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The Secrets of Mummies

Egyptian Mummies at the British Museum

Mummies have been found in many places besides Egypt. Some mummies have been found in peat bogs in Sweden and others have been found trapped under ice. There are also Native American mummies that have been discovered in the Western United States and some in South America. Not all mummies are as famous as the manmade ones found in Egypt.

The Pharaohs were the first to have their bodies made into mummies after they died. This was done so that their spirit would still have a home after death until the spirit decided to go to the Land of the Dead. Some of the rich citizens had their bodies made into mummies when they died so they could go to the same place that the Pharaohs went.

The Egyptians believed that the Land of the Dead was a place that they could continue the same life that they had on Earth. This is why the mummies were buried with all kinds of treasures. The people wanted to be sure that they would have all the things they needed in their new afterlife.

Creating mummies was a very long process. It took almost 3 months to make one mummy. The Egyptians in ancient times did not care about the brain and they would remove it from the body. They were very careful to protect the heart because they thought that people thought and felt with the heart.

Hundreds and hundreds of long pieces of white linen was used to wrap a mummy. Sometimes mummies are found that look like giant bundles of cloth instead having the shape of a person. Special oil was used to make the cloths stick together and priests would place charms for good luck on different layers of the cloth.

The coffins were usually made of wood and some mummies had more than one coffin. If multiple coffins were used, each one fit inside another coffin just like nesting dolls. Wreaths of fresh flowers were placed inside the coffin just before it was sealed and women mummies had a wig placed in their coffin to wear in their new life.

Many mummies were buried with carved wooden figures of slaves. Some carved figures appeared to be baking bread and others might be shown working in a wooden garden. These wooden figures were used instead of real people, thank goodness. It was believed that the carved figures would magically come to life in the Land of the Dead. At one time real servants and slaves were buried in the tomb with the mummy. The Egyptians believed that the dead person would need these people to help them in their new life.

Robbing the mummies of their jewels is nothing new and it has been going on for a long time. Sometimes the mummies were destroyed by the robbers because they believed that the mummies had magic powers. One mummy seemed to have special powers. In 1944, a robber tried to take some treasures from an Egyptian tomb and a loose stone fell from the ceiling and killed him when it hit him on the head. Was it the power of the mummy at work?

In the Middle Ages, a lot of mummies were destroyed because of superstition. People thought that ground up “mummy powder” could cure almost anything. They would buy this powder (Yuck!) and rub it on their gums, bellies, and faces. Any place that they had a pain they would use mummy powder in hopes of taking the pain away. Some people even ate the powder as a way to cure a “tummy ache”.

A man named Dr. TJ Pettigrew lived in London, England in the 1830s and he would buy mummies and then sell tickets to people who wanted to watch him as he unwrapped these bodies. Many of the mummies were broken and destroyed as he used saws, chisels, and hammers to unwrap them.

This is an original news article © The Kids Window

We have a selection of Egyptian dressing up clothes available to buy inside.

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