey Herbert, had an eye problem that led to increasing blindness. Quack doctors extracted his teeth, saying it would improve his vision. They couldn’t have been more misguided. Aubrey swiftly died of blood poisoning — just like his brother five months before. Flickr Five years later, the youngest brother, Mervyn, fell victim to malarial pneumonia, dying in the British Embassy in Rome. Just like that, the males of Carnarvon’s generation had been snuffed out. Was it merely coincidence? If it had been the curse, its next act was a true crescendo of madness. 21. A Series Of Unfortunate Events Richard Bethell, who was Lord Carnarvon’s secretary during Tutankhamun’s excavation, was a healthy man. That’s why it was such a shock when, on November 15, 1929, he was discovered smothered in bed a gentlemen’s club in London. Three months later, Bethell’s father flung himself from his seventh-floor window. Hulton Archive/Getty Images His note announced, “I really cannot stand any more horrors”, blaming his son’s demise on Tutankhamun’s curse. But the chain of events was not over. By the cemetery, his hearse struck an 8-year-old child. As he was buried, an Egyptologist at the British Museum dropped dead. How is it all possible? 22. Egyptophobia By 1929, the list of bizarre occurrences linked to the curse of Tutankhamun was far too long, scaring the British public. The British Museum received a massive influx of Egyptian artifacts, surrendered by frightened collectors. Why? What happened to Howard Carter’s friend Sir Bruce Ingham is a chillingly perfect example. Harry Burton/Griffith Institute Carter gave Ingham a paperweight made of a mummified hand. On it was a scarab beetle bracelet, allegedly inscribed with the phrase: “Cursed be he who moves my body”. Shortly thereafter, Ingham’s house burned down. He rebuilt it — only to see it ruined again by a flood. Lesson learned — but what was to happen to Carter? 23. The Fate Of Howard Carter If all these creepy coincidences add up, then surely the weirdest twist in the tale of Tutankhamun’s curse is Howard Carter. The archaeologist who had smashed into the tomb was still alive long after. Alone in his stone house in Luxor, shouldn’t he have been the main target? Harry Burton/Hulton Archive/Getty Images Carter had an alternate fate. Obsessed with the tomb’s treasure, tortured by the fact that it belonged to the Egyptian state and not him, he spent a decade in dedicated solitude, documenting Tutankhamun’s 5,000 treasures. He was even thrown out by Egyptian authorities once, before apologizing. But his story didn’t end there. 24. The Ballad Of A Thin Man Despite his success and fame, in his final years, Carter was a broken man. Haunted by the chain of events that had plagued those surrounding him, he did one last good deed: he had Tutankhamun’s body put back together and reinterred in his own tomb. Hulton Archive/Getty Images The Wishing Cup, an artifact from Tutankhamun’s tomb, reads: “May your spirit live, may you spend millions of years, you who love Thebes.” It would be inscribed on Carter’s gravestone. On March 2, 1939, he passed away, alone. Few attended his London funeral. Was this a different kind of revenge? 25. Tutankhamun Strikes Back For half a century, there was silence. Then, in 1972, on the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery, it was decided to display Tutankhamun’s treasures abroad. Egypt’s director of antiquities protested, dreaming he would die if they left Egypt. He was right: three months later, a car crash took his life. Science Alert Another Egyptian official rolled his eyes at the notion of a curse. But as Tutankhamun’s death mask was being wrapped for its journey, he suffered a fatal heart attack. The collection made its way to London as planned. Once there, it was met by a most incredible visitor. 26. A Surprising Survivor Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the showing of King Tutankhamun’s treasures at the British Museum. Over 30,000 people flocked to the museum just in the first week of the exhibition. One of them was more surprising than anything else: Lord Carnarvon’s daughter, Lady Evelyn. Daily Mail The first person to set foot inside Tutankhamun’s tomb, she had miraculously survived, unscathed by the curse that had wreaked havoc on her family. Evelyn never returned to Egypt after her father’s untimely death, and therefore had not seen most of the tomb. Naturally, she was curious. 27. Tutankhamun In London Treasures of Tutankhamun was the most popular exhibit in the history of the British Museum. By the time the display closed after nine months, 1.6 million people had come to behold the glittering ancient artifacts. Though undoubtedly apprehensive, Lady Evelyn couldn’t help but be fascinated. ambassadors.net But her intrigue took a dark turn. Lady Evelyn couldn’t get enough of the exhibit, coming back again and again. The emotional strain must have been tremendous. As she left the British Museum after her fifth and final visit, she suffered a stroke. She would never fully recover. 28. The Secret Of Highclere Castle Lord Carnarvon’s son and heir, Henry Herbert, passed away in 1987. Henry’s children and grandchildren were tasked with taking inventory of all his personal effects inside Highclere Castle. But just when they thought they had completed the exhausting task, the butler revealed to them something unbelievable. Pinterest Henry had entrusted the butler with an incredible secret. He ushered the incredulous family along, and to their surprise, opened a hidden passageway leading into a secret room of the castle. There, concealed for 65 years, was an assortment of ancient Egyptian artifacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb! 29. Lingering Mystery Experts remain utterly divided and baffled by the legend of Tutankhamun’s curse. Nearly a century in their wake, the sordid events of the 1920s leave us with frustrating questions. Foremost, why did it take so long for the curse to catch up with Carter and Lady Evelyn, if at all? Quora As for the episode of the lights going out in Cairo as Lord Carnarvon expired, power outages were common back then — bad timing? Additionally, there is no denying that sensational journalism championed the idea of a curse. Regardless, one uncomfortable truth surfaces: the uncanny coincidences are simply too many. 30. A Pharaoh’s Immortality Tutankhamun went from an obscure name known by an obscure archaeologist to the legendary King Tut. His breathtakingly brilliant funerary mask has become hands down one of the most well-known works of art in world history. Word of his tomb’s curse only served to further his fame. Pinterest.com And the infamy only continues: in the past decades, several modern visitors have fallen mysteriously ill and even died after visiting Tutankhamun’s tomb site. The notion of a curse can never be fully proven, but substantial evidence remains that something bizarre is afoot. Plan your trips to Egypt accordingly! Sources: mashable.com, History Today UP NEXT Gunsmoke: Top Facts Behind The Longest-Lived Show on Television... 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