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4425Doyle and King Tut's Tomb

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  • pinaki roy
    16 Jan 8:13 am
      Dear Sherlockians,

      I cannot but wonder how a man could be so precise in advancing scientific hypotheses of investigation and yet be a staunch believer in the occult and apparitions - these contradictions make Arthur Conan Doyle. After the discovery of the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun (p.o.r. c. 1332 B.C. - c. 1323 B.C.) in A.D. 1922 by Howard Carter (1874-1939) and George E.S.M. Herbert - 5th Earl of Carnarvon (1866-1923), and following Lord Carnarvon's death in Cairo because of a mosquito bite infected by a razor-cut, Doyle tried to explain his death and also some of the deaths that followed. At first he speculated that deadly fungus which had had grown inside the Egyptian pyramids had infected people entering the tombs. He believed that ancient Egyptians had placed the mold deliberately to punish grave-robbers. However, as James Hamilton-Paterson and Carol Andrews write in "Mummies: Death and Life in Ancient Egypt" (London: Collins, 1978, I.S.B.N.
      0-00-195532-2), Doyle later suggested that Carnarvon's death had been caused by 'elementals' created by Tutankhamun's priests to guard the royal tomb (p. 196). Tushar Ghosh, in his "Mythology, History, and Mysteries of Ancient Egypt" (Kolkata: Pandulipi, 2012. I.S.B.N. 978-81-922449-4-5), attests to Doyle's belief in the 'curse of the pharaoh', referring to his belief that 'a malevolent spirit may have cuased Lord Carnarvon's fatal illness' (p. 427). Such science-superstition dichotomy characterises many of Doyle's later-day writings, though, unlike Byomkesh Bakshi of Saradindu Bandyopadhyay, Holmes never faces or believes in apparitions. Would some of you, most kindly, initiate a discussion on Doyle's credo?

      (Pinaki Roy),
      Assistant Profess of Englsih,
      Malda College,
      Rabindra Avenue, Malda - 732 101,
      West Bengal, India
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