Back to Letterboxing

In Search of

The Curse of Tutankhamun

Placed: 6-26-03
Placed By: WWW (Formerly known as Chuck and Molly)
Location: Plainfield CT, Windham County
Rated: Easy

.75 mile one way, 1.5 mile round trip.

From interstate 395, take exit 88 onto route 14A. Route 14A is having construction done and a portion of it is gravel for the time being. Take route 14A East approximately 1.5 miles to take a right turn onto Spaulding Rd. Take Spaulding Road .9 mile. You will see Dow Road on the right. You should pull into the parking area on the left. Walk around the only green gate and start walking down the closed gravel road. I estimate the walk to the box to be about ¾ mile. Walk until the gravel road comes to a Y. Go right at the Y, 21 steps, to the first blue blazed tree on the right. The blaze is faded but the other side has two more blazes. Walk to the rear of the tree and take 3 steps. This lands you on top of a large flat rock which is part of the broken down wall. The tomb of the "In Search of The Curse of Tutankhamun" letterbox lies under your feet. The entrance is on the west side. Move the smaller flat stone standing on edge to reveal the opening. Stamp in, reseal the box and return the same way you came.

What is this stamp and what does it mean:

The stamp is what is known as a cartouche. The cartouche is a representation of an oval loop of rope which is tied at the ends. Inside the oval loop are the hieroglyphs which form the pharaoh's royal names. Inside a cartouche, the signs are mainly phonetic signs, spelling out the kings name, sometimes followed by a few signs describing the king. Snefru, builder of the Bent and Red pyramids at Dahshur, was the first to introduce the cartouche in the 4th Dynasty. The cartouche subsequently replaced the serekh, or Horus name in identifying the king. During the 5th Dynasty, Neferirkare introduced a second cartouche: the first cartouche contained his throne name, given to him upon his accession to the throne, and the second contained his birth name.

The king has two main names. The first one listed above is called his prenomen. This usually follows a word showing that he is King of the Two Lands (upper and lower Egypt). The other name is his nomen, or given name. My stamp consists of the two main names of Tutankhamen, with the signs showing that he is King of Upper and Lower Egypt, then his name (Nebkheperura), and then the signs showing that he is Son of Ra, then his name Tutankhamun (ending in three symbols saying that he rules Upper and Lower Egypt): To find out more about a cartouche, look at the following websites..

The Story of The Curse

The story of the curse of the tomb of king Tutankhamun begins at Luxor in southern Egypt. Lord Carnarvon of England and his American partner Howard Carter had obtained permission to dig in the Valley of the Kings. They began excavations in earnest in 1917. After 5 seasons of searching, their results proved very disappointing. This part of Egypt had been the most heavily excavated area in the whole of Egypt and the team debated whether or not to keep digging. It was decided to give the project one final season. One area they had not attempted to dig was so churned up by past expeditions that it did not seem worthwhile to investigate any further. The team ordered the removal of some unused huts and Lord Carnarvon returned to England. When the first hut was removed, a step cut into rock was revealed underneath it. Carnarvon was contacted and he convinced Carter to reseal the site until he made the three week journey back to Egypt. The tomb turned out to be untouched since the day the obscure boy king Tutankhamun was laid to rest. It is said that the Westerners had difficulty keeping the native workers together as waves of fear swept through them. The legend has it that there was an inscription above the entrance to the tomb which translated to "Death shall come on swift wings to him that toucheth the tomb of the Pharaoh." The facts show that there is no such curse over the entrance or anywhere else. The story of the inscription seems to have come from the newspaper reporters that were looking for a good story, even if they had to make one up. Carter was the first to peer into the chamber . The tomb was opened and ancient riches beyond belief were uncovered. The story says that on the day of the opening of the tomb, Canarvon’s pet canary was attacked and eaten by a cobra, a protector of the ancient pharaohs. The truth is that Carter had given it to a friend to watch, and she gave it very much alive to a bank manager. Again the curse story is untrue. While in Egypt, Lord Carnarvon had been bitten by a mosquito and then cut that mosquito bite while shaving. The small wound had turned poisonous. Two months later Lord Carnarvon died at the hospital in Cairo. As he died, the lights of Cairo mysteriously went off. Back at his home in England, the story of the curse says his dog at 2 o’clock in the morning, the exact moment of Carnarvon’s death, howled pitifully in the middle of the night awaking the entire household, then it laid down and died. Actually, around the time that Carnarvon died, the hospital lights did go out for a few moments but during those times, the lights in Cairo usually did go out without warning. In regards to the cause of Lord Carnarvon’s death, he had been in poor health for over 20 years following an accident in Germany. Less than two weeks after the official opening of the burial chamber, Carnarvon received a mosquito bite which became infected after he cut it while shaving. Carnarvon fell ill and, with his resistance lowered, came down with pneumonia and eventually passed away at the age of 57. The story of Carnarvon's dog’s death cannot be proven or disproved but since Egypt and England do not share the same time zone. The story would be more believable if the time of the dog’s death had been at two o'clock Egyptian time. The story of the curse goes on to other people associated with the tomb. Arthur Mace, a fellow archaeologist met a premature death shortly after entering the outer shrine. He died shortly afterwards also at the Hotel Continental, complaining of extreme fatigue. George Gould, a close friend of Carnarvon, traveled to Egypt to pay his last respects. He viewed the tomb and within hours, collapsed with fever. Radiologist Archibald Reid, whose equipment was used to test the age of the tomb, went back home to England, complaining of fatigue. He died soon after his arrival in England. The story continues stating that six years after revealing the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamun, 12 of the witnesses died. Within 10 years, only 2 of the original excavation team still lived. About 25 others connected with the expedition had died unexpectedly. Again, the facts reveal a different story. Egyptologist Herbert E. Winlock examined the evidence 12 years after the tomb's opening. Of the 26 people present at the opening of the burial chamber, only 6 had died within the next 10 years. When King Tut's sarcophagus was opened, 22 of the 26 people were present, but only 2 of them had died within 10 years. Only 10 of the 26 people had watched the unwrapping of the mummy and none of them had died within the next decade. Actually, many of the people who had the most contact with Tutankhamun’s mummy lived long lives. It is said that in more modern times, the curse continued. In 1966 relics for the tomb were to be sent to Paris for exhibition. Mohammed Ibrahim, Egypt’s director of antiquities had dreamed of death should they go ahead with the planned trip to Paris. He begged that the treasures be kept in Egypt. He was over ruled. While going to a final meeting in Cairo, Ibrahim was hit by a car killing him instantly. In 1972, Dr. Gamal Mehrez, successor to Ibrahim, was in charge of Tutankhamun’s death mask as it was being moved to London for exhibition. He had no fears of the curse. He had just finished overseeing the end of the preparations, and was prepared to leave the Cairo Museum. Mehrez slumped to the floor and died of circulatory collapse. Is there really a curse? Does it continue today? A good argument against the curse is the case of Howard Carter, discoverer of the tomb, and first person to look inside. Carter survived until March 1939, just short of his 65th birthday and nearly 17 years after entering the tomb, about a decade of which was spent working in the tomb itself. In modern times, there were many people connected with different aspects of King Tutankhamun and his treasures. Yet there are only a few incidents that are reported to have a connection to a curse. Judge for yourself the curse of the ancient king of Egypt, King Tutankhamun. Read more about the Curse of Tutankhamun at the following websites.

Before you set out, please read the waiver of responsibility and disclaimer.

Back to Letterboxes