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Egyptian mystery sarcophagus opened, revealing grim secrets

The massive granite sarcophagus failed to unleash an ancient curse.

The Ministry of Antiquities first unveiled the discovery of the black granite sarcophagus on July 1.
Ministry of Antiquities

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities announced the discovery of a very unusual sarcophagus earlier in July, sparking waves of fascination and overblown warnings about ancient curses. 

The ministry refused to bow to superstition and opened the granite coffin on Thursday, revealing its contents of bones and sewage.

The coffin, made from black granite, measures 8.7 feet (2.65 meters) in length and dates to the Ptolemaic period. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the sarcophagus is "considered to be the largest to be discovered in Alexandria."

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities shared this image of the skeletons and sewage found inside the sarcophagus.

Ministry of Antiquities

Some tabloid outlets and internet users breathlessly warned about the dangers of a possible curse should the coffin be opened. 

"A sarcophagus with this kind of weight and a lid that heavy is made for one reason! To keep whatever spirit in there from ever getting out. Leave the dead!" wrote one Facebook user on the Ministry page.

It turns out the coffin was hiding three skeletons and an abundance of red liquid sewage that had leaked in through a crack. 

One of the dead appears to have suffered a blow to the skull. The ministry says the remains likely belonged to military officers or soldiers, and not royalty as some had speculated.

Egypt Today provided live updates on the opening of the 2,000-year-old coffin. The news outlet reports the male skeletons will be studied to determine their ages and face shapes. The 30-ton sarcophagus will be lifted out and transferred to a military museum.

"The sarcophagus has been opened," Waziri said, "but we have not been hit by a curse."