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The Creepiest Myths And Legends From Ancient Egypt

Updated January 27, 2021 8.3k votes 1.4k voters 50.6k views14 items

List RulesVote up the myths that creep you out more than a mysteriously opened sarcophagus.

Ancient Egyptians loved to create dark myths about their gods. From the god of mummification who demanded organ trophies to the cat goddess whose temple Egyptians piled with thousands of mummified cats, there is no shortage of creepy stories about ancient Egyptian gods.

Not one but multiple gods ate hearts, and one goddess got drunk after imbibing buckets of what she thought was blood. One theory claims the lion-headed goddess, Sekhmet, was the world's first vampire. And though a hippo may have doomed Tutankhamun, the Egyptians worshipped a hippo goddess of pregnant women. Even Egypt's non-bloody myths are still deeply disturbing - wait until you hear about where ancient Egyptians thought perfume originated.

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  • Isis Had Intimate Relations With Her Late Brother
    Photo: Giovanni Battista Belzoni/Charles Joseph Hullmandel / New York Public Library / Public Domain
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    Isis Had Intimate Relations With Her Late Brother

    Osiris and Isis were brother and sister, but also husband and wife. They ruled Egypt together until their brother Set slew Osiris and took his place. Isis refused to believe her husband was gone, searching all of Egypt for his body. After finding Osiris, Isis resurrected him so they could be intimate and conceive a child.

    Set ruined this plan by ripping Osiris into 42 pieces and spreading the fragments across Egypt. In despair, Isis traveled with her sister Nephthys to reconstruct Osiris. They only managed to find 41 pieces, as a fish had eaten Osiris's member.

    Never one to give up, Isis created a new organ for her reconstructed husband and revived him for long enough to get her pregnant. Osiris then went to rule the underworld, and their son Horus became Egypt's new ruler.

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  • Khonsu, The Egyptian God Of The Moon, Ate Hearts
    Photo: British Museum / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
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    Khonsu, The Egyptian God Of The Moon, Ate Hearts

    Like the Nile, which gave Egypt life but could also flood and destroy crops, Egyptians often saw their gods as both helpful and dangerous. Khonsu, the god of the moon, was known as the god of healing, but he also had a reputation for eating human hearts.

    According to the "Cannibal Hymn" text, Khonsu even ate other gods. Another text called him "Khonsu who lives on hearts."

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    Anubis, The God Of Mummification, Wanted A Piece Of Everyone He Helped

    Anubis, the Egyptian god of mummification, oversaw the embalming process and helped Egyptian souls find the Hall of Truth in the afterlife. The jackal-headed Anubis played a starring role in the first mummification, when Isis had Osiris - who was both her husband and brother - embalmed.

    But Anubis liked to collect trophies from the people he embalmed. When Set slayed Osiris, he offered the god's organs to Anubis as a present. For centuries, Egyptians offered pieces of lifeless bodies to Anubis - which may explain why he has a jackal's head.

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  • Egyptians Worshipped Bastet With Mummified Cats
    Photo: Rama/Anonymous / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 FR
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    Egyptians Worshipped Bastet With Mummified Cats

    The goddess associated with cats, Bastet, had a dark side. She was known as the "lady of dread" and the "lady of slaughter" - Bastet lived up to both names. For instance, she cut off Apophis's head by hiding a knife in her paw.

    Over time, ancient Egyptians began to associate Bastet with domesticity and the home, earning her more positive connotations. They worshipped Bastet by bringing mummified cats to her temple. In the 1880s, archaeologists excavated her temple and uncovered more than 300,000 mummified cats.

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