4,000-year-old Egyptian statue in UK museum moves on its own
London, June 23, 2013
First Published: 20:54 IST(23/6/2013)
Last Updated: 22:02 IST(23/6/2013)
Curse of the spinning statue! In some eerie news, a 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue has puzzled curators at Manchester museum after the relic started to mysteriously spin 180 degrees on its own.
The 10-inch tall relic, which dates back to 1800 BC, was found in a mummy's tomb and has spent 80 years at the Manchester Museum.
However, in recent weeks, curators were spooked after they kept finding the statue facing the wrong way. Experts decided to monitor the room on time-lapse video and were astonished to see it clearly show the statuette spinning 180 degrees - with nobody going near it.
The statue of a man named Neb-Senu is seen to remain still at night but slowly rotate round during the day, 'Manchester Evening News' reported.
Scientists who explored the Egyptian tombs in the 1920s were popularly believed to be struck by a 'curse of the Pharaohs'.
Campbell Price, a curator at the museum on Oxford Road, believes there may be a spiritual explanation to the spinning statue.
"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," said Price.
"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. The hieroglyphics on the back ask for 'bread, beer and beef'.
"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," Price said.
Other experts have a more rational explanation - suggesting that the vibrations caused by the footsteps of passing visitors makes the statuette turn.
TV boffin and physicist Professor Brian Cox who presents programmes such as the Wonders of Life, also favours this explanation. However, Price is not convinced.
"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," Price said.
"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?" he asked.
Price is urging members of the public to come along and take a look for themselves.
"It would be great if someone could solve the mystery," he added.