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'mummy's Curse' Re-examined

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The infamous mummy's curse of Tutankhamen's tomb has little basis in hard science, research has found. The curse was allegedly placed upon all those present at the opening of the tomb in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt, in February 1923.

The legend is thought to have originated with the death of the expedition financier Lord Carnarvon, who died in 1923 after being bitten by a mosquito. He developed a condition known as erysipelas at the site of the bite, which resulted in septicaemia and pneumonia. It was said that Lord Carnarvon's three-legged dog howled at the very time his master died, and promptly also gave up the ghost.

Mark Nelson, of Monash University in Australia, followed up the personal history of all those present to see if they had indeed died young.

He established dates of death for all of those exposed and 11 of those who were not present.

He found that the 'cursed' group had lived slightly shorter lives - but still made it on average to a respectable three score years and ten.

Among the 25 people exposed to the 'curse', the average age at death was 70 years compared with 75 in those not exposed.

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