Can you be cursed for going into an ancient Egyptian tomb?

You can certainly be cursed at, by archaeologists. The history of ancient Egypt, for example, is full of holes left by grave robbers, and remaining tombs are at risk from tourism and development.

Egyptians believed tomb inscriptions could confer either blessings or curses on visitors, and early visitors probably believed so, too.

Tomb builders wanted to encourage passersby to leave food for the dead or just to recite a standard ritual wish for bread, beer, cattle, and fowl, which, merely through the spoken word, would magically generate those commodities for the soul of the dead.

By 2000 B.C., standard inscriptions included both praise and blessings for those who recited the ritual and warnings cursing those who might damage the tomb or its images.

The warnings invoked condemnation and even outright slaughter at the hands of the gods of the underworld.

This was not an idle threat there was a clear understanding that the dead could intervene in the lives of people on earth.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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