Scarab donated to the Surnateum by Professor Harmakhis in April 1980
Origin: Egypt, 26th dynasty and dried scarab
Experiment attempted by Dr Faustus Lennigan of the Museum's Irish
dating from the 26th dynasty and a symbol of immortality copied from a
document predating that time.
Lecture by Dr Faustus Lennigan:
"Death is a threshold that no man has managed to cross
in the reverse direction, but not for want of trying. Even back in
the pharaohs and high priests had themselves embalmed in the hope of
one day being brought back to life. In our era, cryogenics is a modern
reflection of the very same themes and hopes."
I was well aware that the man speaking these words, Dr Faustus Lennigan,
a forensic scientist associated with the Department of Witchcraft
and Invocations, was interested in all Egyptian, Sumerian and
Babylonian ancestral traditions, and that he knew what he was talking
about. However, some of his theories were visibly upsetting to the
tight-knit world of
archaeologists and investigators to whom he was giving his lecture.
"I have discovered - in a document older than the Egyptian Book
of the Dead - a formula which, when re-transcribed into hieroglyphics,
allows life to return to a dead body, even after a very long time.
This formula was meant to bring a mummified scarab back to life, the
scarab being the sacred sun animal in ancient Egypt.
"The problem is that if life were to return to this scarab, it
would only remain alive for a fraction of a second, and then the scarab -
which is so thoroughly dried out - would return to its former state.
As such, it would be impossible for us to tell whether or not the
incantation had worked."
"Be aware, however, that the scarab is a symbol of the sun. since it pushes
before it a small
ball of earth and dung representing the sun.
Therefore, if it were to come back to life for a fraction of a
second, it would move forward perhaps one or two millimetres before
returning to the eternal shades."
"So, if we were to place in front of the scarab an object on
the verge of disequilibrium, then if and when it came back to
life it would move that object, if only for a fraction of a second."
Faustus placed the scarab on a box and balanced a small piece of
wood in front of it.
Two candles were lit around it. Faustus then started murmuring a
strange litany which included the Hebrew word emeth as well as
the names of Anubis
It seemed to me that the scarab was slowly starting to move, but
perhaps it was just an illusion caused by the candle flames...
Suddenly, the piece of wood fell over with sharp snap. The silence
that followed lasted a good three minutes.