Previously published in Examiner
Theories about what might have happened to cause these strange deaths
There are some biological explanations that have been suggested
Dr. Ezzeddin Taha, of Cairo University, maintains according to the health records many of the workers suffered from Aspergillus niger, which is a fungus that causes rashes, fatigue and fever. According to Dr. Taha, this fungus may have been present in the tomb, surviving centuries and released when the archeologists entered the tomb.
Dr. Nicola Di Paolo, an Italian doctor suggests that another fungus, Aspergillus ochraceus may be the culprit, and this fungus would be spread to people handling the artifacts including visitors to the site. However, this fungus though contagious, does not cause death.
Gotthard Kramer, a German physicist from the University of Leipzig examined 40 mummies and found mole spores that could have survived thousands of years in those dark damp tomb conditions. However, most of spores are harmless and few are toxic. Kramer maintains that when the tombs were opened these spores escaped to the air outside and people ingested them through the body cavities such as the nose and mouth and eye mucous membranes. Once inside the body he believes that the spores affected individuals with weakened immune systems, causing organ failure and even death.
Modern archeologists now wear protective gear when entering sites or examining mummies as necessary precautions. This was never done or even thought of in the days of Howard Carter and his excavation team.
As fascinating as the mummy curse is, is it really a curse or just some biological misfortune caused by century old spores? You decide.
Some actual mummy curses as quoted from the UnMuseum site:
A Few Authentic Curses from Mummy Tombs
As for anybody who shall enter this tomb in his impurity: I shall ring his neck as a bird’s.
As for any man who shall destroy these, it is the god Thoth who shall destroy him.
As for him who shall destroy this inscription: He shall not reach his home. He shall not embrace his children. He shall not see success.
To study Egyptology in Montreal
The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities