Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Manchester Museum bosses puzzled by ancient Egyptian statue Neb-Sanu which mysteriously turns itself 180 degrees in display case

Two Egyptian men stand by the Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt
Two Egyptian men stand by the Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt

Manchester Museum bosses have been left puzzled by the mystery of an ancient Egyptian statuette which - a video reveals - seems to turn itself around 180 degrees in its display case.

The statue of Neb-Sanu, which dates back to 1800 BC, was found in a mummy’s tomb and has been at the Museum for eighty years.

And now a time-lapse video (below) clearly shows it turning on its axis during the day, apparently of its own volition. During the night, however, it remains still.

Campbell Price, an Egyptologist at the museum, suggests the museum may have been struck by ancient curse.

He told the Manchester Evening News: "I noticed one day that it had turned around. I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key.

“I put it back but then the next day it had moved again. We set up a time-lapse video and, although the naked eye can’t see it, you can clearly see it rotate on the film. The statuette is something that used to go in the tomb along with the mummy.

“Mourners would lay offerings at its feet.

“In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit. Maybe that is what is causing the movement.”.

But he said Professor Brian Cox, who teaches physics at the university, has given a more worldly explanation: “Brian thinks it’s differential friction, where two surfaces - the serpentine stone of the statuette and glass shelf it is on - cause a subtle vibration which is making the statuette turn.

“But it has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before. And why would it go around in a perfect circle?”

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