A Suez Canal blockage disturbing global markets, two trains colliding with each other, a garment factory blaze and a residential building collapse all came hot on the heels of Egypt’s announcement that it would transfer 22 mummies to a new resting place, fueling a century-old curse of the pharaohs mystery.
On Saturday, Egypt will hold a “royal parade” preceded by a glitzy ceremony in the iconic Tahrir Square, from where the mummies will be taken to a newly inaugurated museum in Cairo’s old Islamic city of Fustat.
In March alone, a giant container ship stuck diagonally across a narrow stretch of the Suez Canal kept the world on its feet, bringing trade movement to a standstill for almost a week, while an accident involving two trains south of the country and a factory fire east of Cairo left dozens dead.
An alleged inscription found on Tutankhamun’s tomb that “death will come swiftly to those who disturb the tomb of the king” came to the forefront of amusing online talks that were interrupted by some skeptics seeking real and serious answers.
“Egypt is moving some royal mummies to a new Grand Museum with a parade & all .. word on the street is that the high winds & everything that’s happening now is the legendary pharaohs’ curse .. and i like this explanation coz its very exotic,” Ola G. El-Taliawi said on Twitter.
Some called on Egypt “to keep the mummies asleep,” while others questioned whether recent accidents are an indication that the curse has awakened.
“Guys, the curse of the pharaohs is no joke,” Usama Essam wrote on Twitter.
The mystery has its origins in the earth-shattering discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, the boy king widely known as King Tut, in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings in 1922. The death of a few members of British Egyptologist Howard Carter’s team in subsequent years and the alleged inscription reported by journalists at the time sparked frenzy.
Organizers of Saturday’s parade, which is expected to attract worldwide interest, made light of what some might deem an unwelcome distraction.
One of the organizers is famous Egyptologist and Egypt’s former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass, who has always described the curse of the pharaohs as “mere nonsense.”
“This is only speculation that people make and a misconception. Such talks will not do any harm to the parade. On the contrary, it will add to the excitement and interest surrounding the event,” Hawass told ABC News.
“This is not the first time that mummies are transferred,” he said. “In 1881, mummies were taken from Luxor and put in a boat for three days until they reached Cairo … and the mummy of Ramses II once had its strips of linen removed in front of khedive Tewfik (Egypt’s ruler in the late 19th century) and nothing happened.”
He added, “The curse is a myth, and the inscription they speak about is non-existent.”
Whatever the rumors may be, the 22 mummies are gearing up for a parade that might be reminiscent of their heydays in ancient times.
“Even if the curse exists, it won’t be activated on Saturday because the mummies know that they are going to a new place where they will be honored,” Hawass quipped.