Much has been written about this particular mummy-case, and it has been said that nearly
everyone who had anything to do with it suffered accident or misfortune. Certainly Douglas
Murray came by a terrible accident when, a few days after he had bought it, he went on a
shooting expedition up the Nile and the gun he was carrying exploded unaccountably in his hand.
Murray lay in great agony while the boat was hastily turned round to return to Cairo for him to
have urgent medical attention, but head-winds of unusual force persistently held them up and it
was ten days before they reached Cairo, by which time gangrene had set in. Murray suffered
weeks in agony in hospital and his arm had to be amputated above his elbow.
Disaster also befell his companions, both of whom died during the voyage back to
England and were buried at sea. Two Egyptian servants who had handled the mummy-case also
died within a year. When the ship arrived at Tilbury it was found that valuable Egyptian
curiosities Murray had bought in Cairo had been stolen.
But the Mummy-case was there awaiting him. Whatever he had lost, he had not lost that,
and he said that when he looked at the carved face of the priestess which was upon it, her eyes
seemed to come to life and look at him with a malevolence that turned his blood cold. He
promptly gave the fatal mummy-case away to a lady, upon whom disaster immediately befell.
Her mother broke her leg and died after months of prolonged suffering. The lady lost her fianc,
who for no apparent reason declined to marry her. Her pets died and she became ill herself with
an undiagnosable complaint which wasted her away so much that she feared death and instructed
her lawyer to make her will.
The lawyer, hearing the story, agreed to make the will, but at the same time insisted on
packing up the mummy-case and returning it to Douglas Murray. The lady thereupon recovered,
but Murray, whose health was broken, wanted nothing to do with the accursed relic, and
presented it to the British Museum, which was presumably too impersonal and scientific an
institution to be affected by such superstitions as ancient Egyptian curses.
But, it seems, everyone who had anything to do with this mummy-case encountered
disaster in some shape or form. A photographer who took pictures of it, which when developed
showed living, malevolent eyes in the carved face of the priestess, died mysteriously a few
weeks later. Likewise an Egyptologist who looked after the exhibit while awaiting the
Museum's decision to accept it, was shortly afterwards found dead in bed. The Museum finally
accepted it and spent much time subsequently denying any stories of strange and unaccountable
things taken place in the Egyptian Section. Eventually they had it removed to the cellars.
Many other strange stories were told about this famous mummy-case. It was even said
that the British Museum presented the unwanted thing to the New York Museum and sent it over
on the ill-starred Titanic. But perhaps it is stretching things a little to blame the ancient
Egyptians for that particular disaster.