Science Friction

Pharaoh’s curse: Why that ancient Egyptian statue moves on its own – Museum curators have noticed something odd about an ancient (3000+ years old) Egyptian statue in the Manchester Museum in England. It appears to be moving all on its own despite being locked in a case, and they’ve actually captured the whole thing on time-lapsed video.

The 10-inch (25-centimeter) statue was acquired by the museum in 1933, according to the New York Daily News. The video clearly shows the artifact slowly turning counterclockwise during the day, but remaining stationary at night. …

Oddly, the statue turns 180 degrees to face backward, then turns no more. This led some observers to wonder if the statue moves to show visitors the inscription on its back, which asks for sacrificial offerings “consisting of bread, beer, oxen and fowl.”

Well, as sacrificial offerings go, at least those seem pretty tame. Scientists and curators have come up with tons of hand-wavey explanations, usually involving magnetism or vibrations from passing tourists’ footsteps (“vibrational stick-slip friction”), but nothing seems to fit particularly well. It seems poised to remain a mystery, which is, you know, kinda freaky. (via File 770)