Nimoy begins with a bizarre little story of a play called Akhenaten, designed to poke fun at the ancient Egyptians' beliefs and actresses from the play who defied ancient Egyptian legend by calling out the name "Akhenaten". According to legend anyone who did would be cursed. That night the women had crazy dreams, and one dreamt of being struck in the face by Akhenaten and awoke in the morning nearly blind. This is either a curse, a great coincidence, or great PR thinking! Nimoy thinks its a curse of course!!
History lesson time. But he's not getting into the Egyptians just yet. Instead he is going to talk about Highclere Castle in England.
This castle is the ancestral home of the Earl's of Carnarvon. In the early 20th century the Earl of Carnarvon went to Egypt. The current Earl tells the story (though judging by his appearance he is not the current Earl in 2015).
|(The Earl of Carnarvon)|
The Earl tells the story of his father in a rather creepy Vincent-Price-esque way. We are led to believe that he had been in a car accident and had weak lungs. His doctors told him he needed to go to a warm and dry climate every year. So he decided to travel to Egypt!
|(The Earl of Carnarvon who went to Egypt)|
The Earl was motivated by others to take up the hobby of "Egyptology". Figuring he would be there with nothing to do, what fun it would be to explore the ruins of ancient Egypt! So friends introduced him to Howard Carter. The Earl was pursuaded to pay for Carter's work in Egypt digging up treasures and artifacts of the Egyptians.
Despite the belief that the area near the pyramids had long since been picked clean by robbers, Carter was looking for the tomb of King Tutankhamun. After 15 years and lots of money, Carter finally found a stairway and a door that was still sealed in 1922.
|(Carter' photo of the unbroken seal to Tutankhamun's tomb)|
Carter sent for Carnarvon and waited patiently (probably impatiently) for his arrival to unseal the door. The room was filled with untouched treasure and the body of old King Tut himself!
The treasures were unlike anything the world had seen, untouched by the outside world for so long. Around Tut's neck was a necklace that was meant to be a warning to intruders. Also a tablet that is now missing supposedly said on it, "Death will slay with his wings whoever disturbs the rest of the Pharoah". Sounds like Carter and Carnarvon are in trouble! But they go ahead with their plunder, or historical research...
They soon find evidence that someone had been in the to,b after it was sealed and had somehow fled. Maybe robbers had been there after all, but were scared off by the curse?
Some images now of the amazing treasures while Nimoy tells us about Tut's reign as Pharoah.
Carnarvon left for Cairo with some of Tut's treasure. Unfortunately he came down with a fever from a mosquito bite and became very sick. He died there In Cairo. The first victim of the Mummy's curse?
Officially he died of pneumonia. But the Egyptian press decided to focus on the curse. They claimed he died because he disturbed Tut's tomb. Nimoy tells us many others would die shortly after visiting Tut's tomb.
Finally we are into the weird stuff. The Earl's son returned to England alone, but continued to experience strange events. The family dog died at the same exact moment Carnarvon died. Nimoy talks about the others who died after visiting the tomb. 22 deaths have been associated with this curse. Interestingly, Carter himself was spared the curse but no theories as to why are discussed here.
The relics recovered from the tomb were studied in depth at Oxford University. Historian Henry Lincoln talks about the relics while walking among them at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. As of this blog writing, Lincoln is still alive. A quick search, however, indicates he is known more for "pseudo-history" rather than actual history. Apparently his work provided some of the background for Dan Brown's book "The DaVinci Code".
In a sarcastic sneer Lincoln tells us how it easy it is to dismiss the curse of the Mummy. He then goes on to make a case for the legitimacy of the curse based on the Egyptian practice of sun worship.
"A new chapter to the mystery of the Mummy's curse opened in 1976 at the Paris airport. The occassion was an eerie State visit. The Mummy of King Ramses was arriving with pomp and cirsumstance due a chief of State. Something terrible was happening to the mummy and Egypt wanted France to help." The Ramses mummy was deteriorating and the Egyptologists in France were working to stop it. Some speculate a dangerous bacteria that lay dormant is now alive and at work on the mummy. This is also a creepy little story.
Nimoy next tells us that many of Tut's treasures will be on display in museum throughout the US in 1977 on loan from Egypt.
"If we believe the curse, we must believe something else. We must believe that in the end Tutankhamun triumphed over the priests of Amon."
Good episode! It wasn't as good as Bigfoot or The Bermuda Triangle, but it was much better than the other episodes so far. A little bit creepiness was here, played up nicely by Earl Carnarvon's son who could give Mr. Burns from The Simpson's run for his money and by the strange historian Henry Lincoln. It is odd that so many got sick and died. I like the dormant bacteria theory more than the curse theory though! Either way, its a little creepy and very interesting.
You can watch this episode "The Mummy's Curse" below.