The Untold Truth Of The Screaming Mummy

Nothing screams "mummy's curse" quite like an actual screaming mummy. And if you stare long enough at the open-jawed, desiccated corpse of Prince Pentawere, even if a banshee-like wail or 10 billion bees don't fly out of its damnable maw, you might just do all the screaming and cursing on its behalf. Dubbed the "screaming mummy," via Live Science, the nightmare fuel formerly known as Pentawere didn't perceive a proper mummification. The whole undertaking conveyed disdain. His preparers didn't embalm his body and made sure to wrap it in sheepskin, which ancient Egyptians deemed "ritually impure." No, he mummified naturally.

This doesn't sound like a burial befitting a prince and certainly not one for the son of Ramses III, described by the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum as "one of the last great Egyptian pharaohs." As the ruler of Egypt between 1217 BC and 1155 BC, Ramses reigned during the age of the Trojan War, the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, and mass migrations caused by the crumbling of kingdoms. He staved off an invasion of "Sea Peoples," erected buildings, and planted trees. 

Pentawere, by contrast, was a bad apple who not only fell far from the tree, but chopped down his father.

The screaming prince of patricide

Live Science writes that around 1155 B.C., Prince Pentawere likely slit the throat of his father, Ramses III. Scientists arrived at that conclusion after determining the cause of the pharaoh's death in 2012, and conducting DNA analysis that indicated the screaming mummy was his son. It doesn't appear that Pentawere acted alone. His mother Tiye, who coincidentally shares her name with King Tut's mother, allegedly plotted with Pentawere to slay his father. A litany of military and civil officials also stood accused.

This bunch of Brutuses faced the wrath of Ramses' butlers and his successor, Ramses IV. They placed Pentawere and other suspects on trial, and the prince buckled under interrogation. While many of the accused conspirators faced execution or mutilation, Pentawere died by his own hand. Precisely how he did it remains a mystery, though the main theories point to poisoning or hanging. It's also unknown whether Pentawere died screaming, or if his corpse was posed to make it look like he did, as part of a postmortem punishment for his royal betrayal.