Posts Tagged With: Egyptian Statue

Spinning Manchester Museum Egyptian Statue Debunked

A Manchester classmate of mine posted this link so I thought I would share it with all of you.

All rights belong to Mick West and Metabunk. To view the original post please click here.

Debunked: Ancient Egyptian Statue Rotating by Itself in Manchester Museum

Discussion in ‘Fortean phenomena‘ started by Mick West, Jun 23, 2013.

Manchester Museum is getting a lot of publicity for a video of a statue that slowly rotates through the course of the day. It’s on a glass shelf, and it only moves when there are people walking nearby.

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This raises the obvious suggestion that the rotation is simply due to the vibration. The statue is hard uneven stone, and the glass shelf is very hard and perfectly flat. When two hard substances are in contact with each other, then there’s not much friction because there are limited points of contact. I suspect that the base of the statue is uneven, which allows it to tilt and pivot very slightly from the vertical vibration from people walking by. The shelf is very slightly tilted towards the front, so the statue rotates until the center of gravity is at the lowest point, and then it stops.

Firstly the issue of object moving on a glass shelf visitor induced vibration from wooden floors is a known problem in the museum industry, see:
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/content/imported-docs/u-z/vibration-rio.pdf

To test this theory out, I made a functional replica of the situation using a glass table, a piece of wood with some screws in for the hard uneven base, and a container of salt for the statue.

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(Skip to 0:35 in the following video to see the experiment)

Initial tests showed that the movement and rotation of the statue varied a lot based on the geometry of the base – i.e. the relative height of the screws. Adjusting one screw a fraction of a turn could entirely change the behavior. So it’s pretty random that the statue ended up moving the way it did.

As I did not have lots of people to walk around my table for days I accelerated the process by angling the table probably slightly more than the shelf (it’s still only 2 degrees though), and by directly vibrating the table. This is obviously not the same as what happened – the magnitudes are different, but the concept is the same.

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Some inevitable questions:

Why has it never moved before?
Firstly its obvious that that it’s not been on that exact same shelf for “decades” or “80 years” as some news stories report. In fact that’s the new Ancient World Gallery, which opened around Oct 2012), so it’s been there for a few months at most. The curator simply said it had been on a similar shelf before.
Secondly, experiments show the motion is dependent on circumstances. So something must have changed, but only very slightly – the slope of the shelf, the position of the statue on the shelf, even the position of other objects can affect the vibration. Even a very slight shift in the frame of the building could be responsible.
And perhaps the previous curators had been sensible, and secured it to the shelf with a dot of wax.

Why are the other statues not moving?
Because they are different. They are smaller, they are shorter, they have a more centered center of gravity, they are made of different materials, they have different bases, they are in different positions.

Why does it spin exactly 180 degrees?
Because the shelf is sloped very slightly down towards the front of the cabinet, so it stops when the center of gravity gets to the lowest position.

Why does it go round in a circle?
Because it’s pivoting on a point in the base. In my experiment this is represented by the center screw, which is just a tiny bit more protruding than the others. But the actual geometry will vary.

Why does it rotate so slowly when yours goes so fast?
Because of the magnitudes of things. The vibration is less in amplitude, the pivoting on the base is smaller, the slope is less. So it’s doing to very large number of much smaller motions.

What about:

A) The museum employees was working in the gallery, so perhaps they caused the vibration themselves
B) Vibrations could come from people in other rooms, or upstairs.

Categories: Egyptology, Mish Mash | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spinning Ancient Egyptian Statue at the Manchester Museum

A friend of mine shared this article with me because this is happening in the museum that belongs to my university. I’ll let you know if my Egyptologist professors comment about it. All rights belong to DailyMail, Amanda Williams, and the University of Manchester. To see the original article click here.

Is this ancient Egyptian statue a sign that there really is a curse of the Pharaohs? Relic of the god of death found inside mummy’s tomb and kept in museum for 80 years starts SPINNING on its own

  • 10-inch tall relic, is an offering to Egyptian God Osiris, God of the dead
  • It has been filmed on a time lapse, seemingly spinning 180 degrees
  • TV physicist Brian Cox among the experts being consulted on mystery
  • But some now believe there could be ‘spiritual explanation’ for turning statue

By Amanda Williams

PUBLISHED: 03:10 EST, 23 June 2013 | UPDATED: 10:07 EST, 23 June 2013

It sounds like the something from the script of a Hollywood action adventure.

But the ‘mystery of the moving mummy’  –  which has seen an Egyptian statue mysteriously start to spin round in a display case – has spooked museum bosses.

The 10-inch tall relic, an offering to the Egyptian God Osiris, was found in a mummy’s tomb and has been at the Manchester Museum for 80 years.

But in recent weeks, curators have been left scratching their heads after they kept finding it facing the wrong way. They now believe there could be a ‘spiritual explanation’ for the turning statue.

Egyptologist Campbell Price studies an ancient Egyptian statuette at the Manchester Museum, which appears to be moving on its ownEgyptologist Campbell Price studies an ancient Egyptian statuette at the Manchester Museum, which appears to be moving on its own

It is believed that there is a curse of the pharaohs which strikes anyone who dares to take relics from a pyramid tomb.

Experts decided to monitor the room on time-lapse video and were astonished to see it clearly show the statuette spinning 180 degrees – with nobody going near it.

The statue of a man named Neb-Senu is seen to remain still at night but slowly rotate round during the day.

Now scientists are trying to explain the phenomenon, with TV physicist Brian Cox among the experts being consulted.

The 10-inch tall relic, which dates back to 1800 BC, has been at the museum for 80 years but curators say it has recently starting rotating 180 degrees during the dayThe 10-inch tall relic, which dates back to 1800 BC, has been at the museum for 80 years but curators say it has recently starting rotating 180 degrees during the day

Scientists who explored the Egyptian tombs in the 1920s were popularly believed to be struck by a ‘curse of the Pharaohs’.

Now Campbell Price, a curator at the museum on Oxford Road, said he believes there may be a spiritual explanation to the spinning statue.

Egyptologist Mr Price, 29, said: ‘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.

Experts decided to monitor the room on time-lapse video and were astonished to see it clearly show the statuette spinning 180 degrees - with nobody going near itExperts decided to monitor the room on time-lapse video and were astonished to see it clearly show the statuette spinning 180 degrees – with nobody going near it

In this time lapsed video, as the museum closes for the evening, the statue can be seen in a clearly different positionIn this time lapsed video, as the museum closes for the evening, the statue can be seen in a clearly different position

By midday the next day it has turned almost a quarter of a circle to be facing to the leftBy midday the next day it has turned almost a quarter of a circle to be facing to the left

The following morning the statue has moved again, and is facing even further away from its original positionThe following morning the statue has moved again, and is facing even further away from its original position

By the end of the day the statue has turned almost 180 degrees and is now facing away from visitors to the museumBy the end of the day the statue has turned almost 180 degrees and is now facing away from visitors to the museum

‘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.

‘The statuette is something that used to go in the tomb along with the mummy.

‘Mourners would lay offerings at its feet. The hieroglyphics on the back ask 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.

‘Maybe that is what is causing the movement.’

Other experts have a more rational explanation – suggesting that the vibrations caused by the footsteps of passing visitors makes the statuette turn.

That’s the theory favoured by Professor Cox – but Campbell said he was not convinced.

‘Brian thinks it’s differential friction,’ he said.

‘Where two surfaces, the serpentine stone of the statuette and glass shelf it is on, cause a subtle vibration which is making the statuette turn.

But it has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before. And why would it go around in a perfect circle?’

Campbell is urging members of the public to come along and take a look for themselves.

‘It would be great if someone could solve the mystery,’ he added.

Spooky! Egyptian statuette spins untouched inside glass case

If the video doesn’t work click here to go to the original article to see it.

Categories: Egyptology, Mish Mash | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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