According to reports a singularly
strange occurrence took place in the early 1900s linked
with the church of St. Nicholas in Great Yarmouth. The
church had a school attached to it and it was here that
the problem first arose. The building began to be
troubled by an awful smell that started to permeate the
school classrooms. Floorboards were prized up and a
thorough search was made, but nothing could be found
that would account for this noxious odour.
Now in the schools science room there stood an old mummy
casket. This had been donated by the schools history
teacher, who believed that the casket contained the
remains of an Egyptian princess. The casket, which was
completely sealed was used to illustrate lessons on
ancient civilisations and was considered to be quite a
prize by the school.
When nothing else could be found to account for the
dreadful odor, the finger was eventually pointed at the
casket as being the possible cause of the smell. Rather
than loose the whole thing it was decided that the
contents of the casket should be removed and the casket
resealed and retained. Although we had yet to enter
the era of Howard Carter and the curse of the tomb of
Tutankhamun, none the less there was considerable
superstition attached to the contents of mummy caskets.
Probably caused by various books and stories based on
the curse of the mummies that had circulated during the
1880s and early 1900s.
So it was decided that the contents should be buried in
the churchyard of St. Nicholas. It was decided that the
deed should take place in the dead of night rather than
daylight hours. Volunteers were found or press ganged
into assisting and with the agreement of the local
vicar, a grave was dug and the contents of the mummy
casket were tipped in. The casket itself was then
returned to the science room. This appeared to solve the
problem of the pong, which disappeared, so this you
would think would be the end of the matter. But no.
A few days later the vicar of St. Nicholas was awoken
from a deep sleep by a steady rapping at the vicarage
door. Assuming it was one of his parishioners, he
hurriedly descended his staircase in his nightshirt and
opened the door to the vicarage. Standing on his door
stop was ... nothing ...absolutely nothing. Assuming it
was a mistake or the local village boys up to no good,
the vicar returned to his bed and his good lady wife.
It must only have been an hour later, when again the
same regular knocking on the door waked him. This time
his wife accompanied him down the stairs, but again
there was no one to be seen on the doorstep, nor could
anyone be seen in the close vicinity of the vicarage
door. Over the next few nights this incident was
repeated much to the annoyance of the vicar and his
wife. Investigation amongst his close neighbours brought
to light that he was not the only person being troubled
by the sound of regular rhythmic tapping in the dead of
Then some revelers who had decided to take a short cut
across the graveyard, heard the sound of banging coming
from inside the church. Fearing that somebody had been
locked in the building, the party group roused a
reluctant verger who opened up the church. A thorough
investigation by the verger and the group of the inside
brought to light no trapped parishioner. However, as
they were leaving the church the tapping began again.
The next day the local bobby was called in, he decided
that it had to be village boys up to no good and he
began an investigation. But the tapping continued inside
the church, on the vicar's front door and some of the
neighbouring properties as well.
Word eventually got out of the nighttime burial of the
mummy and people began to put two and two together and
the word 'Egyptian ghost' began to be used in
conjunction with the tapping. The church began to
attract the unwelcome attention of sightseers looking
for spooks and ghouls and the area became so busy that
in the end, a decision was taken to cordon of the area
around the church. Then to make matters worse the smell
came back in the school beginning in the science room.
This time there could be no mistake, it was coming from
the mummy casket.
The casket would have to be opened again. Inside they
found part of an arm, still wrapped in bandages. It
seemed that in their haste to bury the mummy, they had
failed to notice that not all of her had slipped into
the grave. The now over tired vicar decreed that the arm
must be buried with its owner. So the mummy was again
dug up and the arm popped in.
This seemed to solve the problem, as the smell ceased
and so did the tapping. Unfortunately I was unable to
find the exact location of the Princess Mummies final
resting place, if anyone knows anything?
In 1821 in a place near London's Piccadilly Circus a
macabre theatrical "striptease'' used to take place.
This involved ancient Egyptian mummies being unwrapped
in front of spellbound spectators. By coincidence, in
the audience was a 25-year-old novelist, Jane Loudon
Webb, who was inspired by this spectacle to put pen to
paper and write an early science fiction novel entitled
The Mummy. This story featured a vengeful mummy from the
22nd century B.C., who returned from the dead to kill
the book's hero.