Friday 13th is often considered an unlucky day, by those of a superstitious nature. I’m a bit of an oddball, however, and have always found it to be rather lucky – a day where good things happen. You would have therefore seen me sporting a t-shirt emblazoned with little black cats on the Friday just gone!
If you were a little more wary than me, you would have been quite freaked out by some of the great stuff I found out about when visiting a special ‘Curse of the Mummy’ event at the British Museum in London.
Completely free of charge, it was an evening filled with talks, crafts, activities and performances. A rather civilised affair, with the need to reserve your tickets in advance, it was calm and enjoyable. You could choose to expand your knowledge with a talk, or try your hand at crafts, or even write in hieroglyphs. All this you could do with a glass of Egyptian iced mint tea, or a mezze platter. A perfectly themed and well tied together evening.
We attended two wonderful talks – the first took us back to the 1890s, with clips from Egypt in early film. Including documentaries as well as comedies, Bryony Dixon from the BFI really took us back in time to see how Egypt looked a hundred years ago. It was great to see some of these old films and bits of footage from the archives – much of which I had never seen before.
The second talk was one which would give you the heebie-jeebies, and would make you think twice about getting too near to the British Museum’s ‘unlucky mummy’. It looks just like an innocent coffin lid, yet since it arrived in 1889 it has been the source of tales of curses, haunting and death. Many of those who dealt with it, moved it or insulted it even, died suddenly afterwards, or met with accidents (tripping down the steps of the museum after coming with the sole intention to mock the object for example) and other such misfortunes.
The story of Thomas Douglas Murray and the events since her purchased the object in Luxor in 1860s will have you wondering… is there really something to the stories? Roger Luckhurst of Birkbeck who was telling the tale so wonderfully, was a little skeptical. I think I would play it safe and be nice to the ‘unlucky mummy’…
Feeling like I needed a little protection from the curse of the ‘unlucky mummy’ (just in case), I went to make myself an amulet. Isn’t it pretty?
And not to forget one of the highlights of the evening – a reading from ‘The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903) by Bram Stoker. Read completely in character, by an Edwardian gentleman known as Captain Clements (Past Pleasures Ltd), the introduction was delivered in such a way, that in the space of just one sentence, we had the time period, setting and character history all laid out in front of us. It was a wonderful reading, full of mood and emotion. I feel compelled to go and read the rest of the novel (much less famous than Dracula but no less exciting).
There was still time to have a go at writing in hieroglyphs. Whilst my drawing skills are questionable, and my lion looks somewhat deformed, the papyrus on the right is my name, and an ankh at the end, just for fun!
A wonderful evening was had by all, and my husband said it was one of the best museum late events we have been to. The British Museum were asking for feedback to determine if they should hold events like this again in the future. And it’s a resounding – yes please!