The Real Curse of the Mummies?

The modern curse of the mummies began with an event that occurred after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.  Legend had it that anyone who dared to open the tomb of a mummy would suffer the wrath of that mummy.  This was hyped when Lord Carnarvon, the person who funded the dig of King Tut’s tomb, died shortly after the discovery.  He was first bitten by a mosquito at night.  Then while shaving the following morning, he further aggravated the bite.  This then became infected and he fell ill with a high fever and chills.  A doctor was called in to examine him, but medical attention was too late.  He died soon thereafter.  Once Lord Carnarvon passed away, the media went wild with stories of his death.  They claimed King Tut was avenging the desecration of his grave and coined the term, “the curse of the mummy.”  Added to this belief were stories like the following – the parakeet of Howard Carter (the explorer who actually discovered King Tut’s tomb) was eaten by a cobra the same day the tomb was opened and the dog of Lord Carnarvon howled and dropped dead outside the house while his master died within. 

But medical forensics has now discovered what the real curse of the mummies was.  It is called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  Let me explain. In the year 2012, CT (computed tomography) scans were done on 137  mummies from different parts of the world who had been dead for at least 4,000 years. Scientists were looking for one thing, cause of death.   And what they discovered shocked them – that the number-one-killer of ancient man was the same as the number-one-killer of modern man, heart disease.  How could this be?  Standard medical belief has always been that only modern man has a heart-and-stroke problem, due to his sedentary lifestyle and high-fat diet.  Surely, scientists thought, heart-and-stroke ailments would be unknown to ancient man with his active-lifestyle and low-fat diet.  But the results show the same percentage  of heart-and-stroke deaths in 2,000 B.C. as in 2,000 A.D.

Now if the study had been limited only to rich Egyptian mummies, perhaps they did just sit around and eat red meat.  Or if the study had been limited only to Alaskan mummies, then their active lifestyle could have been offset by all the saturated fat consumed in blubber.  But the study also included mummies in Peru whose lifestyle was active and whose diet was agrarian.  Different weather climates, different food diets, different activity levels, but the same heart disease numbers.  The leader of the study, Dr. Randall Thompson, head of cardiology at the American Heart Institute, stated, “I think it’s fair to say that people today should feel less guilty about their heart disease and that we have greatly oversold the idea that a healthy lifestyle can completely eliminate one’s risk.  You certainly can’t blame the Big Mac or Twinkie for the 4,000-year-old hieroglyphics we saw on walls of men and women clutching their chests in pain and in the next frame, lying on the floor.”

The bottom line?  Lifestyle does not always keep us alive longer or always kill us earlier.  The Bible says,  

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.