When Egyptologists unwrapped the body of "Unknown Man E" which had been found along with numerous royal mummies in the Dier el-Bahri cache in 1881, a

horrible sight awaited them. Even

before the unwrapping, they knew there was something unusual about this mummy. It had been enshrouded with a sheep skin (a material the ancient Egyptians considered ritually unclean in a

funerary context) and placed in an

unmarked coffin magical symbols deemed necessary to ensure the deceased's

survival in the afterlife. And, worse, the body emitted a horrible odor unlike the often aromatic fragrance of many other Egyptian mummies. Yet even these indications failed to prepare the

unwrappers for the gruesome sight that emerged when the bandages came off.



An account written by a certain Dr. Mathey, an eyewitness at the unwrapping, gives the unpleasant



"It is difficult to give an adequate

description of the face thus laid bare. I can only say that no countenance has ever more faithfully recreated a picture of such affecting and hideous agony. His features, horribly distorted, surely showed that the wretched man must have been deliberately asphyxiated, most probably by being buried alive."


The fact that the man had his hands and feet tightly bound, and that his internal organs had not been removed in accordance with the normal embalming practices of the times, seemed at to support this

disturbing conclusion.

The coffin

The Mummy



“The Basenji Revelation”

By Simon Cleveland