Home trumpet King Tutankhamun’s Trumpets: Unraveling the Myth Behind World War II’s Alleged Curse

King Tutankhamun’s Trumpets: Unraveling the Myth Behind World War II’s Alleged Curse

by Madonna

The tale of King Tutankhamun’s cursed trumpets has echoed through the ages, captivating imaginations with a hint of mystique. Unearthed from the depths of the young pharaoh’s tomb, these ancient instruments took center stage once more in 1939, as their eerie sounds reportedly played a role in triggering the cataclysmic events of World War II.

Discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, the trumpets were hailed as the world’s oldest operational instruments. Crafted with intricate detail, one trumpet boasted a bronze composition, while its counterpart shimmered in silver. Both instruments, approximately 58 cm (22.83 inches) in length and 4 cm (1.57 inches) wide, featured wooden cores adorned with carved figures of the gods Ra-Horakhty, Ptah, and Amun.

The BBC broadcasted a pre-recorded performance of the trumpets’ haunting sounds on April 16, 1939, reaching an audience of 15 million listeners worldwide. The chilling notes, played by James Tappern, a member of Prince Albert’s own 11th Royal Hussars regiment, allegedly foreshadowed the outbreak of World War II just four and a half months later on September 1, 1939.

The notion of a curse tied to these ancient artifacts gained momentum as stories circulated about the instruments’ uncanny ability to incite war. Rex Keating, a prominent radio personality at the time, faced an ominous power outage in Cairo just minutes before going on air to present the trumpets’ recording. Undeterred, Keating forged ahead, and the ensuing three-minute performance emitted terrifying sounds, further fueling the mystique surrounding the alleged curse.

Historical records indicate that Tutankhamun likely used these trumpets for military communication with his armies. The instruments, initially seen as a conduit to the afterlife, carried a shadow of mysticism. It was believed that the curse lifted following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. Nevertheless, the legend persisted, fueled by the mysterious deaths of several members of Howard Carter’s team over the years.

Carter himself vehemently rejected the notion of a curse, but the narrative revived after his death in 1939, just a month before the BBC broadcast. The echoes of the mummy’s curse endure, reminding us of a time when the haunting sounds of ancient trumpets briefly captured the world’s attention and, according to some, altered the course of history.

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