- A viral TikTok from a true-crime comedy podcast account resurfaced a mummy hoax.
- In the early 2000s, a mummy involved in an international dispute was found to be a fake.
- Further examination linked the mummy’s remains to an unsolved murder case.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In October 2000, Pakistani authorities learned that a Karachi resident was selling a mummy on the black market for $11 million, telling police that he had obtained it from a Iranian man, Atlas Obscura reported. Selling the mummy violated Pakistan’s Antiquity Act, according to Archaeology Magazine, and police brought the mummy to the National Museum in Karachi. Soon, several countries disputed the piece’s rightful owner.
But what seemed like a promising discovery of a mummy that may have been a “Persian Princess,” as it came to be known, turned out to be a forgery. And then it led to Pakistani authorities to open a murder investigation, Atlas Obscura reported.
Now, a viral TikTok has resurfaced the bizarre mummy hoax scandal.
The TikTok from Mystery Team Inc. (@mysteryteaminc), a true-crime comedy podcast hosted by Maggie Stabile and Kayla Van de Bunt, dug back into the case in a Sunday video. The TikTok went viral, amassing over 361,000 likes and 1.4 million views in less than a day. Citing the 2014 Atlas Obscura article written by Dolly Stolze, the TikTok said that the hoax may have been linked to a 1996 murder.
@mysteryteaminc The Mummy Murder Pt 1 ##unsolved ##truecrime ##mystery ##truecrimecommunity ##truecrimepodcast ##murder ##fyp ##truecrimetiktok ##creepy ##mummy
The mummy featured a mixture of Eyptian and Persian elements, per Archaeology Magazine. It bore a gold plaque with a cuneiform (the written language of ancient Persia) inscription that identified it as a 2,600-year-old Persian princess and the daughter of the king Xerxes, according to one translation identified in Archaeology Magazine.
As discussed in a follow-up TikTok from Mystery Team Inc., the forgery was incredibly skilled. The BBC reported in a 2001 documentary that the fraud was complex enough that it would have required a team skilled in goldsmithing, cabinet making, stone masonry, and the cuneiform text in which the inscription was written.
The mummy’s early 2000s surfacing led to an international dispute, with both Iran and Pakistan laying claim to it, Archaeology Magazine reported. However, following further examination of the inscription – as well as CT scans, chemical testing, and carbon dating, Atlas Obscura reported – the mummy was declared a fake. Further investigation revealed that the mummy’s remains belonged to a woman who had died in 1996 who may have been a murder victim.
The remains belonged to an adult woman whose organs had been removed and replaced in the abdominal cavity with a powdery substance, Atlas Obscura reported. The cause of death, determined by autopsy, was a broken neck as a result of blunt force, leading to Pakistani authorities to open a murder investigation.
@mysteryteaminc The Mummy Murder Pt 2 ##unsolved ##truecrime ##mystery ##truecrimecommunity ##truecrimepodcast ##murder ##fyp ##truecrimetiktok ##creepy ##mummy
Per the BBC documentary, the body would have to have been mummified within 24 hours, meaning that the mummification process would likely have been planned out. Still, it remained unclear whether or not the blunt force injury was deliberate, or if it had been the result of an accident and the victim’s body dug up. Ultimately, the investigation was left as a cold case, per Atlas Obscura, and the woman was never identified. In 2005, the Edhi Foundation announced that it planned to perform last rights and lay the body to rest, the BBC reported.