King Tutankhamun and His Curse

Throughout history and religion, curses have shown up quite a few times. Some people claim their curse involves having bad luck. Others claim that they just feel like a negative feeling is looming over them, but what if a curse could kill you? What if a curse could ruin your life by simply messing with something that should be left at peace? Well, people who have messed with the tomb of the nineteen year old king Tutankhamun have experienced a curse like this, first hand.


King Tut was a young man, not even really an adult, when he passed away. His cause of death is not certain, but there are two main theories. The first theory involves him dying of malaria. The second theory involved him dying of weak bones that resulted from a brother and sister genetic impairment. They claim that it could also be caused from a war injury to the head, resulting in brain damage that caused an early demise. Even though these theories are not certain, it does give us and idea of what the young Pharaoh faced.

When any pharaoh of Egypt died, they were buried within a tomb with treasured items that they wanted to take with them to the Afterlife. They had their furniture, riches, jewelry, animals, and even their servants with them. King Tut himself had two bodies buried with him, but it was theorized that they were most likely his two children. In this, you can see how deeply the ancient Egyptians beliefs ran. Their closeness to death also played a role in their magic, which involved curses, spells, blessings, etc.

King Tut’s life was cut short, and because of this, there was not much he got to do in his ten year reign over Egypt. The most memorable thing he did was reform Egypt’s old religion that his father had set aside. After his death in 1324 B.C.E., King Tutankhamun disappeared from history, but was brought back when his tomb was rediscovered in the 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter. This is where tales of the curse of King Tut begins to form.

Soon after the tomb was discovered, it started to claim its victims. The first victim was Lord Carnarvon who commissioned the tomb’s discovery  This man died from a mosquito bite that was torn open while shaving, resulting in blood poisoning. His death occurred a few months after King Tutankhamun’s tomb was open, drawing press comments such as “the curse of the vengeful boy-king, King Tut” and “there is a curse placed upon his mummy”.

Now, we could just brush this death off, saying it was a coincidence, but his death was only the first. There were at least seven other deaths, and they all had some kind of contact with the mummy before their deaths occurred months, weeks, days, or even hours later. This only fueled the news stories more. The deaths made some people in that time fearful, causing them to avoid going near the tomb in an attempt to avoid the grasp of death.

The second victim was George Jay Gould, who only visited the tomb privately with Howard Carter. Immediately following his visit to the tomb, he became very ill, and he never truly recovered. He died of a fever a few months after his private tour of King Tut’s tomb. The third victim involved Lord Carnarvon’s brother, Audrey Herbert. He had nothing to do with the actual tomb and its discovery, but some say because he was related to Lord Carnarvon, he became blind after having no no previous eye injuries or diseases. According to doctors, it was linked to his rotten teeth. They performed surgery on him, but the surgery was his downfall. He died of blood poisoning (like his brother) just merely five months after Carnarvon’s death.

With all of these deaths happening, Howard’s team of archaeologists grew fearful. One in particular, Hugh Evelyn-White was so terrified, he hung himself before the boy-king’s curse could take hold. He was the fourth victim. The fifth victim was Aaron Ember. He was linked to the tomb, because he was at the opening, and he also was a close friend of Lord Carnarvon’s. Ember died in his burning house, trying to save a book that he was committed to writing. It was called, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, which fueled the curse more. The next victim was Richard Bethell, who had entered the tomb of King Tutankhamun after Carter, making him the second one to walk within its walls. He died seven years after the tomb was opened, but his death was an unlikely one. He died of respiratory failure at the age of thirty-five.

The seventh and final death victim of the King Tutankhamun’s curse was Archibald Douglas Reed, who had only x-rayed the body of Tut’s mummy to see what they could discover before he was sent off to be displayed. The very next day, he got sick and died within the week, succumbing to a sudden illness. He had no connections to the commissioning of the tomb, he had just merely x-rayed the mummy and paid for it almost immediately afterwards.

All of these people died reportedly due to the curse, but there were still skeptics. There were people who quickly tried to explain that it was not a curse. They also said there was an explanation for the death of each victim too. Even though it could be explained, more than just deaths occurred due to this curse.

For example, right after the time of Lord Carnarvon’s death, all of the lights went out, and his dog howled before falling over dead. Another example is of the death of James Henry Breasted pet’s death. He had come home only to hear that his pet canary had been eaten by a cobra. The cobra was a royalty symbol in Egypt, and all Pharaohs wore the symbol of the cobra on their headpiece. To them, it represented protection.

So with all of these deaths and bad omens happening to Howard Carter’s team, everyone wondered about Howard Carter himself. Howard apparently never succumbed to the curse, however. He lived a long life, and he died of cancer at a decently old age. This made people wonder about the curse and if it truly existed, but I will leave that up to you.

What do you believe? Is this curse fact, or just merely fiction?

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