Egypt

The first victim of King Tut’s curse

April 5, 1923
Cairo, Egypt
George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon becomes the first victim of King Tut’s “curse”

Lord Carnarvon was a financial backer of the Tutankhamun excavation in 1922, and had been present during the original unsealing in 1922 as well as the ceremonial opening of the tomb in January 1923. He accidentally cut a mosquito bite while shaving in late March, leading to an infection that finally killed him on April 5.

Others who participated in the tomb’s opening also died or experienced misfortune in various ways, leading some to believe they were victims of a curse:

  • George Jay Gould I, visitor of the tomb, died May 16, 1923 of a fever
  • Prince Ali Kamel Fahmy Bey, visitor of the tomb, was shot to death by his wife on July 10, 1923
  • Colonel The Honorable Aubrey Nigel Henry Herbert, Lord Carnarvon’s half-brother (but did not actually visit the tomb) , became blind then died September 26, 1923 following a routine dental procedure
  • Sir Archibald Douglas-Reid, who x-rayed King Tut’s mummy, died on January 15, 1924 of a “mysterious illness”
  • Sir Lee Stack, one of the first visitors of the tomb, was assassinated in November 19, 1924
  • Anthropologist Henry Field was given a mummified hand with a scarab beetle bearing the phrase “Cursed be he who moves my body. To him shall come fire, water and pestilence” in 1925. Shortly after, his house burned to the ground then flooded when it was rebuilt.
  • A. C. Mace, part of the excavation team, died of arsenic poisoning on April 6, 1928
  • The Honorable Mervyn Herbert (Lord Carnarvon’s half-brother, Col. Aubrey Herbert’s full brother), financial backer of the expedition, died of malarial pneumonia on May 26, 1929
  • Captain The Honorable Richard Bethell, visitor of the tomb, was suspected to have been smothered in his bed on November 15, 1929
  • Richard Luttrell Pilkington Bethell, 3rd Baron Westbury, father of the previous victim of the curse and owner of several treasures from the tomb, jumped from his seventh floor apartment on February 20, 1930
  • Howard Carter, who opened the tomb, is considered the last victim. He died on March 2, 1939 from Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 64

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