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While movies such as ‘Night at the Museum’ speculate in the imaginative idea that there could actually be life in the miniatures and artifacts displayed on the museum shelves, more eerie and much more real events than a cuddly dinosaur skeleton coming to life have been taking place at the Manchester Museum in England. The mystery of a 4 thousand-year-old Egyptian statue turning around on its axis completely on its own, has baffled museum staff and the public alike. The statue, which is about 10 inches in height, is of a man named ‘Neb-Senu’ and signifies an offering made to the Egyptian god Osiris.
The statue, which dates back to 1,800 B.C., has been on display at the Manchester Museum for over 80 years and has never shown any suggestions of movement – until now. According to Campbell Price, who has a doctorate in Egyptology and is the Curator of Egypt and the Sudan at the Manchester Museum, noticed around February of this year, that the statue was facing the back wall of the display shelf. This led him to wonder if the prayer for the deceased, inscribed on the statue, was to blame for the sudden activity.
A video which can be found on the BBC website, made by Price and other colleagues at the Manchester Museum for a period of five days between April 3 to April 8, documented how the statue turned only during hours of daylight. Price also commented that, “Ancient Egyptians believed that statuettes, such as these, could act as an alternative home for the spirits of the people they represented, should the body be damaged or destroyed.”
However, a more scientific explanation of the mysterious behavior of the Neb-Senu statue was given by TV physicist Brian Cox, who suggested the movement was a result of a ‘differential friction.’ Cox stated that the two surfaces, the serpentine stone of the statue and glass shelf it is on, cause a subtle vibration which is making the statue turn. Since the statue was observed to turn during the daytime, the vibration could be caused by visitors or heavy traffic outside the museum. Price also added the possibility of the statue being vulnerable to magnetic forces.
Egyptologists, as with most scientists, do not believe in superstitions, but is there more than just science to this mysterious and spontaneous turning of the statue? Is this some kind of prophecy coming true made by the pharaohs? We can only speculate, but perhaps the curse of the pharaoh is real.
Image credit: EgyptManchester.wordpress.com