When I was a kid, I had a fascination with mummies. I was always checking out books about them from the library. I loved reading about how the ancient Egyptians would prepare a body for the afterlife, removing a person’s organs and placing each one in its own special jar. They had to fish the brain out of the skull piece by piece with a hook inserted into the nose, and since they didn’t know what function the brain performed, they threw it away!
What I loved most about those books was staring at the photographs, especially of the mummies that had been unwrapped. I would spend hours inspecting close ups of their hands and feet and wonder at how well preserved they were. I would examine hair and facial features and try to imagine what these people who lived so long ago must have looked like before their skin had dried and shriveled.
I was so inspired by this ancient Egyptian practice that when my pet crawfish died (it was on its way out, anyway), I gave it an Egyptian-style send-off. I placed the crawfish in a gold, cardboard jewelry box with white cotton padding. I used another piece of cotton padding as a blanket, then closed the box and wrapped the entire thing with masking tape. I placed this box inside an empty tea tin and wrapped the entire tin with masking tape. I inserted that tin into a larger one and wrapped that tin in masking tape. By the time I had finished, I must have used close to an entire roll of masking tape to secure my dead crawfish in its sarcophagus. Next, I dug a hole in the dirt next to the garage where Mom grew her rhubarb, placed the “sarcrawfishgus” in the hole and covered it up. It is probably still there to this day.
Mummies were cool, but they were also kind of creepy. After all, they were dead people who had been removed from their graves! It doesn’t get much creepier than that! I remember watching the old 1932 black and white film “The Mummy.” Boris Karloff plays Imhotep, an ancient Egyptian who is mummified and buried alive as punishment for attempting to resurrect a princess with whom he’s in love. That scene always gave me the heebie jeebies. Several thousand years later, he is brought back to life by an incantation recited by an ignorant western archaeologist. Imhotep prowls the streets of Cairo and comes upon a modern-day beauty who happens to be the reincarnation of his past love. He wants to kill her so he can mummify her, then bring her back to life by reciting the same incantation over her mummified body.
Since the film was done in black and white, it’s extra scary. Turn out all the lights, put on some headphones and check out the official trailer for this classic horror film: The Mummy Official Trailer
For those of you who have read some of my earlier posts, you already know that during my childhood, I wasn’t exactly the shining paragon of wholesome goodness you know today. Sometimes, I could be downright bad. Like the Saturday morning I tiptoed into my sister’s bedroom with one of my mummy books. I opened it up to a two-page spread of King Tut’s unwrapped head, held it over her face so it would be the first thing she’d see when she opened her eyes, and waited. I didn’t have to wait more than a few seconds because I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. My sister opened her eyes, saw the photograph of the mummy head, screamed, and I was in trouble. BIG trouble.