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The Mummy's Curse

January 18, 2002

Numerous people have fainted in Italy's top Egyptian museum. Is it the curse of the Pharaoh?


The Egyptian museum in Turin has one of Italy's finest collections of antiquities from the Nile. But these days it's not the exhibits that are making headlines.

A number of people have fallen ill while wandering around the ancient Egyptian artifacts and mummies.

Three young girls were rushed to the hospital this week after getting sick. One of the nine-year-olds started to shake and burst into tears, another even lost consciousness. There were similar incidents last year.

Doctors at the hospital weren't able to determine why the girls fell sick.

No such thing as a curse

Anna Maria Donadoni, the curator of the Egyptian collection, however, is sure there is no such thing as a pharaoh's curse: "There is no poison powerful enough to make someone collapse in five minutes," she told Reuters.

The museum has undergone a battery of tests to see whether the air surrounding the ancient monuments was safe. But the scientists haven't been able to come up with conducive results.

Official investigation

On Thursday, the state prosecutor of Turin, Raffaele Guariniello, launched an official investigation into the matter. But Guariniello thinks there's a simple explanation to the mystery: he says the stuffy air in the crowded museum was probably just too much for the young girls.

The museum's Anna Maria Donadoni agrees. She says if hundreds of children are on a school outing to the museum, it's only normal that some of them may at some point feel sick.

Besides, she says, it can't be the curse of the pharaoh. After all, none of the museum employees has fallen sick. And they're around the mummies all day long.

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