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Ancient Egyptian Statue Mysteriously Moves On Its Own

In early 2013, a millenia old Egyptian statue appears to have started moving on its own. It did a total 180-degree turn without anyone touching it. Since 1933, the statue —which was made by Neb-Senu, believed to date to 1800 B.C.— is housed in the Manchester Museum in England. The Egyptologist set up a video camera to record the statue's movement, after first noticing it in February. The video shows the artifact slowly turning counterclockwise during the day, but remaining stationary at night. This unexplained phenomena has made Campbell Price, the curator confused. Because for 80 years, the statue did not showed any movement but it was only recently that the museum staff noticed the statue rotating.

Price said that it was strange because the statue is kept inside a locked glass case and he is the only one who has the key. When he put it back to the original position, the next day it had moved again turning 180 degrees counterclockwise. Then, after he and other staff set up a video camera, he can clearly see it rotate slowly during the daytime and seems to cease at night.

Brian Cox, a physicist believe that the main cause of the movement is the museum visitor's footsteps created some vibration. It's called a "Differential Friction", where two surfaces which is in this case — glass shelf and the stone material of the statuette — cause a subtle vibration, which is making the statuette moving on its own.

The God of Death Statue Movement during Daytime
After observing the statue movement, Carol Redmount, an associate professor of Egyptian archeology at the University of California, Berkeley said that the statue only seems to spin during the day when people are in the museum. Then it could have something to do with its individual placement and its character.

Paul Doherty, a senior scientist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, believes the statue's movement is caused by "Vibrational Stick-slip Friction" or "Stick-slip Vibration". If the glass shelf on which the statue rests vibrates even slightly, "the vibrating glass moves the statue in the same direction," causing it to turn around.

Doherty believes the statue stops turning because of it's asymmetrically weighted: "The statue has more weight on one side than the other side." After turning around on the shelf, the statue's uneven bottom reaches a more stable position and stops turning. Besides the footsteps of passing museum visitors, the source of the stick-slip vibration "could be triggered by a train that passes during the day or maybe some trolley that goes by during the day," Doherty said.

However, Price did not satisfied with those explanation, because it has been on those surfaces since the museum have had it in 1933 and it has never moved before. Other question is, why would it go around in a perfect circle and not moving to the left or right side?

Price also speculates on his own blog that the statue "was carved of steatite (also known as soapstone, a soft stone often used for carving) and then fired (which) may imply that it is now vulnerable to magnetic forces." However, 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."

According to Price, the statue wearing a shoulder-length wig and knee-length kilt is something that used to go in the tomb along with the mummy. It was an offering to Osiris, god of the dead. “Mourners in ancient egypt would lay offerings at its feet. They believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as a vessel for the spirit. Maybe that is what is causing the movement.”

Live Science - "Why Egyptian Statue Moves On its Own" written by Marc Lallanilla;

NY Daily News - "Ancient Egyptian statue at Manchester Museum moves on its own, stumped curator says Egyptologist Campbell Price recorded the Neb-Senu statue’s baffling 180-degree movement" written by Sasha Goldstein;

ABC News - "Ancient Egyptian Statue Mysteriously Rotates at Museum";

Daily Mail - "The turn of the mummy: God of death statue starts SPINNING on its own in Manchester museum... but is this a sign that there really is a curse of the Pharaohs?" written by David Wilkes

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