You’ve probably noticed there’s a lot of stuff with mummies for kids. Maybe your kids are really into mummies, too. But why do children love mummies so much? Is this as common a phenomenon as we think? With their macabre stares, their hollow eyes, their…rags—mummies aren’t necessarily the most child-friendly subject.

Becky and Diana, the strange and unusual co-hosts of the Homespun Haints podcast, have always been into mummies. In fact they might be into mummies, still. And they’re not even kids any more!

Becky as a mummy; mummies for kids
Becky at Diana’s party. Not too long ago…

It’s oddly something they’ve never bonded over, but little Becky and little Diana both had dreams of becoming Egyptologists someday. The hot, hot archaeology internship in Illinois that we talked about in Episode 60, The 1000 Year Old Ghost, dashed Becky’s dreams. Diana’s were dashed at a much younger age.

It was 1989, and the Ramses the Great exhibit was in Dallas. Her family (including only Diana, 2 parents, and Heather, an old china doll reminiscent of Laura Ingalls but void of expression) drove 6 hours south and, at the age of 6, Diana saw her first real, live mummy. Well, not exactly live. Mummies are, by definition, deceased.

…Aren’t they?

Becky still has her prized silver mummy pendant charm from her childhood

When mummies get scary

A few years later, 9 year old Diana was reading a horror book about a posessed mummy, when she realized it was an hour past when her parents said they’d be home. She rose from the bed, and pulled back the curtains to look down the driveway. Then, it was an hour and 1 minute. Then, an hour and 2 minutes. You know how time moves when you’re under 10 years old.

Trying not to freak out, Diana went into the hallway, to a piece of furniture coincidentally right in front of the secret passageway to her basement She picked up a souvenir from that mummy exhibit: a pedestrian piece of chocolate sealed in a golden sarcophagus that nobody would ever eat; that only years later would be disposed of, wormy and moulding, unlike the desiccated cadaver it so chocolately represented. And her mind started to implode.

She recalled looking at the real mummy. And she recalled how it had looked back at her; sunken impressions in wrappings for eyes, asking her why on earth she’d want to see a dead body. 6 year-old Diana had clutched Heather to her more tightly, wondering the same thing. There were areas of the mummy when the wrapping was peeling back. What those gaps revealed didn’t look anything like human skin at all.

That mummies for kids coloring book wasn’t enough

In the gift shop of that exhibit, she’d bought a coloring book featuring Ramses in all his hieroglyphic glory. At the beginning of the long drive home, she was terribly disappointed to find that the book only portrayed his living visage, with nary a mummy to behold. Only the sarcophagus. Why? Why was this person she only understood as a lifeless mummy suddenly cavorting around like a living person, picking lotuses and petting cats? Did mummyhood really garner immortality?

Despite the confusion, everything about the exhibit piqued 6 year old Diana’s interest. By the age of 9, Egyptologist was one of her top 3 career considerations for when she grew up. (For anyone wondering, number 2 on the list was hairstylist, and number one was nun…not because she was religious, just so she could commiserate in song form over how DO you solve a problem like Maria?)

Back to the possessed mummy…

Which is why it was so embarrassing that now, with her parents 90 minutes late and the sun starting to set, she was starting to wonder if the mummy got her parents, like what happened to the kids in her book. She knew it wasn’t probable, but what else could keep them so long?

It’s about this time we should remind y’all, she knew at this point that there was a…presence in her basement. It wasn’t until later that she’d come to define it as a ghost. From where she sat on the bed, she could see the closed basement door. And she could swear she heard feet shuffling up the stairs from below.

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t a mummy

Or so she thinks. But, there is…something…in Diana’s basement. For over two decades Diana has had to come to terms with knowing that her childhood home is most decidedly haunted. Even if it’s not by a mummy.

And the question remains unanswered to this day: how DO you solve a problem like Diana’s basement “presence”? We’re going to get to the bottom of this soon. Don’t miss episode 70!

The infamous basement. Can you spot the secret passage?