They've Figured Out the Cause of the Suez Canal Crisis: A Pharoah's Curse

SUEZ CANAL AUTHORITY. Shutterstock Images.

We spent a whole week talking about the chaos at the Suez Canal. We wondered why they couldn't find a solution. Speculated about what it would do to the world economy. Debated what the impact would be if they couldn't get that ship unstuck. Panicked about that massive cargo of precious dildos and vibrators. I heard it discussed [pun altert] stem to stern, from every angle, in all regards except one. 


How is it that a cargo ship designed for the very purpose of floating a heavy load of goods through one of the most navigated waterways in the history of the planet suddenly got lodged like a bone in the throat of the world economy all of a sudden? Why this ship? Why now, an not one of the other millions or so boats that flow through the Suez without incident? 

Thankfully, someone came up with the most logical answer possible:

Source -  A SERIES of unfortunate incidents in Egypt including the Suez Canal chaos and a train crash that killed 32 have been pinned on the so-called curse of the Pharaohs by superstitious social media users.

In the last week, a number of travesties have plagued the country - all since it was announced 22 mummies would be transferred to a new museum, including the remains of King Ramesses II.

Shortly after news of the transfer, a megaship became stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking the major shipping route in both directions for almost a week. …

While many would put this down to a run of unbelievable bad luck, others are blaming an ancient curse believed to be inscribed on Tutankhamun's tomb, which reads "Death will come on quick wings for those who disturb the king’s peace", reports Arab News.

Social media users have been quick to pick up on the legend and believe the planned transfer is to blame for the disasters.

The curse, which is said to not differentiate between thieves and archaeologists, is claimed to cause bad luck, illness or death on anyone who disturbs the mummies of ancient Egypt.

I am not a big curse guy. I never was. Even in the depths of despair involving the pre-2004 Red Sox, I always took the "Curse of the Bambino" nonsense as just pretentious bullshit by people in cardigan sweaters who read George F. Will baseball books. And I was in the damned HBO documentary. Those twats who went diving to retrieve Babe Ruth's piano out of a pond in Sudbury embarrassed us all. Same with Cubs goats and any other weak sauce the simple-minded believe in to excuse their own franchise's failures.

That said, there are curses you take lightly at your own peril. If I'm in a small village in Central Europe and a beggar woman asks me for help, you can be goddamned sure I'm not dismissing her. Because she's probably in the 20th generation of her family to have mastered the art of making your testicles fall off with some dried herbs and an incantation. There are ancient powers beyond our reckoning. And they don't come any ancienter or more powerful than old rulers warning people not to disturb their graves or bad juju will befall them. 

Take, for instance, the most famous of them all, the Curse of King Tut's Tomb:

History Today - Late in 1922 the British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, who died in 1323 BC aged about 18, in the Valley of the Kings, across the Nile from Luxor in Egypt. Pharaohs had been buried there from the 16th to the 11th centuries BC. Most of the tombs had been plundered from early times and Tutankhamun’s was the first to be found almost entirely undisturbed. The 5th Earl of Carnarvon, a keen amateur Egyptologist who was financing the project, joined Carter and his team to enter the burial chambers. …

[D]eaths in succeeding years of various members of Carter’s team and real or supposed visitors to the site kept the story alive, especially in cases of death by violence or in odd circumstances. Alleged victims of the curse included Prince Ali Kamel Fahmy Bey of Egypt, shot dead by his wife in 1923; Sir Archibald Douglas Reid, who supposedly X-rayed the mummy and died mysteriously in 1924; Sir Lee Stack, the governor-general of the Sudan, who was assassinated in Cairo in 1924; Arthur Mace of Carter’s excavation team, said to have died of arsenic poisoning in 1928; Carter’s secretary Richard Bethell, who supposedly died smothered in his bed in 1929; and his father, who committed suicide in 1930.

Carter himself called shenanigans on any talk about curses, dismissing it as "tommy rot." Right up until he died horribly of Hodgkin's disease. No one knows if he'd changed his mind on the whole curse business, since dropped dead cold and alone in his appropriately crypt-like London apartment.

But if I'm talking ancient curses from powerful rulers like Ramesses II, I'm going straight to my personal favorite, the one by Tamerlane. Or Timur, to his friends. He was a Mongol conqueror who was buried in what is now Uzbekistan.

Documentary Tube - Timur was one of the most ruthless invaders in the history of mankind. He assumed the title of Great Khan in 1369, and he immediately started a campaign to make the Mongol empire as big as it was during the reign of Genghis Kahn. One of the most horrific actions of Timur is the pyramid he built in North India. Timur built the pyramid out of 70,000 human skulls. … During his reign, 17 million people fall victim to the Timur Dynasty. …

Timur’s Tomb is engraved with two inscriptions that contribute to the myth and legend of the curse.

The first inscription is written on the tombstone, and says “When I Rise From the Dead, The World Shall Tremble”.

The second one is located inside the tomb, and says “Whosoever Disturbs My Tomb Will Unleash an Invader More Terrible than I’.

On June 20, 1942, Josef Stalin ordered a team of Soviet archeologists to open the tomb and Timur's body was removed. Two days later, Hitler broke the non-aggression pact he and Stalin had signed and launched Operation Barbarossa, a full scale invasion of the Soviet Union. Some of the largest battles and worst conditions in human history followed and millions were killed on both sides. Six months later, now a believer in the curse, ordered Timur's body put back with full Muslim burial rites. Within weeks, the Red Army dealt the Nazis a catastrophic defeat at Stalingrad, the turning point in the war on both the Russian Front and Western Europe.

Call it superstition if you must. 

Giphy Images.


Dismiss it as mere coincidence. Argue there is no cause and effect. But if you want to take the chance that centuries ago powerful rulers who were regarded as gods by the tens of millions of people they ruled over didn't have abilities beyond our reckoning, you're on your own. The rest of us are not going to suffer just because you wanted to move some old dead bodies around. Leave them be and go rob somebody else's grave.