Sunday, April 22, 2012

Egyptian Rite Masons and the Curse of the Mummy

There is surprisingly strong evidence to show that some of the millionaires on Titanic had taken on board the ship a number of ancient relics from Cairo, Egypt.  John Jacob Astor IV, his wife Madeleine, Margaret J. Brown, Henry Clay Frick and his wife Adelaide, and a couple who were friends of the Fricks, Mr. and Mrs. J. Horace Harding, all boarded the Titanic in Cherbourg, France,  because they were returning to New York from a long and enjoyable vacation in Egypt.

Those who want visible proof of this are encouraged to Google "Molly Brown + Ushabti." There are several stories on the internet recording the fact that one of the only things Margaret Brown brought with her, when she threw on her coat and went on deck to get into Life Boat No. 6, was an Egyptian figurine, a small figurine called an "Ushabti" which she put into her pocket for luck. An Ushabti was used by the ancient Egyptians to ward off evil spirits and guard the dead.  It is commonly kept in burial tombs.

The press first got a glimpse of the Ushabti around May 29, 1912, when grateful survivors of the Titanic got together to give their thanks to the captain of the rescue ship S.S. Carpathia.  Margaret Brown presented the captain with a silver loving cup, and as a personal gift she gave him her the good luck charm. 

The photograph stirred some popular interest in the tabloid press, and when seen in close-up it looks like a mummy.  This may be how the public got the idea that there was an "Egyptian mummy" on board the Titanic that somehow brought a curse upon the ship and caused it to sink.

In any case, the captain kept the Ushabti figure the rest of his life, and did not part with it until his own death. According to one report, it is now part of a Titanic display being given in Branson, MO.  Cheap copies of the figurine are also on sale at the gift shop of the Molly Brown House in Denver, CO.