Security cameras in England's Manchester Museum have caught this 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue of Neb Sanu — ostensibly an offering to the god Osiris, lord of the dead — mysteriously spinning in its display case, completely untouched.
Is it a ghostly pharaoh's curse, the likes of which are rumored to have sentenced the excavators of King Tutankhamun's tomb to an early death? Or is it something even more sinister, as initially proposed by the museum's resident Egyptologist, Campbell Price, when he discovered the stone figure was somehow moving on its own?
"I noticed one day that it had turned around," Price told the Manchester Evening News. "I thought it was strange because it is in a case, and I am the only one who has a key."
"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." [Manchester Evening News via The Telegraph]
To find out, officials set up a security camera to record time-lapse footage of the statue, which has been in the museum's possession for 80 years. After a week, they think they've found their answer: The movement may be due to a less-chilling phenomenon called "differential friction."
If you look closely, the statue is only moving during the day. Speaking with the Daily Mail, physicist Brian Cox says he thinks that the subtle vibrations caused by museum goers, coupled with the stone bottom of the statue and the glass surface of the casing, are what has been triggering its slow-motion pivot.
Price, however, still has his doubts. "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?"
- How the strange case of Obama's Uncle Omar complicates immigration reform
- There is a better alternative to raising the minimum wage
- Watch The Daily Show use Pope Francis to hammer Fox Business pundits
- Is Biden helping or hurting U.S. interests in Asia?
- Which professions have the most psychopaths?
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Rick Santorum wins the prize for the worst Nelson Mandela tribute
- 5 books to read before your 30th birthday
- The week's best photojournalism
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
Subscribe to the Week