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2015, October 16: Fingerprints of the Dead?

On October 16, 2015, the Torquay Museum in Devon, England, was hosting a special late "Night at the Museum" event; paying customers were there to hear adventure stories told by members of a group called the 'Real Investigators of the Paranormal' and to contact spirits... a previous such event in May of the same year had elicited a ghostly photo, so hopes were likely high. According to Carl Smith, an employee of the museum, there had been "quite a lot of activity" and that a few contacts with the dead were made, but the most notable event of the night was simply a hand print.

Mummy display case in the Torquay Museum
Mummy display case in the Torquay Museum [Larger version here.]

        The print, consisting mostly of two visible fingers and a thumb, appeared on the inside of a display case housing the 3,000-year-old mummy of a young boy and a separate mummified hand (shown above). The case had not been opened for seven years; and when it was opened last it took seven men to do so... so it would not be something that could be done sneakily while people were in the museum. Smith stated that the prints had not been in the case previous to the start of the event.

A Case of Cases & Spectacular Speculation

        As the news was picked up by a host of Britain's more questionable news services the matter of where the prints were actually seen quickly became confused, with some reporting them inside the glass of the display and others reporting them within the sarcophagus case holding the mummy. In the first news release to the Torquay's own news service, the Herald Express, Carl Smith was quoted as saying: "During the night on the inside of the case we saw what we believe were handprints on the inside. It was a pretty clear two fingers and a thumb. The case had not been opened for seven years and last time it was opened took seven men to open it. It was impossible for it to be opened by someone else." In context then, Smith is using the word 'case' to refer to the overall display, not the sarcophagus... so the prints were likely inside the glass of the case. Of course, it would help if a picture had been made available, wouldn't it?

        The next thing to note is that a number of the same questionable online 'news' services were quick to claim the fingerprints found in the mummy display were created by a 'ghost' that had been reportedly photographed in the museum at a previous night event in May. Realistically, of course, there is no evidence that the figure photographed in May is related to the current incident... but the 'ghost' was obviously mentioned to boost views, as the 'news' sites involved dubbed the spirit "Britain's sexiest ghost," and were quick to point out the picture of the 'ghost' vaguely implied it had boobs [just grow up, people]. Anyway, for more on the May 2015 ghost photo from the museum, follow the See Also link below. Oh, and isn't it interesting that paranormal incidents have only been reported from the museum specifically on nights they are doing a paranormal overnight event?

        There are many remaining questions, but only one that I can think of that needs to be pursued: are the prints still in the case, or did they vanish? Since no one presents a photo, and no one has reported a continuing presence, it's a matter of curiosity. In digging, I found a webpage that detailed a visit to the museum in November 2015, so around a month after the fingerprints were reported (at the devon2mother website, Link Here). The author of the article included two pictures of the mummy display itself, and no mention of the fingerprints. In the pictures there are no obvious fingerprints, but these would likely be too small in the pictures to see anyway; what's more interesting is the implication that the museum doesn't appear to be making a fuss or show of the fingerprints if they are still there, as the author of the rather extensive article never mentions them.

        So I dug up Carl Smith's address at the Torquay Museum, and sent an email to ask for more details on the fingerprints: if they are still there, when in the evening were they noticed, if they were photographed, and how many people witnessed them. That was sent February 9, 2016... and if I get a response, I'll update this article. [...and as of March 6, 2017, still no response.]