Archaeology & History
Oldest known drawing of a ghost discovered
By T.K. Randall
October 22, 2021 · 1 comment
The tablet was created by the ancient Babylonians. Image Credit: US Navy
A depiction of a ghost dating back 3,500 years has been found deep in the vaults of the British Museum.
Stories of ghosts and spirits have been around for millennia - as evidenced by the recent discovery of what is thought to be the earliest known depiction of a ghost etched into an ancient clay tablet.
The faded drawing, which originated in ancient Babylonia, had been kept in the vaults of the British Museum where it had remained totally overlooked and unappreciated for years.
Part of an exorcist's guide to disposing of an unwanted spirit by addressing its woes, the tablet shows a lonely ghost being led with a rope to the afterlife by his female lover.
"It's obviously a male ghost and he's miserable," said curator Dr Irving Finkel. "You can imagine a tall, thin, bearded ghost hanging about the house did get on people's nerves."
"The final analysis was that what this ghost needed was a lover."
"Something that everybody knew was that the way to get rid of the old bugger was to marry him off. It's not fanciful to read this into it. It's a kind of explicit message. There's very high-quality writing there and immaculate draughtsmanship."
The image on the tablet had previously been missed because it is very difficult to see unless it is held at a certain angle. On the back, there is extensive writing describing the exorcism procedure."At sunrise towards the sun you make the ritual arrangements and set up two carnelian vessels of beer,"
it reads. "You set in place a special vessel and set up a juniper censer with juniper. You draw the curtain like that of the diviner. You [put] the figurines together with their equipment and place them in positionâ€¦ and say as follows, Shamash..."
Source: The Guardian
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