As the statue turns…

Confirmation of why a statue in a UK museum mysteriously rotated.

Neb-Senu, ‘Possessed’ Rotating Egyptian Statue, Mystery Solved.

Eerie footage had experts in a spin, but now the mystery surrounding a “possessed” ancient statue has been solved following a scientific investigation.

Vibration expert Steve Gosling undertook a 24-hour test by placing a specialist three-axis sensor under the wall-mounted cabinet containing the relic, to record any vibrations present.

The experiment was filmed for ITV’s show Mystery Map. This conclusion – vibrations interacting with an uneven base – was what was theorized when it was first discovered that the statue moved. This article notes that an Egyptology curator attributed the mysterious movement to “a force beyond the physical” and a student ascribed the motion to magic. None of those supernatural causes was ever taken seriously.

Here is the original coverage of this story from earlier this year.
The mystery of the Manchester museum moving mummy statuette (UPDATE: Solved!?).

moving statue

  5 comments for “As the statue turns…

  1. November 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    I wrote up my analysis of this for Discovery News a while ago, and I will modestly note that my explanation was correct in nearly every detail:

    But even more interesting are the reactions to this solution. Some people said that the correct solution could not be right, for a variety of physical reasons (several based their assumption on a typo in one of the stories that suggested that the statue spun in a matter of hours, not days).

    Other common reactions were “So what? It was obvious…” Years ago Joe Nickell wisely noted that most solutions are obvious once they are known. In retrospect, after the truths have been separated from the myths and the sometimes hard work of investigation and research has been done, it’s easy to say, “Well, I knew that…” or “Anyone could have figured it out.” The analogy I use is that many investigations are like art; it’s not that someone else could not have done a painting (such as a Pollock or a Manet), it’s that no one else DID… The value is in doing it, in engaging in the investigation and doing the research.

  2. bdash
    November 20, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    I work in a recording studio. The console has a row “toggle” switches with screw on knobs that will come loose and unscrew upwards because of the vibrations from the speakers. If you didn’t know any better, you might think a ghost was involved.

  3. Blargh
    November 20, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Years ago Joe Nickell wisely noted that most solutions are obvious once they are known.

    I’d say that observation is a fair bit older than that. 🙂

  4. Frederick
    November 21, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    When i saw that video the first time, I was thinking ‘vibration’. you can see that it move when people are around it. like when you have a unstable object on a table and you tap on the table with you fist, the object will move. Funny it had taken a whole scientific Explanation and experiment. But when even the guy in charge of the expo believing in crappy magic, i understand why. But people always want it to be ‘mystical’. I never understand why real physic answer does not fascinate people! For me that is what i found fascinating.
    @bdash Not surprising vibration is a B****. When i play my Drum a lot of things move around in the room! I remember this guy telling me about the rear bumper of his old car got unscrewed ( overtime) because of his powerful sub woofer in his trunk! that’s a funny one

  5. November 22, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Indeed! I didn’t mean to suggest that Joe was the very first to express that original thought.

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