Have you ever heard of a “screaming” mummy? It may sound like something out of a horror movie, but it’s actually quite a common occurrence. These grotesque expressions are caused by the relaxation of the jaw ligaments after death, when the wraps that typically hold the mouth shut loosen up. But why do mummies scream?
The answer lies in the process of mummification and the materials used to preserve the body. Ancient Egyptians preserved their dead by drying and wrapping the body in linen, a process that helped to protect the body from decay. But the wrapping process was often not tight enough, particularly around the jaw, and this would cause the mouth to open after death.
The other factor that could cause a mummy to scream is the materials used in the burial process. Ancient Egyptians would often use resins and natural oils to preserve the body, and these materials could react with the air and cause the facial muscles to expand. This expansion could cause the jaw to open and the mummy to appear as if it is screaming.
This phenomenon has been observed in many mummies, including some of the most famous ones. For example, the mummy of King Tutankhamun was found with his mouth open and his lips curling back in a scream-like expression.
So, why do mummies scream? It’s likely a combination of the wrapping process and the materials used in the mummification process. While this expression may be unsettling, it’s actually a fascinating part of the history of mummification.
Why do mummies scream?
Mummies are often associated with eerie, supernatural stories, with tales of screaming mummies commonly used to add to the suspense. The truth is, however, much more mundane. Though these ‘screams’ may be more accurately described as open-mouthed grimaces, their presence is actually quite common.
What Causes a Mummy to ‘Scream’?
The reason why mummies appear to be screaming is because of the way their jawbones relax after death. It is common practice for wrappings to be tied around the jaw, thus keeping it closed. As the body decomposes, however, these wrappings can become loose, allowing the mouth to open.
Why Do Mummies Have Their Jaw Tied Shut?
There are a few different theories as to why ancient embalmers would tie the jaw shut. One possibility is that it was done out of respect for the dead. It was believed that the mouth should remain closed to prevent the spirit of the deceased from leaving the body. Another theory is that tying the jaw shut was meant to maintain a sense of dignity and honor in death.
It is also possible that the practice of tying the jaw shut was done to keep the mouth from drying out. Without the wrappings, the skin around the mouth would shrink, creating an open-mouthed grimace. This could have been avoided by keeping the mouth closed and sealed.
How Common are ‘Screaming’ Mummies?
According to a 2009 commentary in the journal Archaeology, ‘screaming’ mummies are not uncommon. While these grimaces may appear shocking to us today, they were actually a normal part of the mummification process.
Are All Mummies Preserved the Same Way?
No, mummies were not all preserved the same way. Different cultures used different methods to mummify their dead. For example, the ancient Egyptians used a process known as ‘desiccation’. This involves draining the body of fluid and then wrapping it in cloth.
On the other hand, the ancient Incas of Peru used a process known as ‘capacocha’. This involved wrapping the body in layers of cloth and then burying it in a tomb filled with items important to the deceased.
Though it may appear as though mummies are screaming, this is actually an illusion caused by the relaxation of the jaw bone after death. This was a common practice among ancient cultures, who used it to ensure the deceased had a dignified and honorable passing. While the sight may be shocking to us today, it is important to remember that this was once a normal part of the mummification process.
What happens if you open a mummy?
A Look at the Mummy’s Curse
The curse of the pharaohs or the mummy’s curse is a superstition claimed to be cast upon anyone who disturbs the mummy of an ancient Egyptian, especially a pharaoh. The curse, which does not differentiate between thieves and archaeologists, is said to cause bad luck, illness, or death.
The idea of the mummy’s curse has been around for centuries and is often linked to the tombs of pharaohs and other ancient Egyptians. While the actual existence of a mummy’s curse is questioned, it has become an integral part of popular culture. Today, many movies and TV shows feature the mummy’s curse as a key plot point.
Where Does the Mummy’s Curse Come From?
The idea of the mummy’s curse is believed to have its origins in ancient Egyptian religion and superstition. Ancient Egyptians believed that if a person’s mummy was disturbed, their spirit would be unable to rest in peace. As a result, they believed that anyone who disturbed a mummy would be cursed by the gods.
Stories of the mummy’s curse were popularized in the early 1900s by British archaeologist Howard Carter. He and his team discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, and shortly after, several members of the team mysteriously died. This led to speculation that the discovery of the tomb was cursed, and the idea of the mummy’s curse was born.
Do We Have Evidence of the Mummy’s Curse?
There is no scientific evidence to support the existence of a mummy’s curse. While some people may experience misfortune, illness, or death after disturbing a mummy, it is often impossible to prove that it was caused by a curse. In reality, it is much more likely that these events are simply coincidental.
In addition, some of the supposed “evidence” for the mummy’s curse is actually misinterpreted or fabricated. For example, the deaths of the people associated with the tomb of Tutankhamun were actually caused by unrelated illnesses.
Is the Mummy’s Curse Still Relevant Today?
Despite the lack of evidence, the mummy’s curse is still a popular subject in popular culture. Movies, books, and TV shows often feature the mummy’s curse as a key plot point. While it’s unlikely that a mummy’s curse actually exists, it can still be an entertaining and intriguing topic for fiction.
The mummy’s curse is also a reminder of the importance of respecting the dead. Archaeologists take great care to ensure that the mummies they discover are treated with respect. They understand that disturbing a mummy is a serious matter, and they take their responsibility to protect the dead seriously.
The mummy’s curse may be a superstition, but it is one that has endured for centuries. Whether or not it is real, the idea of a mummy’s curse is a reminder of how powerful beliefs can be, and how they can shape our understanding of the past.
Do mummies still have blood?
The question of whether mummies still have blood has long been a source of debate among archaeologists, historians, and scientists. While some argue that mummies are simply dried-out corpses, others suggest that some of the components of their blood still remain, giving us a chance to learn more about the ancient Egyptians and their culture.
The answer to this question is not a simple one. In fact, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that mummies may indeed still contain traces of their former blood. In the past, researchers have found structures in mummies that resemble red blood cells, suggesting that some of the cells may have survived the mummification process.
Evidence of Blood Cells in Mummies
In 2017, researchers from the University of Turin in Italy discovered structures resembling red blood cells in a mummy from the Ptolemaic period (323-30 BC). The finding was based on an analysis of the mummy’s blood vessels, which contained both white and red blood cells.
The researchers concluded that these structures were indeed red blood cells, suggesting that some of them had managed to survive the mummification process. This finding was further supported by the presence of hemoglobin, which is a protein found in red blood cells.
This discovery was significant because it provided direct evidence that mummies still contain traces of their former blood. Furthermore, it showed that some of the components of the blood, such as hemoglobin, can survive the mummification process.
Preservation of Blood Components
The preservation of some of the components of the former blood in mummies is also supported by research into the mummified remains of an American Indian. In this case, researchers found traces of red blood cells in the mummy’s blood vessels. Furthermore, they were able to identify components such as hemoglobin and proteins that are usually associated with red blood cells.
The findings of this study suggest that some components of the former blood can survive the mummification process. This is an important finding, as it indicates that some of the components of former blood can be preserved in mummies, providing us with valuable information about the ancient Egyptians and their culture.
The question of whether mummies have blood is still a source of debate among archaeologists, historians, and scientists. However, the evidence suggests that some of the components of the former blood may still be present in mummies. This is an important finding, as it provides us with valuable information about the ancient Egyptians and their culture.
Can you get DNA from a mummy?
It’s long been a mystery whether DNA could be extracted from mummies. For years, scientists have attempted to extract genetic material from ancient remains, but with limited success. After trying repeatedly to extract it, many were convinced that the hot desert climate and, perhaps, the chemicals used in mummification destroyed any genetic material long ago.
The Breakthrough of Ancient DNA
Now, a team of ancient DNA specialists has successfully sequenced genomes from 90 ancient Egyptian mummies. It’s the first time anyone has been able to do this and it’s providing some fascinating insight into the history of the ancient Egyptians.
How Was It Done?
The team used a combination of advanced technologies to extract and analyse the DNA from the mummies. First, they used a special technique called PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to amplify the DNA from the mummy’s bone and teeth. This allowed them to create a genetic profile for the individual.
Next, they used a method called NGS (next-generation sequencing) to sequence the DNA. This allowed them to identify the individual’s unique genetic signature and compare it to other ancient and modern populations.
Finally, they used a technique called MSI (microsatellite instability) to analyse the DNA for signs of damage. This allowed them to distinguish between genetic damage caused by environmental factors and damage caused by aging.
What Did They Find?
The team’s research has revealed some fascinating insights into the ancient Egyptians. For example, they found that the ancient Egyptians were genetically distinct from modern Egyptians, suggesting that the population has changed significantly over the past few thousand years.
They also found evidence of intermarriage between different ethnic groups, suggesting that the ancient Egyptians were more cosmopolitan than previously thought. Finally, they found that the ancient Egyptians had a high level of genetic diversity, suggesting that they weren’t as isolated as previously believed.
Implications for the Future
This breakthrough is set to revolutionise our understanding of the ancient Egyptians. It’s also providing valuable insight into how different cultures and populations have interacted over time.
The research also has implications for genetics research more broadly. It’s providing a valuable insight into how genetic material is affected by different environmental conditions. This could help us to better understand how different populations are affected by climate change, as well as how genetic material is affected by aging.
Overall, this breakthrough is set to revolutionise our understanding of the past. It’s providing valuable insight into the history of the ancient Egyptians and has implications for genetics research more broadly.
What happens to a mummy’s eyes?
The ancient Egyptians believed in the preservation of the body after death, and this extended to their carefully crafted mummies. To ensure a safe passage to the afterlife, the Egyptians took special care to prepare their dead for the journey. This meant removing the eyes of the deceased and replacing them with shells, linens, or even painted onions.
So, what happens to a mummy’s eyes after death? The Egyptians believed that the eyes were the windows to the soul and, as such, must be prepared for the afterlife. This meant that the collapsed globes, with their dull clouded corneas, had to be removed. In order to preserve the eyes, they were covered in a mixture of natron and resin, a carbonate salt and a preservative. This preserved the eyes and ensured that they would not decay.
Once the eyes were prepared, they were ready to be replaced. The Egyptians used shells, linens, or even painted onions to replace the eyes. These artificial eyes were believed to provide the deceased with vision in the afterlife. The shells and linens gave the eyes a lifelike appearance, while the painted onions gave the eyes a more stylized look.
The preservation of the eyes
In addition to the replacement of the eyes, the Egyptians also took measures to preserve the eyes for the afterlife. The eyes were covered in a mixture of natron, a carbonate salt, and resin, a preservative. The natron acted as a desiccant and removed moisture from the eyes, thus preventing them from decaying. The resin acted as a protective barrier and kept the eyes in their original state.
The importance of the eyes
The importance of the eyes to the ancient Egyptians cannot be overstated. They believed that the eyes were the windows to the soul, and thus must be prepared for the afterlife. The eyes were seen as a way for the deceased to see and experience the afterlife, so the Egyptians took great care in their preparation.
The ancient Egyptians took great care in preparing their dead for the afterlife, and this extended to the eyes of the deceased. They removed the collapsed globes with their dull clouded corneas and replaced them with shells, linens, or painted onions—artificial eyes for the afterlife. Postmortem Egyptian mummy eyes were preserved with natron, a carbonate salt, as a desiccant. This ensured that the eyes would not decay and that the deceased would have vision in the afterlife. The importance of the eyes to the Egyptians cannot be overstated, as they were seen as a way for the deceased to experience the afterlife.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that the ‘screaming’ mummies we see in museums, documentaries, and horror films are the result of the jaw ligaments loosening after death. This phenomenon is not as rare as we may think, and it has been documented for centuries. It is thought to be the result of the wrappings around the jaw loosening and allowing the mouth to open.
It is interesting to consider the origins of this phenomenon, as well as the different interpretations of it. Some people may find it frightening or macabre, while others may be intrigued by the mystery. Whatever the case, it is fascinating to think about the stories behind these ‘screaming’ mummies, and all the other mummies that have been preserved for thousands of years. We may never know the full story, but it is worth appreciating the curious history of these mysterious ancient artifacts.