PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Nearly a century after Tutankhamun’s tomb was dug up, a man says he was severely injured by electrical shock and chemical fumes at a display of the ancient pharaoh’s stuff. Odd occurrences have been rumored to surround Tutankhamun artifacts since his tomb was unearthed in 1923.
Carman Fields sued the Franklin Institute Science Museum and Mandell Center in state court. He claims the state of disrepair of display cases in the “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” exhibit was so negligent that he received a severe electrical shock and was overcome by chemical fumes in September 2007.
Fields says he suffered severe pain that radiated from his head through his torso and into his extremities. Since then, he says, he has suffered persistent headaches, chronic dizziness, imbalance, disequilibrium and forgetfulness. He wants $50,000.
Odd occurrences have been rumored to surround Tutankhamun artifacts since his tomb was dug up in 1923. Legend has it that anyone who dared to open the tomb, which escaped all but minor looting for more than 3,000 years, would suffer the wrath of the pharaoh.
Two months after the tomb’s discovery, Lord Carnarvon, who funded the expedition, died suddenly. Almost simultaneously with his death, Cairo was plunged into darkness by a power failure.
Skeptics say the two real events were coincidences. A later study found that of the 58 people who were present when the tomb and sarcophagus were opened, only eight died in the next 12 years. Howard Carter, who led the expedition and was first into the tomb, was among those who seemed immune to the curse. He died of lymphoma at the age of 64 in 1939. His tomb was in the Valley of Kings.
Tutankhamun reigned in the 18th Dynasty, from 1333 to 1324 B.C. Probably the son of Pharaoh Akhenaten, he became pharaoh when he was 9 years old. X-rays of his mummy’s head in 1968 were interpreted to indicate that he was murdered by a blow to the head, but that was disputed by interpretations of CT scans performed in 2005. The CT scans indicated that the alleged subdural hematoma at the back of his head may have been a result of embalming. Egyptologists now favor the idea that the youthful man, who was worshiped as a god in his lifetime, broke his leg and died quickly of gangrene.
Fields is represented by Leonard Parks of Parks & Associates.