peru, mummy, moesgaard museum, de etnografiske samlinger, ethnography, collections, museum, aarhus, denmark, halloween

Halloween special: The Mummy from Moesgaard*

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South America

Death is viewed much differently today than it was in the past: we rush to close the coffin containing the remains of a loved one and try to deny the fact that we are all going to die. But as a museum containing the remains of ancient societies, death is always present in the exhibition halls of Moesgaard Museum and in the vast collection stored away in the dark rooms underneath the old manor house. The museum exhibition contains several artifacts from ancient post-mortem rituals. One of these artifacts is the Peruvian mummy collected by Jørgen Bitsch; an infamous treasure hunter and explorer. It is said that Bitsch was cursed by the mummy and that the first museum curators who touched the mummy was affected by a quick-acting leprosy-like rotting curse called “mummy rot”. When the mummy was briefly exhibited in a special exhibition some years ago, strange noises and smells were reported in the area around the mummy, and several museum guests reported that they saw the mummy move out of the corner of their eyes. For this reason the mummy will never been put on display again of fear that the mummy will curse the museum guests. A team of archeological and anthropological researchers has the last two years begun to investigate and examine the mummy in order to scientifically determine the course of the curse. But so far without any resolve.

Perhaps their scientific arrogance became too pronounced and their persistent denial of the spiritual. For it is as if the cold and the damp is spreading from the basement of Moesgaard to the rest of the museum. Tiny signs of fatigue in the solid, modern edifice has started to show and no one ever walks alone in the basement of Moesgaard anymore.

//Malthe Barnkob Lehrmann

* Today we have departed from the world of fact, and added some extra colour (and horror) to our blog post (or have we…???). Happy Halloween from the ethnographica.net-crew!

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