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The secret of the oldest drawing depicting a gay ghost has been revealed

Added Wed, 01/05/2024
Дата публикации
Thu, 21/10/2021

In the British Museum, an image of a ghost was found on a small clay tablet belonging to the Babylonian culture. As a result, it turned out to be the oldest drawing depicting a ghost — the age is approximately 3,500 years.

The ghost is depicted as a bearded man, and the image is dim and appears only if you look at it in good light from a certain angle. The man in the drawing walks with his arms outstretched, his wrists are tied with a rope, by which the woman leads him into the afterlife to eternal bliss.

As scientists found out, the tablet was intended for exorcists of that time, who got rid of unwanted ghosts who returned to the world of the living. In addition to the drawing on its reverse side, there is a cuneiform text describing the ritual that the ghost should safely send to the world of the dead. In this case, it was about a ghost who needed a companion. The tablet was discovered in the British Museum, where it was in storage for a long time and remained unnoticed, despite the fact that it is an interesting object of antiquity, allowing you to better familiarize yourself with the culture of Egypt and the way of life of ancient people.

The drawing has not been given much attention before because, as I said above, the ghost on it appears only if you look at it from above and at a certain angle of illumination. Therefore, since its acquisition in the XIX century, the tablet has never been put on display in the museum. The world authority in the field of cuneiform, the curator of the Middle East department of the British Museum, Irving Finkel, studying the tablet, realized that it contained a hidden drawing that had not been noticed before.

"The area where the drawings are located looks as if there is nothing on it. But when you look at the sign under the lamp, these figures jump at you through time in the most amazing way. This is an object of the Guinness Book of Records, as it is the oldest drawing of a ghost," says Irving Finkel (an expert on ancient cuneiform).

Although half of the tablet is missing and it is small in size, there is text on the back with detailed instructions on how to deal with the ghost. In addition, there is a small description of the behavior of the ghost — "he grabs a person and chases him, and does not let go."

The ritual involves making two figurines — a female and a male. The text says that both should be dressed in casual clothes and provided with travel accessories. The woman should be wrapped in four red robes, and then in a purple cloth. At the same time, she must be provided with a gold brooch, as well as a bed, a chair, a rug, a comb and a flask. Then you need to follow some more rules. According to the scientist, the tablet belonged to the exorcist's magical library or belonged to the temple.

The drawing itself depicts an obviously male ghost, and he is unhappy. The final analysis of the text showed that the ghost needed a lover. The situation itself, as the museum employee says, is quite comical.

People believed that it was possible to get rid of a ghost by giving him a bed partner. “Oh my God, Uncle Henry is back. Had Uncle Henry lost three wives?”Everyone knew that the way to get rid of an old gay man was to marry him off. Just imagine how the ghost loitered around the house and got on everyone's nerves,” says Finkel ironically.

By the way, there are quite scientific explanations for ghosts and all kinds of demons, and very interesting ones at that.

Irving Finkel hopes to showcase the Babylonian tablet at the museum. As he replies, such an artifact brings us closer to our ancestors. According to him, all the fears, weaknesses and peculiarities that people have now were present 3,500 years ago. And that makes studying ancient culture even more exciting. A detailed description of the clay tablet and the results of its research is contained in Finkel's forthcoming book "The First Ghosts: the Oldest of the Heritage", which will be published on November 11 by Hodder Publishing house & Stoughton.

The scientist himself says that he has never seen ghosts, even in the dark vaults of the British Museum, which, in his words, is "riddled with ghosts." But, as Finkel says, in the royal library, several people saw how the head and shoulders move at a certain height, below the height of a person. Skeptics, of course, refuted this possibility. But, as it turned out, the floor in the library used to be lower than it is now, so there is still a reason to think.

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