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The Case of the Mysterious Spinning Egyptian Statue

Egyptologist Campbell Price noticed one of it's statues—once buried in the tomb of an important pharaoh—had turned 180 degrees.

At the Manchester Museum—home to one of the largest and most important collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the U.K.—something is amiss. It started one afternoon when Egyptologist Campbell Price noticed a statue—once buried in the tomb of an important pharaoh—had turned 180 degrees. In recent weeks, the 10-inch tall, 1,800-year-old artifact mysteriously began spinning in its case, despite being at the museum for 80 years. “I noticed one day that it had turned around. I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key. I put it back but then the next day it had moved again." Price told Manchester Evening News.

The relic—of a man named Neb-Senu—had long been static on a shelf until this new twist of events, so museum staff decided to install a secret camera. "We set up a time-lapse video and, although the naked eye can’t see it, you can clearly see it rotate on the film." In the video here, you can see the statue move during the day (it remains dormant at night).


In ancient Egypt, death was understood to be just a moment in one's existence, and that the dead had needs such as sustenance. On the back of Neb-Senu, written in hieroglyphics, is a request for bread, beer, and beef.

“In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit," Campbell explained. "Maybe that is what is causing the movement." Perhaps it's the mummy's spirit trying to tell museum staff something. Or perhaps it's just great publicity for a museum that could use a little more foot traffic.

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