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ZetaTalk: Mummies
Note: written on Jan 15, 1997

Where many preserve the remains of loved ones, wishing to linger in their presence a while longer, the ancient Egyptians carried the practice to the point of being a religion. The dead were not only preserved, to the best of the skill that morticians in those days held, they were preserved with the intent that they should return to life. Such practices and hopes are held even in modern society, where the beloved is flash frozen in the hopes that future societies will be able to cure them of the disease that today marched on into a death grip.

Beyond the belief that a mummified body or one freshly dead from a fatal disease might spring back to a life that would be worth living is a fear of offending the recently dead. Many human cultures carry the belief that the recently dead linger about to see whether their wishes have been carried out, and with good reason. Spirits indeed do often hang back until they feel their past life has been settled, ghosts by whatever name they might be called. Thus beyond preserving a body, those wishing to be rid of an after-death visitation did all in their power to meet the demands of an autocrat known to be savage in his or her demands.

If the king or queen demanded it, servants were buried alive within the burial chambers, often tricked into thinking they were simply delivering last minute packages of valuables. Life as a servant was cruel in ancient Egypt, and the servants were tempted with wealth, gold and jewels, that they were to carry at the last minute through the maze into the burial chambers. These chambers were constructed such that a domino effect would occur, sealing the chambers from the outside in. Thus the horrified servants would discover that their attempt to rush to the various entrances were not only blocked, they were in fact being chased by closing chambers back into the burial chamber itself. If the servants were leery, then they were drugged and delivered to their masters, who considered that they owned them body and soul during life, and were expected to be resentful of any other outcome in an afterlife.

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