Everything You Need To Know About King Tut’s Iconic Curse And Where It Even Came From

Deaths Spark Hysteria

First, Lord Carnarvon– who sponsored Howard’s expedition– passed away just two months later. On April 5, 1923, he died in his hotel room in Cairo after getting a mosquito bite that caused a fatal bacterial infection.

So, with a media frenzy already surrounding King Tut’s tomb, papers also included their speculation that Carnarvon had died due to a sinister spell known as King Tut’s Curse. According to the curse, anyone who dared to disturb the tomb would be doomed to death.

And, of course, as this story made its way through the grapevine, more and more media outlets began to add fantastical details about Carnarvon’s passing. For example, some claimed that when Carnarvon died, every light in the city of Cairo dimmed.

This should not have been that shocking, though, considering how power outages were nearly a daily occurrence in Cairo at the time. Nonetheless, the public ate it up.

So, as other members of Howard’s expedition passed away throughout the next decade, their deaths were also attributed to King Tut’s curse.

The statistical probability did not exactly support this myth from the start, though– since Howard’s team consisted of twenty-four people, and only six died by 1934. Regardless, the wonder and fear of the possibility had society members in a chokehold.

Plus, it did not help that many papers also claimed that Howard’s team had spotted an ancient inscription above King Tut’s tomb that they chose to ignore.

“Death shall come on swift wings to him that toucheth the tomb of a Pharaoh,” the warning supposedly read.

But that fact just simply was not true. There was a message above King Tut’s tomb– but it was actually a spell from The Book of the Dead that was ceremoniously inscribed to ensure eternal life.

So apparently, many newspapers mistranslated the true meaning. And whether that was truly a translational mistake or a creative way to heighten publicity remains to be seen.

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