Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles By now, many ancient Egyptian practices have worked their way into horror movies. Mummified remains, underground burial chambers, and ancient curses are all well-known tropes, all designed to scare the audience. But the real history of Egypt offers up so much more than Hollywood does… and, in some cases, some especially disturbing details. This is Unveiled, and today we're taking a closer look at the most terrifying discoveries from ancient Egypt. Do you need the big questions answered? Are you constantly curious? Then why not subscribe to Unveiled for more clips like this one? And ring the bell for more thought-provoking content! Welcome to ancient Egypt, one of the oldest recorded civilizations in the world. During its time, there were countless tools invented, breakthroughs made, and structures built, some of which remain standing today, mysterious and magnificent. While there's a lot we do know about the Egyptians, however, there's a lot more that we don't. For one, while it's thought that magic and curses played a large part in the culture, it's not as though we've ever been able to tap into that magic (if it did exist) today. The secrets are lost. It's one reason why modern research is so interested in the Egyptian approach to death and the afterlife, particularly as there have been so many well preserved bodies uncovered thanks to Egyptian burial practices. In some ways, the mummification process itself is already a little unsettling. Mummification went through a number of evolutions in ancient times, but the main point was always to preserve the bodies, usually of the pharaohs, as much as possible. The process took around 70 days to complete and it began with the removal of the organs from the recently deceased. Most were taken through an incision in the side of the body. In many cases, only the heart was left in and untouched. The brain was at times pulled out through the nostrils using a uniquely macabre hooked instrument. The body was then salt dried and wrapped in hundreds of yards of linen. The organs weren't just discarded, however. Thanks to records from the time, plus accounts from early explorers and tomb raiders, we know that tombs were further decorated with canopic jars - and that the organs were kept inside them. Canopic jars came in sets of four, and the tops of them were often adorned with the carved faces of the four sons of Horus - who were said to watch over the organs. The jar of Hapi (one of the sons) traditionally contained the lungs; inside Duamutef, the stomach; the Imsety jar contained a person's liver; and the jar of Qebehsenuef was filled with their intestines. While practices did change over time - including a later shift toward putting the organs back into the body post-embalming - for centuries it was not unusual for wrapped mummies to be surrounded by organ jars filled with their own insides. While much depended upon the status you achieved in life, your burial room could be extremely large. As such, canopic jars weren't the only accessories that pharaohs (and the like) were buried with. One of the more eerie items in many tombs were the lifelike dolls, called Ushabti, made specifically to watch over the dead. These figures could be simple stone pieces, or they might be more ornate, multi-colored and sometimes uncanny representations of real, mortal people. It was said that they possessed souls of their own, which then became servants for the deceased as they moved into the afterlife. Ushabti, along with scarabs, are some of the most common ancient relics found in Egypt. They were a staple of burial chambers, then, with the wealthiest tombs sometimes packed full of them. At the top end, it's said that Pharaoh Taharqa (who ruled from 690 to 664 BCE) had more than 1,000 Ushabti figures lining the walls and floors around him, keeping guard. To ensure the loyalty of the dolls, they also had commands lifted from the Egyptian “Book of the Dead” carved into their bodies, as well as (sometimes) the name of their ward. In truth, though, Ushabti might actually have been a replacement for an even more terrifying practice in the earliest years of ancient Egypt; human sacrifice. Some scholars believe that the dolls were brought in as an alternative to leaving living humans inside the tombs of the dead… something which, records suggest, did at one time happen. During the First Dynasty of Egypt, it's thought that (in some cases) servants were killed as soon as their ruler died, so that they could immediately continue to serve them in the afterlife. Of all tomb discoveries in modern history, however, none is quite so famous as when, in 1922, the archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamun. Inside, Carter and his team found many great relics including jewels, solid gold cases, weapons, and statues. There were a couple more outwardly terrifying aspects to the discovery, however. One of the most unsettling of all began with the finding of a small, plain wooden box reportedly uncovered in a corner of the treasury room of King Tut's burial complex. Inside the box were two small coffins covered in black resin with only the words “The Osiris” marked on the outside - referring to the god of the dead, of resurrection, and of fertility. Inside the coffins were two infant mummies who, according to some theories, may not have survived their own birth. The mummies are believed to be Tutankhamun's daughters. The exact circumstances surrounding their deaths are unknown, while their presence in the chamber remains difficult to explain. More broadly, a sense of foreboding has long been attached to the discovery and exploration of this particular tomb. Some believe that Carter and company genuinely let loose an ancient curse when they decided to go rooting around. A number of deaths have supposedly been linked to the curse, close to the site and among those involved. For example, upon finding the tomb, Carter had been with an investor and friend known as Lord Carnarvon. A couple months after opening it up, though, Lord Carnarvon died from an infected mosquito bite. It's believed by some that Carter, Carnarvon, and others were intruders, that they had defiled a sacred resting place, and that there is (and was) a price to pay. In actuality, researchers never found a written curse within the tomb of Tutankhamun itself… but there have been other instances. Such as in 2020, when explorers actually did find definitely cursed remains. According to reports, a team had been working in Saqqara, an ancient Egyptian city of the dead, when they stumbled across a thirty-foot deep vertical shaft leading all the way down into a megatomb. Bones littered the floor, and coffins were stacked on top of each other. This was something of a mass grave, and one of the largest ever discovered in Egypt. Archaeologists soon began opening up the coffins, to check for the mummies inside… but, as well as preserved bodies, this time they really did find actual curses written for whoever disturbs the dead held within. One allegedly warned that the defiler would be haunted by visions of ghosts forever more. Another threatened to wring the neck of its disturber, like a goose. What's your verdict here? Do you believe in curses? And, whether you do or you don't, how would you feel to actually unearth one from a long-dead, ancient world? Today, the initial discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb was more than 100 years ago. And many of the most major Ancient Egyptian sites have been under study for decades. But, ultimately, researchers believe that there's still so much more out there, waiting to be found - particularly around the sites of major Pyramids and in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb of Antony and Cleopatra has never been located, nor has that of King Ramesses the Eighth, nor Queen Nefertiti (although there are mounting claims). These are all huge figures in history, but could there yet be another chapter to their story, buried with them, waiting to be found? For the most part, there's an unending sense of wonder whenever we pick up the search again. But, amongst all of that, there's always the possibility that the next thing we find could be seriously scary. From coffins to curses, stored organs to staring Ushabti, those are some of the most terrifying discoveries from ancient Egypt. What do you think? 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