Tapping into the subconscious power of superstition
London, 2017: Bompas & Parr and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology explored this history of cursed objects within the museum's enchanting halls and cabinets of curiosity.
Tapping into the subconscious and our increasing cultural obsession with superstition, visitors were exposed to an assortment of cursed objects and curses stories, before being physically cursed themselves in a new installation.
The museum, located within University College London, is a wonderous wunderkammer embracing the scientific method of research, conservation and anthropology, and the thrilling otherworldly tales of its preserved artefacts. It provides the perfect dimly lit setting to heighten the senses and enhance the hair-raising superstition of curses over visits of around 30 minutes. From the disturbance of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, credited to triggering a string of deaths spanning 17 years, to curses inscribed in lead tablets calling upon the gods for retribution to everyday misfortunes, visitors will be confronted by curses that will enchant, disgust, inform and spook.
Equipped with a headset and a map, visitors were encouraged to explore the more than 80,000 artefacts of the Petrie Museum as they were guided towards specific cursed objects, stories and the mysteries hidden amongst them. Punctuated by the voices of Professor Roger Luckhurst, author of “The Mummy’s Curse: The True Story of a Dark Fantasy,” psychologists, and seasoned enchantress Carrie Kirkpatrick, curses was explored through anecdotal horror stories and as timeless myths perpetuated through the superstitions of popular culture.