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Here's a spine-tingling tale of the supernatural...

  T h e  M u m m y

Of all tales of the supernatural, this one is perhaps the best documented, the most disturbing and the most difficult to explain.

The Princess of Amen-Ra lived 1,500 years before Christ. When she died, she was laid in an ornate wooden coffin and buried deep in a vault in Luxor, on the banks of the Nile.

In the late 1890s, four rich young Brits visiting the excavations at Luxor were invited to buy an exquisitely fashioned mummy case containing the remains of the Princess of Amen-Ra. They drew lots. The man who won paid several thousand pounds and had the coffin taken to his hotel. A few hours later, he was seen walking out towards the desert. He never returned. The next day, one of the remaining three men was accidentally shot by an Egyptian servant. His arm was so severely wounded it had to be amputated. The third man discovered on his return home that the bank holding his entire savings had failed. The fourth man suffered a severe illness, lost his job and was reduced to selling matches on the street.

Nevertheless, the coffin reached England (causing other misfortunes along the way), where it was bought by a London businessman. After three of his family members had been injured in a road accident and his house damaged by fire, the businessman donated the coffin to the British Museum. As the coffin was being unloaded from a truck in the museum courtyard, the truck suddenly went into reverse and trapped a passer-by. As the casket was being lifted up the stairs by two workmen, one fell and broke his leg. The other, seemingly in perfect health, died unaccountably two days later.

Once the Princess was installed in the Egyptian Room, trouble really started. The museum's night watchmen became frantic after hearing hammering and sobbing coming from the coffin. Other exhibits in the room were hurled about at night. One watchman died on duty causing the other watchmen to quit. Cleaners refused to go near the Princess, too. When a visitor derisively flicked a dust cloth at the face painted on the coffin, his child died of measles soon afterwards. Finally, the authorities had the mummy carried down to the basement, figuring it could do no harm there. Within a week, one of the helpers was seriously ill, and the supervisor of the move was found dead at his desk. By now, the papers had heard of it. A journalist photographer took a picture of the mummy case and when he developed it, the painting on the coffin was of a horrifying human face. The photographer was said to have gone home, locked his bedroom door, and shot himself.

Soon afterwards, the museum sold the mummy to a private collector. After continual misfortune and deaths, the owner banished it to the attic. A well known authority on the occult, Madame Helena Blavatsky, visited the premises. Upon entry, she was seized with a shivering fit and searched the house for the source of "an evil influence of incredible intensity." She finally came to the attic and found the mummy case.

"Can you exorcise this evil spirit?" asked the owner.

Madame Blavatsky replied, "There is no such thing as exorcism. Evil remains evil forever. Nothing can be done about it. I implore you to get rid of this evil as soon as possible."

But no British museum would take the mummy; the fact that almost twenty people had met with misfortune, disaster or death from handling the casket, in barely ten years, was well known. Eventually, a hard-headed American archaeologist (who dismissed the happenings as quirks of circumstance) paid a handsome price for the mummy and arranged for its passage to New York. In April 1912, the new owner escorted his treasure aboard a sparkling, new White Star liner about to make its maiden voyage to New York. On the night of April 14, amid scenes of unprecedented horror, the Princess of Amen-Ra accompanied 1,500 passengers to their deaths at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

The name of the ship was the Titanic.


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