Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Object 22542: The Unlucky Mummy
After seeing yet another re-run of "The Mummy" on the TV, today's post is about the "Unlucky Mummy".
The Unlucky Mummy's story starts way back in Ancient Egypt but we pick up the thread in the 1860s. At this time an adventurer and explorer, Douglas Murray, bought himself a mummy.
Murray purchased an ancient artefact, the inner coffin lid of a high-ranking female in Egyptian society, suspected to be a Priestess of Amen-Ra. That this artefact had a reputation for bringing ill fortune to whoever owned it, didn't bother Murray in the least. Which perhaps it should because the very next day he accidentally shot his own arm off!
Shortly after this, call it co-incidence, but a string of unfortunate accidents befell three Egyptian porters, all of whom had recently handled the sarcophagus. Enough was enough, and Murray gave away his recent acquisition.
However, it didn't take long for the new owner to experience bad luck. He can't have been fond of his sister because he gifted the mummy to her! The sister, Mrs. Warwick-Hunt sounds a practical sort and she commissioned an occultist to exorcise any malign spirits. But this didn't go to plan when the occultist decreed that the evil was too strong for her, and advised Mrs. Warwick-Hunt, if she valued her health, to move the artefact on.
Mrs. Warwick-Hunt then made the sensible deduction that an august institution such as the British Museum was far too lofty to worry about superstition. She donated the mummy to them.
But the Priestess of Amen-Ra wasn't done with her curses, and on the way to the British Museum, the vehicle carrying the sarcophagus careered off the road and struck a pedestrian. Once at the museum, a laborer broke his leg whilst unloading the artefact…and yet another worker died a short time later under mysterious circumstances…
The mummy settled in as "Object 22542" but to the public she became known as "The Unlucky Mummy". Perhaps her reputation preceded her, when a night watchman reported hearing scrabbling noises coming from inside the coffin. A journalist, thinking it would make a good story, took a photo. But he got more than he bargained for when the photograph was developed and showed a human face. The poor man subsequently lost his mind and shot himself.
Time for the Unlucky Mummy to move on again. This time she was sold to an American archaeologist who planned to transport this Egyptian wonder back to his home country. With this in mind he arranged urgent passage on the next available ship…the RMS Titanic.