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Mystery of the Spinning Statue Turns Manchester Museum Into a Hardy Boys Story

What could be causing a statue to spin in a U.K. museum, apparently untouched by passersby?

In what looks like a job for the crew of the Mystery Machine, an ancient Egyptian statue in the collection of the Manchester Museum seems to have taken on a life of its own, rotating 180 degrees in its closed glass case, apparently untouched by any outside force. A time lapse video of the statue moving — seemingly of its own accord — has gone viral, causing some to go full O’Reilly and claim that supernatural forces are behind the motion. Others, including noted physicist Brian Cox, remain convinced that the statue’s spin can be explained without resorting to sentences containing the phrase “mummy’s ghost.” For our part, we want someone to find Old Man Withers, stat.

The statue is a ten-inch high offering to the ancient Egyptian god of death, Osiris, and is inscribed with a prayer on its back, which after three days of slow, steady turning in its display case, faces museum patrons.

Two things first off — the above video is rather weird, and I’m not a scientist, so I don’t have a particularly good idea what might be causing this weird motion. What I will say is I’m a firm believer in Occam’s Razor, and there are simpler answers for the phenomena than us seeing The Return of the Curse of The Creature’s Ghost here. For example, why does the statue seemingly only turn in daylight, while there’s significant foot traffic passing it by, settling into one position as night falls and the museum closes its doors? Are we supposed to believe that a mummy’s ghost, of all things, is scared of the dark? Or could it be that foot traffic has some connection to the statue’s movement?

According to Campbell Price, physicist Brian Cox has visited the museum to offer his opinion. Price told the Daily Mail:

‘Brian thinks it’s “differential friction” where two surfaces, the 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.

Now granted, that’s an incomplete answer so far, and why it would start right now still has yet to be explained. But at it’s most incomplete, it’s still a way better explanation for the movement than “Ghost Magic.” Frankly, if your explanation for anything includes the word “ghost” or “magic,” I’m prepared to say you need to go back to the drawing board and approach the problem again.

(via Daily Mail, image via Machester Museum)

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