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Archive for Sunday, May 30, 1999

KING TUT - THE CURSE

May 30, 1999

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The Curse

By Brian Flescher

Special to the Journal-World

I am the ka of the long dead King Tutankhamen, or as people know me today, King Tut. I ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago and when I died mysteriously, I was placed in a tomb with all my treasures to live with in my afterlife. My priests set a curse on anyone who disturbed my tomb. My people believed that the ka was a spirit that lived inside them, and when the person died the ka came out of the person.

Howard Carter, a young archaeologist, after digging in the Valley of the Kings for two years, stumbled upon my hidden tomb with my treasures inside. Then, my curse went to work. On the day my tomb was opened, Carter's canary was eaten by a desert cobra. Later, they found a cobra, exactly like the one that ate the canary, carved in gold on my outer sarcophagus above my brow. I'm surprised they didn't find that earlier. Carter's right hand man, Arthur Mace, died of a breakdown of health.

Five months after they found my tomb, Lord Carnarvon, the person who funded the journey, died of a fever caused by an insect bite on his cheek. At the exact moment of Carnarvon's death, all the lights in Cairo, Egypt, went out and his favorite dog, a three-legged dog named Susie, let out a howl and dropped dead. While they were dissecting my body, they found a wound on my cheek that was in the exact same place as the insect bite that was on Carnarvon's cheek.

A short time later, Carnarvon's brother died suddenly. In September, 1923, an X-ray specialist died unexpectedly while on his way to my homeland to examine my mummy.

Carter's secretary, Richard Bethell, had an unusual death at the Bath Club in 1929. Bethell's father, Lord Westbury, never saw my tomb, but he had a small collection of Egyptian artifacts and committed suicide a short time later. An 8-year old child was killed by Lord Westbury's hearse. An American railroad magnate, Jay Gould, died of pneumonia after visiting my tomb. His pneumonia was caused by a cold burst of air while visiting my tomb.

Scientists tried to ignore evidence of my curse. Idiots. Some came up with explanations such as bacteria. Several explorers died of pneumonia, which can be caused by bacteria. Some thought my priests protected the tomb with poison. Other scientists thought the explorers died of poor medical care because there were no doctors. Some thought that my priests sealed radiation in my tomb. And most thought it was just a coincidence.

Although many people believed in my curse, some of the people who were related very closely to the finding of my tomb lived a long life. Out of the 10 people who witnessed the unwrapping of my mummy, none of them died as a result. Howard Carter, the person who found me, died at the age of 64. Lord Carnarvon's daughter died at age 79. Carter's mentor, Percy E. Newberry, died at 80 years old. Sir Alan Gardiner, who studied my tomb's inscriptions, died at age 84. And Dr. D.E. Derry, who performed the autopsy of my mummy, died at age 87.

As you can see, many people died when they disturbed my tomb. Is my curse fact or fiction? You decide.

Artifacts Found in Tomb

By Megan Heacock

I am King Tutankhamen. I was born more than 3,000 years ago, and died at the age of 18. On that April day when I died, my fellow Egyptians put me in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Hundreds of artifacts were put in my tomb to accompany me in the afterlife.

The antechamber was the largest chamber in my tomb. It held priceless artifacts used by me and other Egyptians. There were three wooden animal-shaped couches: a hippo, a cheetah and an antelope.

Four chariots of gold to be used by me in the afterlife were also inside. A wooden chest that held robes, sandals and other clothes was decorated with paintings of different wars I'd fought in. My throne, "The Gilt Throne," made of gold and other materials, and the guardians were inside the antechamber. The guardians, who look like me, protected the burial chamber.

The annex contained a lot of furniture -- such as daybeds and chairs -- baskets (used to carry food in the afterlife), tiny figures and boats.

The burial chamber was the most important chamber of all because it contained me. Inside was the golden shrine, which held my coffin within. There was also the double box holding valuable unguents (salves), the linen curtain which covered the second shrine and 11 wooden boat paddles to be used by me in the afterlife.

The treasury held the most valuable objects. One of the items was the god Anubis, a jackal who guarded the treasury. There was also a different golden shrine in this room. It held four fake coffins, each containing my internal organs. Selket, a goddess, appears as a golden statue next to the coffins protecting my organs. This room houses a model of the boat that transported my body from my palace to the Valley of the Kings. A solid gold figure of the king who ruled before me is also kept in the treasury.

These are just some of the precious objects found in my tomb. Of course, when the Egyptians buried me, they put a curse on the tomb so that if it were ever opened, that person would be punished. Lord Carnarvon will be your host. He is familiar with the curse of my tomb.

Layout of Tut's Tomb

By Vicki Bentley

There has been a loss in Egypt. The young king, King Tutankhamen, died mysteriously. He is buried in a cliff where only the first step will be visible after the tomb is sealed today.

My name is Ankhesenpaaten. Today I mourn the King's death by taking one last walk through his tomb. Join me as I tour my husband's tomb.

I come to the first step in a series of 16. As I am walking down the staircase I realize that each step puts me one bit closer to the realization of King Tut's death. When I reach the bottom of the steps I pause, knowing that this will be the spot of the second door.

Past the location of the door is the corridor. The corridor stretches out for 25 feet. It heads straight west into the second room of the five rooms known as the antechamber.

Where each room meets another room (with the exception of the burial chamber and the treasury) a door separates the two.

The antechamber measures 26 feet long and 12 feet wide. The objects that catch my eye are the two life-size statues that stand guard on either side of the entrance to the burial chamber.

I walk between the two guards. The burial chamber is the most vital room, for it holds the body of King Tut. The room itself is 13 feet, 2 inches by 21 feet. The walkway between the wall and the shrine, holding the body of by my husband is only 2 feet, 5 1/2 inches wide. The narrow space doesn't stop me from admiring the artwork on the walls, the only room with such decoration. So I stop to admire it.

Painting the gypsum walls yellow makes them look golden. The north wall has three scenes. The scenes are in order from right to left. The first is Tut with the priest, Ay, who is performing the opening of the mouth ceremony. This ceremony allows Tut to enter the underworld. The middle scene is Tut as pharaoh. At far left is Tut with Osiris, King of the Dead, entering the underworld.

The east wall has my husband's name in hieroglyphics and a picture of a dozen men pulling his shrine.

The south wall consists of one large picture of Tut entering the underworld.

The focus of the room is the west wall. It would take Tut 12 hours to get to the underworld, so there is a picture to represent each hour.

East of the burial chamber is the treasury. The treasury measures 13 feet, 2 inches long and 9 feet, 10 inches wide. It was named for its rich contents such as jewelry and canopic jars. I have now been through all but one room, the annex.

I retrace my steps out of the treasury, through the burial chamber, and into the antechamber. Through an opening in the southeast corner of the west wall in the antechamber I enter into the annex.

The annex is 13 feet, 2 inches long and 9 feet, 10 inches wide. The annex is used for a storage room. It holds items that King Tut will need for the afterlife.

I realize it's getting late. It's time to leave the tomb and let the workers seal the doors. I exit the annex then I go back through the antechamber through the corridor. I walk up the stairway, taking them step by step, and then say good-bye.

Tut's Background

By Jacob Gage

Hi, my name is Howard Carter. I am a famous Egyptologist.

I was born on May 9, 1874; the youngest of 11 children. My father was Samuel Carter. My first trip to Egypt was at age 17 in 1891 with the Egyptologist Percy Newberry.

I can sketch things from life very well. That is the main reason I was hired by Lord Carnarvon to dig in Egypt. I also taught myself to read hieroglyphics. I know very much about ancient Egypt, but I know even more about King Tutankhamen, also know as King Tut.

As a treat, I will explain what I know about King Tut to you.

King Tut's father was thought to be Amenhotep III. Tut's mother was Tiye. Tiye was not a queen of royal blood. Tut had six or more siblings. Tut's father, Amenhotep III, died around 1343 B.C. or 1344 B.C., at which time Tut's brother Amenhotep IV became pharaoh. But some think that Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV ruled jointly.

Once Amenhotep IV became full pharaoh he tore down all the statues, monuments and temples for all the gods but one, Akenaten, the sun god, which he worshipped. During Amenhotep IV's reign Tut's name was changed to Tutankhaten. By the sixth year of his reign, Amenhotep IV had also changed his own name to Akenaten, which he is commonly referred to and known by.

Amenhotep IV, or Akenaten, reigned for 17 years until he died, at which time Tutankhamen was 9 or 10 years old. Nobody thought that a small boy his age could rule all of Egypt.

Early in his reign, King Tut got married at age 11, to Ankhesenpaaten, his niece. King Tut hoped to lead his people as well as his father, who had led the Egyptians through great and prosperous times. King Tut built more temples, monuments and statues in his reign that any pharaoh before him. Tut's reign lasted for nine or 10 years. He was 5-feet 3-inches when he died. I believe he died in March or April because the flowers I found in his tomb only bloom in March and April.

I must get back to my work now. I am working on digging up the tomb of Ramesses III and it's starting to heat up. I think we found it this time. So please turn your attention to Lady Evelyn Carnarvon, Lord Carnarvon's daughter. Here she is.

Search For

and Discovery of Tomb

By Lauren Smith

Let me introduce myself. I am Lady Evelyn Carnarvon. My father is the famous Lord Carnarvon.

Now I will tell you of the discovery of King Tutankhamen.

Howard Carter, my father's friend, had extensive knowledge of Egypt. He met up with my father in Egypt. My dad was there because he was in an automobile crash and needed to be in warm climate and England was not very warm at that time of year.

My father found Egypt dull and boring. He had put money into many tombs. In one of his first he found a mummified cat and was very excited indeed.

The two men had decided to look for the tomb of King Tutankhamen as long as my father would pay for it, that is. They started in 1917, and so work began! The team consisted of 12 workers. In early 1922, Lord Carnarvon, my dad, decided to come back to England, but Carter decided to keep looking. On Nov. 26, 1922, all their hard work paid off. The tomb of King Tut had been found!

Carter immediately sent a telegram asking my father and me to come see the tomb. It took us two weeks to come to Egypt. It was a wonderful sight to see the great pyramids and the famous Sphinx.

As soon as we got to Egypt, I found myself at a large, dusty campsite. We all brought candles down into the tomb. The first door was almost like a wall of dirt. Carter was in front of the line, so he was doing most of the digging. Then he had dug a little hole. My father asked what he saw. Carter said he could see glint of gold everywhere. Then we entered the antechamber. Things were scattered around everywhere. The men were afraid that tomb robbers had stolen many of the artifacts.

After we had looked in there we secretly went on to the burial chamber. We didn't want people to know what was in the tomb so we carefully opened each door. I had to keep watch, though.

We went through door after door, each with a little piece taken out of them by robbers, but then the last door hadn't been opened! The King had been resting safely for over three-and-half-thousand years.

It took seven weeks to clear the antechamber. They carefully sketched all the items before removing them. It took five long, hard years to discover the tomb and 3,500 individual items were removed. At last on Feb. 17, 1923, the artifacts were opened to the public.

Now would you please direct your attention to Corbin Stillwell, Egyptian tour guide.

Tour of the Tomb

By Leslie Rhoton

Ladies and gentlemen, if you'll please stay together we'll start the tour. Down these 16 steps we will be entering something so outstanding, so amazing, you'll never want to leave. I'm now going to take you step by step through the rooms just as if you were Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon seeing it for the first time. All right now, one at a time down these steps and we'll get started.

The first room we will be entering is the antechamber. Notice how the walls are undecorated. At first you think it looks like an untidy attic or basement with things scattered about from long ago robbers, but the most important part about the antechamber is it's connected to the burial chamber.

Right this way. We'll go into the next two rooms, the burial chamber and the treasury. Keep in mind this is the order that Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter went through the tomb. Tapping down this wall right here from the antechamber into the burial chamber you first think you're staring at a wall of gold, but it is really a shrine. A shrine is like a box used to bury important people in. Inside the first shrine there are many more shrines, but in the final one is the king, untouched in more than 3,300 years. Between the shrine and walls you see eleven paddles and oars lying, so the king is able to row himself across the underworld.

The next room, the treasury, was also connected to the burial chamber. The treasury was the third biggest room and contained some of the greatest treasures of the tomb. Carter later wrote, "In the silence you could almost hear the footsteps of the departing mourners." After the treasury was inspected by its discoverers both rooms were cleared.

The fourth room and the smallest room, the annex, is the last stop. The annex showed signs of robbers everywhere. Carter could even make out a footprint of a robber.

Well, that concludes our tour of King Tut's tomb. I hope you have enjoyed it all.

The Curse

By Martha Penturf

For the people who don't know me, I will give some clues. My unfortunate death is one of the most significant reasons why people believe in the curse today. I was also paying for Mr. Carter's exploration of the lost tomb of King Tutankhamen.

Who am I?

I am Lord Carnarvon. As you listen, think and decide whether you believe in the curse.

The Egyptians have always respected death. There are many stories and legends about what happens to people who enter the tomb. One story was that the tombs were filled with poisonous serpents ready for anyone brave enough to enter. Others believe that if anyone entered the tombs they would encounter bats as big as people. Some stories tell that ghosts will appear at sunrise and sunset. It all sounds so superstitious. Is it?

There are many more questions about the curse than answers. For example, how could a curse 3,000 years old affect Howard Carter's team, yet Howard Carter wasn't really affected himself. Now, you tell me if you believe in the curse.

Ah, now let's discuss my death. It was one of the most mysterious and unexpected deaths of the search for King Tut. I was thought to die of pneumonia, but if you put the clues together you start to wonder if maybe it was the curse.

When I died some strange things happened in Cairo, all of the lights in the city went out. At the same time I died, my dog all the way back in England howled and fell over dead.

The strangest thing of all was that I died of a mosquito bite that became infected. When King Tut was unwrapped he had a wound on his left cheek in the same region as my wounds. Another weird thing happened before my death. A cobra, the same kind of serpent on King Tut's, brow swallowed Carter's canary.

I wasn't the only one who died possibly of the curse. Some of these people never even entered the tomb, but somehow have connections to the artifacts of King Tut's tomb. To begin, my brother passed away on a trip to Egypt. An X-ray specialist died on the way to Egypt to examine King Tut's mummy. An American railroad magnate died of pneumonia, the result of a cold contracted in the tomb. Ali Kemal Fahmy Bey was shot by his wife soon after seeing the discovery. Arthur Mace was Carter's handyman and suffered bad health as a result of a fall. A French Egyptologist died just after seeing the discovery. Richard Bethell, Carter's secretary, died strangely at the Bath Club in 1929. Lord Westbury, Bethell's father, never had seen the tomb, but processed Egyptian antiques. An 8-year-old child died after being hit by Lord Westbury's hearse. Maybe some of these deaths could have been coincidences.

There are many different reasons why some people don't believe in the curse. Some say fungus is why all the people died. Fungus in the tombs created the fevers. Others say it was deadly poison. Some ancient priest could have used poison to protect the dead. Bacteria may have caused the deaths. Mummies could spread germs causing the people to catch pneumonia.

Mind power could have played a part in the deaths. Many people know of the curse, and when they became ill blamed their illness on the curse.

Poor medical care or lack of it, could have certainly played a part in the deaths. The conditions at the site were poor and unhealthy. All the deaths could have nothing to do with the curse. They all could have been coincidence.

Not everyone connected to the curse died mysteriously. Several of the people closest to the tomb lived for a very long time. Out of 26 people who were there when the tomb was opened, only six died. Out of 10 people who were there when the mummy was unwrapped, only two died. My daughter, Lady Evelyn, born in 1901, and one of the first to enter the tomb, died at age 79. Percy E. Newberry, Carter's friend and mentor, died at a very old age of 80. Dr. Alan Gardiner studied the tomb's transcriptions and he died at 84. Dr. D.E. Derry performed an autopsy on the mummy. He was 87 when he passed on. Oh, of course, Howard Carter lived to be a very old man.

When you look at the wonder of King Tutankhamen what do you see? Do you see the unknown amazement of young Tut's life? Maybe you see the interesting layout and design of the tomb. You may find yourself attracted to the fascinating objects found in the tomb and how the Egyptians used them. Some of us may still ponder why all the people died. Was it the curse? The amazement of King Tutankhamen is endless and so is the mystery.

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