Quiz Answer 9
Myth 9. Mummies were made to scare people .
Fact: Mummies were made to comfort people.
This myth is related to Myth 8. Many people assume that mummies must be cursed because they are so scary. Nothing could be further from the truth. Egyptians mummified their dead to prepare them for an afterlife. To them, preserving the body after death was simply a way to conquer death.
Most people fear death, despite the fact that (as mummy researchers Aidan and Eve Cockburn wrote) "everything that lives must die." This is what is frightening — not the mummy itself. In fact, by mummifying an individual, Egyptians felt much better, since they believed they had continued the person's life.
According to the Cockburns, most people around the world
believe in some form of life after death and often come to the conclusion that the body of the deceased should be prepared for this continuing existence. This can be achieved either by burying the person along with objects for use in the next life or, better still, by preserving the body itself. . . . [A]lmost all dead bodies in the United States today are embalmed. This can have no other purpose but to give survivors reassurance that life continues in some way: From the purely public health point of view, it is meaningless.
Some cultures also thought that mummifying the dead would stop their ghosts from returning to haunt the living. By making a dead person comfortable and happy, the living would be happier, too. If the thought of mummies scares you, try to picture yourself as a member of a civilization that practiced mummification, and take comfort.