As testimony to an enduring but rather extreme fascination with Egyptology, the mummy worshippers – many wearing robes and head-dresses – STROLL into the display room containing Tem Hor’s bandaged body and involve themselves in “unusual practices”.
Exhibitions officer Roger Gale said: “They were quite a problem before we introduced the security cameras but now they appear to have come back.
“They occasionally come to the museum on weekends and just seem to want to be in the presence of Tem Hor.
“They tend to bow low in front of the mummy case and mumble what appear to be prayers or incantations.
“The problem is they can appear quite menacing because they tend to wear strange clothes, behave rather oddly and want to stay for a long time. The display room containing Tem Hor is not big and they put other people off.
“We usually manage to get them to leave and it’s something we are keeping an eye on.”
I do love the way they’ve chosen to capitalise the most innocuous word in the story – STROLL – as though it might be quite normal behaviour as long as they strode, sprinted or walked purposefully into the room. Strolling or ambling into the presence of ancient Egyptian artefacts, though, is clearly evidence of the decline of moral fibre in the 21st century.
The best part of the story comes at the end, though:
a woman chanted before a display case of dusty Egyptian death masks, explaining: “They’re possessed by trapped ancient spirits. I must release them.”
The female visitor ignored requests to be quiet and it was only when staff at the Egypt Centre explained these particular artefacts were the modern creations of local schoolchildren taking part in a competition that she made her excuses and left.
There’s an entire series of the League of Gentlemen in that story – a bedragged Gatiss prostrate before the artefacts, Shearsmith the bemused museum director pestered by random acts of Egyptology while Pemberton teaches a class of creepily well-behaved Welsh children how to create Egyptian tomb goods, oblivious to the way their eyes glow as they work…