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The Quick 10: Nine Victims of King Tut's Curse (and one who should have been)

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If you have any connections to Egyptology or mummies at all (work in a museum? Have an archaeologist ancestor?), be careful on Sunday. Sunday is the anniversary of the day King Tutankhamen's tomb was opened, unleashing a powerful curse upon all who dared disturb his eternal slumber.

I mean, if you believe in stuff like that. Here are nine people who might make you believe, and one who should have been a direct recipient of Tut's wrath but got off with nary a scratch. Now, like any good urban legend, the tale of Tut's curse has expanded to epic proportions over the years. Some of these are probably exaggerated versions of what really happened"¦ but that's part of the fun, isn't it?

tut1. Lord Carnarvon, the man who financed the excavation of King Tut's tomb, was the first to succumb to the supposed curse. He accidentally tore a mosquito bite open while shaving and ended up dying of blood poisoning shortly thereafter. This occurred a few months after the tomb was opened and a mere six weeks after the press started reporting on the "Mummy's Curse" that was thought to afflict anyone associated with disturbing the mummy. Legend has it that when he died, all of the lights in the house mysteriously went out.
2. Howard Carter, who discovered the existence of the tomb, gave a paperweight to a friend, Sir Bruce Ingham, as a gift. The paperweight, appropriately (or inappropriately, I suppose) consisted of a mummified hand wearing a bracelet that was supposedly inscribed with "Cursed be he who moves my body." I'm sure "and severs my hand to use it as a trinket" was implied. Ingham house burned to the ground not long after receiving the gift, and when he tried to rebuilt, it was hit with a flood.

3. George Jay Gould was a wealthy financier who visited the tomb of Tutankhamen"¦ and fell sick almost immediately afterward. He never really recovered and died of a high fever a few months later.

4. It's said that Lord Carnarvon's brother, Audrey Herbert, suffered from King Tut's curse merely by being related to the financier. Herbert, having had no such problems before, became totally blind. It was mistakenly believed that his rotten, infected teeth were somehow interfering with his vision, and had every single tooth pulled from his head in an effort to regain his sight. Needless to say, it didn't work. He did, however, die of blood poisoning as a result of the surgery, just five months after the death of his cursed brother.

tomb5. Hugh Evelyn-White was so terrified of the curse that he killed himself before Tutankhamen could. Supposedly "“ I'll tell you that I couldn't find a super credible source to back this one up, so it's possible that the story of his death has been embellished over the years. Evelyn-White was an archaeologist who helped during excavation. After seeing death sweep over his fellow crew members in 1923, Evelyn-White wrote "I have succumbed to a curse which forces me to disappear," and hanged himself. One account says he wrote this in his own blood, but take it with a grain of salt.

6. American Egyptologist Aaron Ember was friends with many of the people who were present when the tomb was opened, including Lord Carnarvon. Ember died in 1926, when his house burned down "“ he could have exited safely, but was trying to save a book he had been working on: The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Spooky.

7. Richard Bethell, who was Howard Carter's secretary and the first person behind Carter to enter the tomb, died in 1929. Seven years later seems like a stretch to include in the curse, but given that he apparently died of respiratory failure at the young age of 35 does make you wonder"¦

8. Proving that you didn't have to be one of the excavators or financers to fall victim to the curse, Archibald Douglas Reed merely X-rayed Tut before he ended up in the Museum of Cairo. He got sick the next day and was dead three days later.

9. Another famous Egyptologist, James Henry Breasted, was working with Carter when the tomb was opened. Shortly thereafter, he allegedly returned home to find that his pet canary had been eaten by a cobra"¦ and the cobra was still occupying the cage. Since the cobra is a symbol of the Egyptian monarchy "“ one that kings wore on their heads to represent protection "“ this was a pretty ominous sign. Breasted himself didn't die until 1935, although it was immediately following a trip to Egypt.

carter10. Howard Carter himself? Perfectly fine. Never had a mysterious, inexplicable illness and his house never fell victim to any natural disasters. He died of cancer at the age of 64. If you ask me, I have a theory about this. Howard Carter loved archaeology and Egypt and would have been deeply respectful of his subjects. His tombstone even says, "May your spirit live, May you spend millions of years, You who love Thebes, Sitting with your face to the north wind, Your eyes beholding happiness." So, if the curse is indeed true, I hypothesize that those who died did or said something to insult the memory of the mummy.

What do you think "“ is the curse something to be feared, or would you totally dismiss it if you had the opportunity to check out the tomb? Share your opinions in the comments. And have a good weekend!

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10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes
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The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

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10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films
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1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.


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