News"The Pharaoh's Curse". An Egyptian expert explains what it is and how to survive

"The Pharaoh's Curse". An Egyptian expert explains what it is and how to survive

Zahi Hawass
Zahi Hawass
Images source: © Getty Images | Bob Riha Jr
ed. PJM

1:55 PM EST, December 4, 2023

Several months after the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb, those associated with the expedition began dying in a series of mysterious occurrences. This led to the birth of the legend known as the Pharaoh's curse. Modern archaeology, however, has debunked this myth, downplaying the notion of punishment for disturbing the ruler's eternal rest.

Zahi Hawass, the former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, disclosed the actual cause of the legendary Pharaoh's curse in the American publication, "The Sun." He also shared guidance on how archaeologists can elude such deaths. The Pharaoh's curse was supposedly meant to afflict anyone who approached the mummified remains. Violating the eternal peace of the ancient Egyptian rulers allegedly led to misfortune, diseases, and even death.

The curse is generally associated with Tutankhamun and the unveiling of his tomb in 1922. George Herbert, the co-discoverer of the sarcophagus and the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, passed away six months afterward due to a mosquito bite infection. Conversely, in 1923, George Jay Gould I, another visitor of Tutankhamun's burial site, reputedly succumbed to a fever. Several other men connected with the tomb also died under enigmatic circumstances. One of whom was Howard Carter, the person who opened the sarcophagus. Carter died at age 64 in February 1923 from Hodgkin's lymphoma, and his elder brother, William, passed away that same year.

However, Zahi Hawass asserts that the curse is merely a myth. He believes that there are logical, scientific explanations for the deaths of expedition members. Speaking to "The Sun," the preeminent Egyptologist said, "The mummy inside the tomb harbors unseen germs. Past archeologists, in their haste, entered the tombs immediately, thereby exposing themselves to these germs which subsequently attacked them, leading to their deaths."

The expert also revealed a simple strategy to avoid such a fate: "Just two weeks ago, I discovered a sealed sarcophagus weighing 25 tons, buried approximately 59 feet underground. The lid itself weighed over six tons. Two laborers began to open it on my behalf. When they lifted the lid, I allowed it to remain open for half an hour to replace the stale air with fresh air. After that, I bent over it, placing my head inside, and suffered no ill effects. And there you have it, the so-called Pharaoh's curse," Hawass explained.

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