In the British Museum in London, an ancient Egyptian coffin lid that belonged to a high-ranking woman is exhibited, to which multiple misfortunes are attributed. The most famous, having been the cause of the sinking of the Titanic.
The collection of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum in London houses a very special guest, a painted anthropomorphic covering of wood and plaster, which once covered the mummy of a woman, possibly a priestess of Amun Ra.
The object was known years ago as the ” unlucky mummy”, although in reality such a mummy does not exist, but is only a coffin lid.
The “bad luck mummy” is exhibited in a display case in room 62 of the museum and bears identification number 22542, measures 1.62 meters. It is painted in bright colors and covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions.
The female representation wears a wig, a large necklace and, most curiously, the hands are placed in a strange way, rising horizontally from her chest and with the palms facing out. The piece dates from the end of the XXI dynasty (950-900 BC).
A cursed piece
But why was it given such a dire name? It seems that this priestess, who has a bad habit of hanging around the museum at night, is credited with a thousand and one misfortunes that occurred to her successive owners and to those who tried to tell the story of her evils, including some intrepid reporter.
Characters of the stature of Yeats, Conan Doyle or Henry Rider Haggard made reference to the “mummy of bad luck”, and even a newspaper as respected as The Times published in 1921 an article about her.
The object was acquired from grave robbers by a certain Thomas Douglas Murray, a member of a group of English travelers who was in Thebes between 1860 and 1870.
The trip back to London with the object was anything but quiet. Both Murray and his companions suffered various disasters: one went into the desert and never reappeared, another lost an arm due to the accidental shooting of a servant.
In the end, the object ended up in the hands of Mrs. Warwick Hunt, sister of one of the victims of the priestess’s evil action.
But the inhabitants of her house also began to suffer a series of misfortunes, so she decided to donate the object to the British Museum in 1889.
In the museum it continued to cause disasters, some of them less important such as the falls of tourists, but others as terrible as the deaths of a photographer who tried to take an image of the object or that of the journalist Bertram Fletcher Robinson, who died in 1907 due to fever that some said was caused by the mummy, since the reporter had dared to disclose its alleged curses.
Accused of sinking the Titanic
But the most fascinating story surrounding this piece is the one that it claims was the cause of the sinking of the Titanic, jewel of the White Star shipping company, which sank in the North Atlantic on April 12, 1912. How did such a story arise?
The legend about a cursed mummy on the ship was reportedly released by journalist and spiritist William T. Stead, who was traveling aboard the Titanic (and did not survive).
Reunited with other travelers in the smoking lounge, he recounted a scary tale starring the exploits of the cursed mummy, adding that it was traveling aboard the ship, sent by its new owner, an American billionaire, to his country.
But there is still more after the sinking, another incredible story emerged about the adventures of the “mummy of bad luck”.
According to this, the object floated and was collected by a salvametno company that took it to the USA and tried to return it to its owner, who was in London.
But the ship carrying the “bad luck mummy” back to England, the Empress of Ireland, also sank, and the coffin was again retrieved from the waters. But the tragedies would not end here.
The mummy was handed over to Emperor Wilhelm in Germany, and shortly afterwards the First World War began.
Obviously, all kinds of information are mixed around the coffin cover of the supposed priestess of Amun Ra, some true, other rumors and most of all nonsense, but it is part of the tradition about the curses of ancient Egyptian mummies, so of the taste of the time.
In any case, there is no trace of the amulet that according to some rumors she wore in her head and prayed like this: “Wake up from your prostration and the ray of your eyes will annihilate all those who want to take possession of you.”
The beautiful coffin in room 62 of the British Museum continues to observe visitors with its half smile and friendly expression, and it has been a long time since any disaster among the thousands of tourists who visit the British Museum every day.
In fact, most pass in front of the “bad luck mummy” and don’t even stop to take a cursory glance …
Source: Carme Mayans, national geographic