An ancient Egyptian statue has spooked museum bosses after it mysteriously started to spin round in a display case. The 10-inch tall relic, which dates back to 1800 BC, was found in a mummy’s tomb and has been at the Manchester Museum for 80 years. But in recent weeks, curators have been left scratching their heads after they kept finding it 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. Now scientists are trying to explain the phenomenon. Scientists who explored the Egyptian tombs in the 1920s were popularly believed to be struck by a ‘curse of the Pharaohs’ – and Campbell Price, a curator at the museum, said he believes there may be a spiritual explanation to the spinning statue.
Egyptologist Mr Price, 29, said: “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. 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.” Other experts have a more rational explanation – suggesting that the vibrations caused by the footsteps of passing visitors makes the statuette turn.