Episode 74: Look Upon My Works, And Despair! Curse of the Pharaohs

In the gilded age, the lore and lure of the mystical power of Egypt was a pervasive component of popular culture. Foremost in the imaginations of the public were the various curses associated with tombs unearthed in the Nile River Valley. Of all the bad luck and strange circumstances that fueled belief in this phenomenon, the most infamous was surely the Curse of King Tutankhamen. After his tomb was opened by Howard Carter and Lord Carnavon, the Pharaoh set out on a reign of terror that haunted the lives of those who had contact with his burial chamber for decades to come. At least, the newspapers said that was the case. Then maybe it was a fungus, or spores, or a something science-y, maybe? Or maybe it was much ado about nothing? Or maybe Aleister Crowley killed them all? Yeah, you’re right. That doesn’t make sense, but we’re still going to be discussing that theory, and many more this week as we look at the facts, fiction, and cultural landscape that helped create the curse of pharaohs.


Guest Storyteller:

Dominic Perry

History of Egypt Podcast


In Seach Of – King Tut

Vintage Magazine Account of the Cat Sacrifice Incident


…And a Close Up of this Extraordinary Illustration


Thoth Tarot Confession Gallery


The Aeon – This card is a direct reference to the tablet marked 666


The Fool – This card relates to Loveday. Note the tiger (Tiger Woman) biting his leg. The Dove is a symbol for willingness to die. The fool is the less mature magus.


The Lovers – Marie Marguerite & Fahmy Bey – The “White Queen” marries the “Moorish King”. A faceless puppet master constructs the scene. One of the children holds roses, which may be a reference to the poisoned flowers in the letter. The Eagle is a symbol of Egypt and the lion is a symbol of England.


Art – Fletcher Robinson. Again we see the lion and the eagle. There is a fire entering the water, possibly a reference to poison. This card is analogous to ‘temperance’ or ‘balance’ in other decks.


The Tower – Lord Westbury – The serpent lion represents the will to live, the dove, the will to die. The fractal shredding of the image looks like broken glass. A figure falls from a high floor under an all-seeing eye, below ‘the beast’ is waiting.

It should be noted, tarot is so wonderful because any story can be projected upon them. These analyses should be taken with many, many grains of salt.


The Mummy’s Curse – Aeon

Unwrapping The Mummy’s Curse – New Humanist

The Mummy’s Curse: Historical Cohort Study – British Medical Journal

Victorian Party People Unrolled Mummies For Fun – Atlas Obscura


Napoleon and The Scientific Expedition to Egypt

The Odyssey of an Obelisk

Victorian Egyptomania: How a 19th Century fetish for Pharaohs turned seriously spooky

Egyptomania – Encyclopedia Britannica

Egypt’s “King Tut Curse” Caused by Tomb Toxins? – National Geographic

Howard Carter, 64, Egyptologist, Dies – NYT Obituary

Times Man Views Splendor of Tomb of Tutankhamen – NYT

Downton Abbey was almost ruined by the Curse of Tutankhamun as Highclare family discovered the tomb – The Daily Mirror

Mummy Wheat – Gabriel Moshenska

The Fiction of Gothic Egypt and British Imperial Paranoia: The Curse of the Suez Canal AILISE BULFIN Trinity College, Dublin

Curse of Pharaoh Denied By Winlock – NYT, Jan 26, 1934

Suez Canal – History Channel

9 Fascinating Facts About the Suez Canal -History Channel

Magical Bricks and the Bricks of Birth – The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology

Book of the Dead – Ch 151

When the Book of the Dead does not match archaeology: The case of the protective magical bricks – British Museum

Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation – The Griffith Institute

Unwrapping the Self: Victorian Mummy Unwrappings and Questions of Mortality | The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Origins of A Mummy’s Tale

The Racial Hand in the Victorian Imagination – Aviva Briefel

Walk Like an Egyptian: Egypt as Authority in Aleister Crowley’s Reception of The Book of the Law | Tully | Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies

The Victorian supernatural – The British Library

Victorian Egyptomania: How a 19th Century fetish for Pharaohs turned seriously spooky | All About History

Uncovering the Dead at a Victorian Mummy Unwrapping Party | Broadly

Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton, 1776 – 1852

Hamilton Palace Mausoleum

‘El Magnifico’ and the Hamilton Mausoleum | The Haunted Palace

Napoleon’s Scottish Admirer | The Art Institute of Chicago

Easton Village History

The Abbey of Thelema – Derelict Places

Thelemic Saints – Raoul Loveday – The Holy Thelemic Church

Bookride: Betty May. Tiger Woman, 1929

Death at the Abbey – Picture Post

London’s Curse: Murder, Black Magic and Tutankhamen in the 1920s West End by Mark Beynon

Victorian Party People Unrolled Mummies For Fun – Atlas Obscura

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs by Zahi Hawass

Eli-lsmerchantile -Thoth Tarot Reader

One thought on “Episode 74: Look Upon My Works, And Despair! Curse of the Pharaohs

  1. This has to be my new favorite episode by you guys, it was amazing. I’ve listen to other podcast but yours is above the rest. P.s I’m begging you to please continue the audio Dime museum, I check daily to see if there’s been an update.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s