Talk:Curse of the pharaohs

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Paragraph 4 of "Opening of King Tutankhamun's tomb" refers to Sir Bruce Ingram/Ingham, and it cannot be both. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:48, 29 October 2009 (UTC)


Err, is the "If you say so, King Tut" comment below the image really appropriate for an encyclopedia article? It seems to ridicule the superstition in question rather than inform, either about the legend itself or the natural explanations of the events. (Furthermore, the article goes on to indicate that King Tut did not say so.) 17:11, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

I have removed the Conan Doyle reference. Unless it is referring to Adrian Conan Doyle, it cannot be true. In 1922, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a well established feller, around 63, well published, and died about 8 years later. I seriously doubt he was a cub reporter. - MJB, 23:17, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Well spotted. I've swapped the external link that gave that version of the story for another that includes Sir Arthur's involvement in a chronologically more logical way. Moral: don't believe everything you read on the internet. –Hajor 21:34, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't believe that. - DavidWBrooks 22:27, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
I have to agree that it is a superb moral that should be followed by everyone.Too many people rely on the internet for information, when really their brains would help them a lot more! JBeeldman 16:34, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Curse? What curse?[edit]

How can it be a curse, Carvarnon died from a infection, even if he had a infection, how could a infection kill someone, why was Howard Carter not cursed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 11:31, 28 August 2006 Another theory has been religion, and the consequences differ, but ahh folktale! Hi, I'm an expert on Egyptian curses - see my book "The Mummy's Curse: Mummymania in the English-speaking World" (Routledge 2006) and my recent amendments to several parts of the attached article. Being an anthropologist, I contend that the curse is a discourse in the Foucaultian sense (a widely held belief masquerading as "truth", with sociopolitical consequences). This is why its function, and hence that of mummies, has changed significantly over time, from something to threaten un-Christian tomb desecrators in the 19th century to something to entertain horror fans and children in the 20th century. A phenomenon that is caused by natural phenomena, such as bacteria or radiation, would behave consistently and produce predictable and patterned results - but the curse, being a discourse, is applied and interpreted in haphazard fashion. So some will say Carter defied the curse, so that it can't exist, while others will say that he endured a "living curse" of obsession with Egyptology (as per the film "The Curse of King Tut's Tomb", 1980). The latter is, of course, a highly subjective view but so is the former, for if the curse is not explicable as (exclusively) bacteria/radiation, then it can't be "disproven", any more than the existence of Santa Claus can be disproven (or proven). The curse is a discourse, and discourses are applied in whatever way suits the purposes of their users. I must admit a personal frustration that my study of the curse concept, which is the most comprehensive research on the subject to date and fairly well known in Egyptological circles, did not get much media publicity, such that even Wikipedia did not reference it. IMO I have "solved" the curse of the pharaohs "riddle" - namely that the curse is a discourse (with functions I explain in detail), and therefore all talk of its "reality" or ability to be "proven" is completely off the mark now that the entire ground of the argument has shifted. I have nevertheless tried to keep my modifications to the Wikipedia page neutral and to avoid dominating the discussion, although I think that a couple more of my own research points need to be mentioned and the subsection structure/titling may need changing if the "can we prove the curse is real or not" idea is also to be prevented from dominating the discussion as it presently does. No disrespect to the previous author(s) though; my thanks to the writer(s) for devoting a Wikipedia page to a subject that is elsewhere presented in highly subjective and unreliable terms. Dr Jasmine Day203.206.20.3 (talk) 19:05, 20 December 2011 (UTC) 21 December 2011 (yes, it took until now for me to find time to search for my favourite subject in Wikipedia ...) ;)

Subsequent to my above remarks, I have been told that I am "advertising my book". How can an author then reference his/her own work on Wikipedia? Aren't academic and expert contributors welcome? I wasted 2 hours of my time trying to make a contribution, to have it instantly deleted by somebody I can't even directly contact. I take the point about conflict of interest but if there's no provision for experts to cite their own work, they need not bother coming here. This was my first, and will be my last, Wikipedia contribution. Thanks for nothing. Jasmine Day203.206.20.3 (talk) 19:31, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

As a author with a book related to the subject I think the general consensus is that you discuss it at the talk page before adding it to the page (see here) OSborn arfcontribs. 19:52, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I made several additions to the article a while back using the books I had to hand but was unaware of Jasmine Day's work at the time. The edits she has made are uncontroversial and as there isn't much in the way of academic literature on the subject it would be a great pity to leave this book out - it shouldn't be interpreted as book pushing imo. I would also encourage a small addition to the article that expanded on her discursive model. As an aside, I don't believe the Howard Carter scenario mentioned above isn't so black and white for those who give credence to such phenomena, e.g Howard Carter did love Ancient Egypt and came from a very humble background and that the "power" behind such curses can discriminate between the things done in ignorance (the awful way the Kings body was handled, judged by modern standards) and those done for self-glory or through greed. I don't edit anymore so I will simply reinsert the deleted text. Yt95 (talk) 16:00, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi again, I was pleased to see that my contributions to the page have been reinstated. I take the point that expert contributions must be declared before inclusion (as a Wikipedia newbie with little time to spare for reading all the fine print I was unfamiliar with this point). But I'm relieved that Yt95 appreciates that 'The edits [I have] made are uncontroversial and as there isn't much in the way of academic literature on the subject it would be a great pity to leave this book out'. IMO there is yet more information that could be added to flesh out this page - not just from my own book but also from others' books - but for now the information there looks more balanced with a discussion of real curses, cultural beliefs, deaths attributed to Tutankhamun's Curse, etc. A major omission is discussion of the Titanic Mummy Curse, the most famous curse prior to Tutankhamun's, the many and conflicting versions of which demonstrate how popular myths "snowball" over time and develop local/parochial versions. If anything I would add material like this to the page, not remove much from it, although IMO too much space is devoted to a specious "curse" (ie. personal belief, not culture-wide myth) dreamed up by Zahi Hawass. This could be shortened and other examples of "copycat" curse stories in 1970s-2000s mass media included, with references (there are many tabloid stories, for instance). Interpretation of curses as scientifically explicable phenomena need to be contextualised with a brief discussion of the 1970s-80s mania for pseudoscience (eg. von Daniken, Vandenberg) and paranormal investigations (eg. In Search Of; Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World). The key is to provide an outline of wider phenomena like this that contextualise attempts to explain curses in recent decades, without getting sidetracked into lengthy accounts of these phenomena. It all comes back to my main point that the various ways of explaining curses, from magic in the 19th century to science in the 20th, point to the fact that the curse is a DISCOURSE, not a phenomenon per se. With this argument, the whole ground for discussing and debating Egyptian curses has shifted, making conventional "is it real or not" discussions outdated and way off the mark. Thanks again for considering my ideas. ~ Jasmine Day — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:28, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

I think your thesis is indeed worthy of inclusion but it should not be stated as a proven fact the same way that anything to do with religion (in this case acts of impiety) can be said to be solved conclusively one way or other. One of the Egyptologists named in the article (Arthur Weigall) did draw a distinction between those who entered a tomb to rob and those modern excavators who sought to preserve and entered a tomb with reverence - no harm ever came to the latter. He believed that in some mysterious way he spoke as a prophet when he observed Lord Carnavon entering the tomb that day in a somewhat flippant manner and made the "six weeks to live" comment. I would even hesitate to suggest that all scholars reject the idea of "magic", which includes curses, completely out of hand. Whilst none that I know have ever publicly given credence to its efficacy there are two 19/20th scholars that I have read that in private not only believed in it but used it which I find surprising. What I don't believe is that there is any consensus amongst scholars, not just Egyptologists, that impiety towards the graves of the dead never provokes ill-luck or whatever for the simple reason that many do have spiritual beliefs. (see also see how kindly they spoke of Dorothy Eady) Whilst magic decoupled from any moral considerations was practised in Ancient Egypt that was never the whole story hence the frequent pairing of Maat with Heka (god) and prayers that have survived by people who believed they had been punished justly by the "dead"/Gods for wrong doing. The incident mentioned by Zahi Hawass I found of interest through researching the texts from Deir el-Medina a couple of years and it was quite striking how King Amhmose and his wife were treated as strong intercessors from beyond the grave in a very similar manner to the way patron saints are appealed to by millions of people today. It was also an example of how the dead were supposed to help the living for the many who believe such things and that mummies, possibly contrary to Hollywood horror movies, were never regarded as conduit for curses exclusively. I also agree that the article would be improved by sections that deal more generally with the subject and that would include some context for mummification, e.g a short section on Osirian beliefs and burial practices and perhaps even a very short section on curses in general in the context of the Ancient Near East - remembering that they also appear in the bible which for many is an inspired collection of books. Finally I saw recently a documentary which showed a mummy being ever so carefully restored such that it looked as if it had been only just been wrapped and maybe it was no coincidence that such reverent treatment was being done in the Vatican Museum - all credit to them. Yt95 (talk) 21:42, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Photo Caption[edit]

I'm a bit confused--the article states that the text of the "curse" is not actually found inscribed at the entrance to the tomb (and implies that it was an improper news article), while the photo caption states that the inscription is in fact found at the tomb. Any experts on this? Bdmccray (talk) 00:32, 29 September 2008 (UTC) Yeah, that is wierd. Why didn't Howard Carter die if this "curse" is real?

Citation needed[edit]

I've put a "citation needed" tag on the following sentence: "Many tombs of pharoahs have curses written on or around them, warning against entering". I've done so because I've heard from several sources that this is not true; some claim there are no known engraved curses on ANY Egyptian tomb. Therefore I feel that if we are going to have this sentence in the article, it needs a reference. --Stenun (talk) 04:28, 2 April 2009 (UTC)


erm... I've removed the following entry from the list ===Deaths popularly attributed to Tutankhamun's 'curse'===

Octavian Augustus is credited with stealing Cleopatra's treasure, some of which may date back to pharaonic times. His mysterious death in 14 AD is possibly caused by a curse. Among the booty was a ring inscribed with the eye of Osiris which had brought along the curse.

Augustus died aged 75 - some 44 years after defeating Antony & Cleopatra... it's not a very effective curse if it takes more than 40 years to warm up, and then kills a man who had already reached old age... (talk) 13:34, 9 January 2013 (UTC)


I think you should have more supporting evidence as to what exactly makes people believe in the curse. You include some but i think more is needed — Preceding unsigned comment added by Taybrown (talkcontribs) 00:50, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

People believe in all kind of superstitions and curses. In the case of the tombs I would take that to be an ancient form of disinformation to make people stay away from the treasures in the tombs. Why do people think it is necessary to kneel and pray? They just believe this is right, no rational explanation needed.
What I find most fascinating though is that Carnarvon died only "4 months and 7 days after the opening of the tomb" and yet his family castle has got replicas of what was in the tomb, including the famous Tut mask. We saw it on TV, just a glimpse, looked quite impressive. Was there enough time for him to order all these replicas to be made? He funded the excavations, did he/his heirs get nothing for his investment? Some of the Tut mask is glass, other blue bits are lapis lazuli. While glass existed in Tut's time, it would be interesting to explore whether they could make these parts of different sizes. Just some thoughts, superstitions like curses do not need explanations. (talk) 03:16, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Tutankhamen curse inscription[edit]

The article notes Despite popular misconceptions, no curse was actually found inscribed in the Pharaoh's (nb: Tutankhamen's) tomb. I'm trying to track down the source for how this misconception began. I'm wondering though whether this statement isn't intentionally misleading. The claim I've seen made is that the curse was outside the tomb--not inside it. And indeed if your goal were to keep people out of your tomb by informing them of a curse, it wouldn't make much sense to tell them once they've already breached the tomb. (talk) 18:45, 2 July 2017 (UTC)