First ever image of a 3,500-year-old ghost discovered in British museum

Maria Tsikhotska

First ever image of a 3,500-year-old ghost discovered in British museum

The world's first ever ghost image was discovered on an ancient clay plaque in the British Museum's Ancient Near Eastern department. The work dates back about 3.5 thousand years and, according to museum curator Irving Finkel, is part of a manual on exorcism, a method of expelling unwanted spirits.

The Guardian writes about it

Until now, the board, acquired by the museum in the XIX century, has not even been exhibited. It depicts a ghost with outstretched arms following a woman, his wrists tied with a rope she holds. The accompanying text describes in detail a ritual aimed at a happy passage to the underworld.

Curator Finkel calls this artifact "an absolutely stunning piece of antiquity" that has long gone unnoticed. He believes that the ghost on the plaque is an unhappy man, and his tall, thin image could have gotten on the nerves of the house's inhabitants. Finkel also revealed that a proper inspection revealed a missing element of the drawing - the ghost only becomes visible in specific lighting and angle.

Read also: In Japan, archaeologists found more than 100 thousand coins that are 2000 years old (photo)

As a specialist in cuneiform, a writing system in the Ancient East, Finkel discovered that the board had previously been misinterpreted. The ghost comes to life only in the right light and angle. The ritual of exorcism is described in detail: create figures of a man and a woman, decorate them, stand facing the sun in the morning, light a juniper, unite the figures and say the name of the sun god, Shamash. The instruction ends with the words: "Do not look back!"

As a reminder, the tomb of the warrior-trader Mixtec was unearthed in Mexico.

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