Mystery as museum statue starts turning in display case
Daily Telegraph, 23 June 2013
An Egyptian statuette that mysteriously turns itself round inside its display case has left experts baffled at the Manchester Museum.
Even eminent television physicist Professor Brian Cox has weighed in on the mystery of Manchester Museum’s moving statuette, which dates back to 1800 BC.
The 10-inch tall statue of Neb Sanu was discovered in a mummy’s tomb and has been with the Museum for eighty years, but has only recently been noticed moving.
Prof Cox, who teaches physics at the city’s university, claims the movement is due to the “differential friction”.
However, Manchester Museum’s resident Egyptologist Campbell Price suggested something more sinister, an Egyptian curse.
"I noticed one day that it had turned around. I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key," he explained in an interview with the Manchester Evening News.
"I put it back but then the next day it had moved again. We set up a time-lapse video and, although the naked eye can’t see it, you can clearly see it rotate on the film. The statuette is something that used to go in the tomb along with the mummy.
"In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit. Maybe that is what is causing the movement.".
He went on the cast doubt on Prof Cox’s explanation: “Brian thinks it’s differential friction, where two surfaces—the serpentine stone of the statuette and glass shelf it is on—cause a subtle vibration which is making the statuette turn.
"But it has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before. And why would it go around in a perfect circle?"