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Ancient Egyptian Statue Mysteriously Starts Turning in British Museum: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 4.12.18 PM

So, this is wild: a nearly 4000-year-old Egyptian statue in the collection of England's Manchester Museum has recently started to spin slowly in its display without any help from the outside world.  Gawker has the details

time-lapse video released by the museum shows the 4000-year-old relic of Neb-Senu slowly turning around inside its case without any apparent assistance from the outside world.

Found in a mummy's tomb some 80 years ago, the statue has been kept encased at the museum ever since.

Its current caretaker, Campbell Price, was the first one to notice the strange phenomenon, and says he first realized something was off when he found the statue askew, reset it, and then found it askew again the following day.

According to The Telegraph, British particle physicist Brian Cox--known for his frequent appearances on the BBC--thinks the statue's movement is being caused by differential friction.  Price isn't buying that theory, The Telegraph reports:

[Price] went on the cast doubt on Prof Cox's explanation: “Brian thinks it’s differential friction, 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?”

Price's explanation?  "In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit," he told the paper. "Maybe that is what is causing the movement."

Check out a time-lapse video of the spinning statue, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I bet there's a compressor or something nearby causing vibrations that harmonize with the shelf. Slightly off-balanced objects will wobble and 'walk' themselves around in circles like that.

    Posted by: jexer | Jun 24, 2013 9:49:16 PM

  2. Since it only moves during the day, when people are walking around, it's obviously unbalanced at its base and the vibrations cause it to shift.

    Posted by: joe | Jun 24, 2013 9:56:04 PM

  3. it seems to ONLY move during daylight hours when someone was there to actually move it bit by bit

    Posted by: MarkBoston | Jun 24, 2013 9:56:17 PM

  4. No matter the scientific reasoning we might find for this, reading this post scared me. All my childhood memories on mummies came rushing back. I so don't want to watch the video.

    Also, the pessimist in me thinks this is a trick done by the museum people to peak interest, get funding, and maybe a new season of The Real Desperate Mummies of Manchester.

    Posted by: Maguitac | Jun 24, 2013 9:56:57 PM

  5. Well, sadly, the most most exciting answer is not always the right one, as seen here. No, I take that back. I'm sure it's a mummy spirit.

    Posted by: Trey | Jun 24, 2013 10:01:11 PM

  6. They should tie it up with a rope and put a camera there to record how it frees itself.

    Posted by: simon | Jun 24, 2013 10:07:39 PM

  7. Wonderful, a scientist (Price)that discounts another scientist (Cox)theory, for mythology & hocus pocus. Does he also believe that the world is only 5,000 years old and humans lived with dinosaurs? Why is this man in charge of an antiquities museum?

    Posted by: Critifur | Jun 24, 2013 10:10:37 PM

  8. Differential friction can be the cause of so many things.

    Posted by: Dana | Jun 24, 2013 10:33:15 PM

  9. "The world is only 5,000 years old and people lived with dinosaurs"? Gee, that's news, I need to tell people about it.

    The statue is looking around for a way out.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 24, 2013 10:34:27 PM

  10. I suspect some mechanical system is setting up resonant vibration during the daylight hours. Jexter is probably right. Wonder why it's always rotating counterclockwise tho. Might be caused some subtle pattern in the base.

    Posted by: BZ | Jun 24, 2013 11:13:51 PM

  11. Subtle variations in temperature and humidity may create a vapor junction effect at the interface of materials, especially porous and non-porous material interfaces. That would, in effect, float the object allowing very subtle vibrations or just the object's natural center of gravity to allow it to slowly spin. They should lift the object and see if there is dampness beneath it. One of the case seals may have failed after all these years.

    Posted by: nick | Jun 24, 2013 11:17:26 PM

  12. An experiment: Find a small pane of glass, set up so it is only slightly off level horizontally, like a table top. It should have no more than one centimeter of drop per foot length. Place a wet coffee cup on the glass so that it is sitting in a ring of water, all the way around the base of the cup. There will be air trapped between the cup and class as nearly all cups are slightly concave on the bottom. Adding more weight to the cup should cause it to more firmly stay in position on the glass to to increased friction. But, when you fill the cup with near boiling hot water, the glass will stay a few seconds and then begin to slide and possibly even rotate. This is because the air trapped between the cup and table and contained by the water-ring gasket expands and lifts the cup slightly providing a nearly frictionless interface.

    Posted by: nick | Jun 24, 2013 11:38:21 PM

  13. Walk like an Egyptian.

    Posted by: deedrdo | Jun 24, 2013 11:40:56 PM

  14. This is just a ruse to get people interested in the museum.

    Posted by: paul | Jun 24, 2013 11:53:14 PM

  15. What's the floor made of? As people walk on it, a section or piece of the flooring might be doing something to a lef or pedestal of the display table.

    Posted by: Rexford | Jun 25, 2013 12:16:22 AM

  16. I knew there was a towleroad geek closet waiting to erupt. Honestly, isn't this more interesting than the twink du jour?

    Posted by: melvin | Jun 25, 2013 12:39:16 AM

  17. I love reading stuff like this, it's so lame when people boring people try to play scientist and figure this stuff out lol

    Posted by: JMC | Jun 25, 2013 12:49:18 AM

  18. It only moves during the day when people are walking around, and it turns to a certain point and sticks. I agree, off balance.

    Posted by: John Conolley | Jun 25, 2013 1:14:44 AM

  19. lol @ melvin .... the piece in question reorients daily towards the nearby statue of an egyptian youth -- so it's hunk du aeternum

    Posted by: unokhan | Jun 25, 2013 1:38:40 AM

  20. I know that thing can spin in the air

    Posted by: Tony C | Jun 25, 2013 1:45:15 AM

  21. Or one of the security guards knows how long the period is between image captures on the cam and is having some fun :)

    Posted by: Annie | Jun 25, 2013 2:04:41 AM

  22. The Egyptian exhibit is in the basement. I was there last month while visiting London. Perhaps it is low frequency vibrations from the hall above which carries the majority of foot traffic into the museum (which is free to visit BTW and I highly recommend seeing all the exhibits. Also see the Natural History Museum which is stunning. It is across the street from the V&A Museum).

    Posted by: Daniel | Jun 25, 2013 2:14:25 AM

  23. He asked, "Do you have any Egyptian in you? Would you like some more...???"
    Ha, Ha, I kill me...

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Jun 25, 2013 2:15:29 AM

  24. It wants to go home........just like the Parthenon Marbles !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jun 25, 2013 2:27:50 AM

  25. There ya go! Now we just need to get wikileaks interested in the Elgin marbles and we're off to the races.

    Posted by: melvin | Jun 25, 2013 2:57:20 AM

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