The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb was a moment of global excitement, but it also cast a dark shadow as a series of mysterious deaths began to unfold. In 1923, George J. Gould, an American railroad magnate, was the first to die, succumbing to pneumonia shortly after visiting the tomb.
The same year, Egyptian playboy Prince Ali Fami Bay, who had also set eyes on the tomb, met a tragic fate when he was shot by his wife at the Savoy Hotel. Arthur Mace, who co-authored the account of the tomb’s opening with Howard Carter, suffered a severe physical breakdown and was forced to retire from his work in Egypt. Tragically, he passed away in 1928.
Sir Archibald Reed, responsible for X-raying and photographing the artifacts, met his end in January 1924. Similarly, the renowned French Egyptologist Georges Benedict, who inspected the tomb, fell fatally on its steps in 1926.
The chilling chain of events continued with the mysterious death of Lord Carnarvon’s secretary, Richard Bethel, in 1929, believed to be a suicide. The news had such a profound impact on Bethel’s father that he too met a tragic end by throwing himself out of a window.
In less than a decade, a staggering 13 deaths were associated with the mysterious curse that seemed to haunt those who ventured near the tomb.
Top image: Howard Carter examins the tomb of Tutankhamun, said to hold a terrible curse. Source: Harry Burton / Public Domain.